The Eastern Michigan University men’s basketball team falls to Mid-American Conference rival Kent State University 71-58 in Kent, Ohio on Feb. 16.
After this game, the Eagles now have an 11-13 record, with a 5-7 record in conference play. Eastern and Kent State have split the season series for the first time since the 2015-2016 season.
The game was originally scheduled for 7 p.m. but was pushed back to 7:44 p.m. due to a late finish by the Golden Flashes women’s team playing right before on the same court.
After scoring the first points of the game, the Golden Flashes fell behind 12-5 with 14:06 left in the first half. They took back the lead after a layup by junior Philip Whittington to go up 23-22 with 4:21 left in the first half and would hold onto that lead for the rest of the game. Their largest lead came at 61-44 with 6:07 left in the second half.
The Eagles took a 22-15 lead with 7:30 left in the first half, but after that, it all went down hill. The Golden Flashes closed out the first half on a 15-4 run to take a 30-24 halftime lead. Redshirt freshman Tariq Silver led the Eagles in points in the first half with nine.
It was more of the same in the second half for the Eagles, being stymied by the Kent State defense, scoring only seven points, eight minutes into the second half. The lead never got below 11 points in the final 20 minutes. Normally it is the Eagles’ defense that forces turnovers and turns it into offense, but in this game, it was the exact opposite. EMU turned the ball over 16 times and allowed 22 points off those turnovers.
This game was a complete reversal of the last time these two teams played. That resulted in a 95-61 win for the Eagles and saw five different players score in double-digits for Eastern. This time around, only two EMU players scored in double figures; sophomore Kevin McAdoo with 13 points and Silver with 10.
Redshirt senior Paul Jackson’s streak of scoring 10-plus points in a game ended at 13, after scoring only three points against the Golden Flashes. Despite the large lead for Kent State, their best player, senior Jaylin Walker, missed his first 10 shots. He would finish the night shooting 21 percent from the field. Coming into the game, Walker averaged 22 points per game, and he would finish the night with 15. His teammates, junior Antonio Williams and Whittington picked up the slack and led the way in scoring with a combined 37 points.
Coach Rob Murphy and his team were not made available for comment after the game.
The Eagles come back home for their next game against MAC rival University of Toledo in the Convocation Center on Feb. 19.