Although the Eastern Michigan Eagles rallied from being down 20 points to tie the game late in the second half, a Raven Lee three-point shot fell short in their final possession as they lost to the Bowling Green State University Falcons 84-79 Saturday night.
Transition defense and poor shooting would cripple the Eagles as they only shot 44 percent (26-59) from the floor and 22.7 percent (5-22) from three.
“We didn’t do a great job executing offensively," EMU coach Rob Murphy said. “Our offense affected our defense.”
In the first half, the Falcons took a quick 10-4 lead, but slowed down as the Eagles made some key blocks. But the Eagles still trailed 12-6 with fourteen minutes left in the half. A series of turnovers had the Eagles trailing 39-24 with four minutes remaining in the half. The Eagles had six unforced turnovers in the first half. The Eagles shot 34.5 percent (10-29) from the floor and 22.2 percent (2-9) from beyond the arc. The Eagles would go into halftime, trailing 44-31. 31 of Bowling Green’s points came from turnovers and fast breaks.
The Eagles would continue their poor transition defense and poor shooting in the second half as Bowling Green would extend the lead to seventeen, four minutes in to the second half. But the Eagles would collect themselves to cut the lead to fourteen with ten minutes left in the game. The Eagles would then shift the momentum as two quick turnovers cut the lead to nine with six minutes left in the game.
Lee would be the top scorer for the Eagles, finishing with 29 points. James Thompson had another double-double with 21 points and 14 rebounds. Ethan Alvano provided a spark off the bench with some key minutes.
“Ethan is not a ‘me’ guy, he’s a ‘we’ guy,” Murphy said about Ethan Alvano. “You never know when your number is gonna get called. He responded and he played some really good defense and good offense.
Lee, who only had seven points in the second half, would go on a scoring streak to tie the ball game with two and a half minutes in the game. Bowling Green made a lay-up to take a two point lead, but Lee would tie the game again at the free throw line.
“He should have been assertive," Murphy said on Raven Lee. “As many points as [Lee] had, he had two or three looks to either tie or take the lead and he didn’t make the key shots.”
During the last possession of the game, EMU had one last timeout. But Murphy elected not to use it and allowed Lee to attempt a three-point shot, which fell short.
“I didn’t want Bowling Green to set their defense," Murphy said. "But anytime you have Ray at the top of the key and their not fouling, you’re not going to get a better look than that. You got to knock that down.”