The Eastern Michigan men’s basketball team stifled the Western Michigan Broncos and performed offensively to win 73-62 Tuesday night in Ypsilanti.
Four Eagles scored in the double digits including guard Willie Mangum, who was the top scorer with 16 points.
The game started off slow as the Eagles and Broncos traded baskets early in the game. Western Michigan took a 6-4 lead and stole the ball on the fast break, but a rundown block on Tucker Haymond by Tim Bond would keep the WMU lead at two.
““I thought tonight we got off to a slow start, couldn’t score early," EMU coach Rob Murphy said. “We were kind of lethargic on both ends of the floor.”
However, the Eagles committed eight turnovers early to allow WMU to take a 13-8 lead. The Eagles would then get some quick steals and a block by Brandon Nazione to cut the lead to two once again.
The game progressed slowly; with both teams trading baskets before EMU would take a 31-28 lead. The Eagles kept this lead going into the half. The Eagles committed ten turnovers in the first half.
“We went into halftime with a lead, and again we came out lethargic, and Western went on an 11-5 run to start the half," Murphy said.
After the slow first half by the Eagles, Eastern continued to play lethargic basketball, committing two more turnovers allowing Western to take the lead in the opening minutes. The Eagles would pick up the pace and work to tie the game and take a seven point lead with twelve minutes left.
“I just told our guys to dial in and stay confident," Murphy said. “I thought throughout the second half we continued to play defense and we began to score the ball and made some key plays.”
A triple by Raven Lee and some inside work by Thompson helped extend the Eagles lead to thirteen halfway through the second half. The Eagles forced ten turnovers from Western Michigan and capitalized on those turnovers by exploiting weaknesses in Western’s defense, scoring consistently from inside.
The Eagles opened up a double-digit lead with nine minutes left and would maintain that gap for the remainder of the game, cruising to a victory.
“For us, we take one game at a time,” Murphy said. “You always want to build on your success and we’ve played well the last six games. I know we’ve lost two on the road, but even those games we’ve had really positive moments. So we just want to keep building on positive momentum and continue to get better.”