Despite 23 points from James Thompson, the Eastern Michigan men’s basketball team fell to Northern Illinois University, 80-63, Saturday night in DeKalb, Ill.
In the loss, Thompson tied a NCAA record with 26 straight field goals made the past couple of games. Thompson fell one field goal short of breaking the record when he missed a jump shot with 12 minutes left in the contest.
Thompson broke the previous record held by former Bowling Green State University forward Torian Oglesby, who had 26 straight field goals throughout seven games. Thompson completed the feat within four games.
In the first half, EMU got off to an early lead thanks to a Jodan Price basket and an and-one by Thompson. The lead changed six times in the first four minutes of the half. Thompson provided a big lift in the first half by scoring eleven points in the first seven minutes of the half. The Eagles took a one point lead with ten minutes to go in the half but slipped as a few turnovers caused the Eagles to lose their lead with nine minutes to go in the half.
The Eagles started the come back as they caused an NIU turnover and took advantage of it. The Eagles faced some turnover trouble as well as NIU extended their lead to eight with four minutes left in the half. EMU finished with eleven turnovers in the first half. The Eagles went into halftime trailing 40-30.
”When we had our chances on offense, we didn’t take advantage of them," EMU coach Rob Murphy said. “We missed some easy shots.”
The Eagles started the second half with a three pointer by Ty Toney to cut the lead to seven. They proceeded to swing the momentum in their favor as they pulled within two with 15 minutes left in the game. NIU extended the lead to four but Thompson got to the line to bring it back to two with thirteen minutes left in the game. The Eagles then tied the game and took the lead due to multiple trips to the free throw line but NIU quickly took back the lead and extended it to six with eight minutes left in the game. The Eagles continued to have more turnovers as NIU extended the lead to nine.
EMU began to fall apart defensively, allowing multiple three pointers by NIU guard Trayvon Baker. Eagle guard Willie Mangum fouled out with three minutes to go in the game as NIU put the game away with an alley-oop to defeat the Eagles 80-63. Thompson lead the Eagles with 23 points and eight rebounds and Raven Lee finished with 13 points.
“They were the better team tonight. I thought we made a run and tied it up at about the eight minute mark," Murphy said. “Then we took some ill-advised shots.”
The Eagles’ next game will be when they host Buffalo at the Convocation Center Tuesday. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.