Coming off a win against Central Michigan University, the Eastern Michigan men's basketball team continued its momentum when they beat the Kent State University Golden Flashes, 75-70, Saturday afternoon in Ypsilanti.
Last time these two teams met, Eastern Michigan was handed a 15 point loss. Today, five Eastern players were in double digit scoring, including freshman center James Thompson, who was the leading scorer for the Eagles. He finished with 20 points and 18 rebounds.
“James Thompson was unbelievable with 20 points and 18 rebounds. [I] can’t say enough about him," EMU coach Rob Murphy said.
The Eagles started slow, trailing 12-6 in the first seven minutes but they would go on a 8-0 run to take the lead 14-12 with ten minutes to go. Four steals and two blocks would help to keep the momentum going for the Eagles as they extended the lead to nine.
Quick transitions caught Kent State off guard as both Ty Toney and James Thompson would get to the line for an and-one. EMU went into halftime leading 31-23.
“Our guys showed a lot of will to win," Murphy said. “For us today, we hung in there, we scored, and we continued to play defense.”
The second half began with a James Thompson alley-oop dunk just as the shot clock expired but it would be called a shot clock violation after the refs reviewed it. Kent State slowly worked to take a 49-48 lead, but the Eagles quickly took the lead back thanks to a Ray Lee shot and a foul. Kent State began to fall apart defensively, committing 10 fouls and goaltending twice. The Eagles maintained their lead throughout the remainder of the game, holding Kent State and taking the victory.
“It was a great win for us and we just need to keep getting better,” Murphy said.
The Eagles’ next contest will be a road game against Ohio University Tuesday February 16.