Going into its eighth season under head coach, Rob Murphy, the Eastern Michigan Men’s Basketball team had high optimism for the 2018-19 season. However, the Eagles finished the season with a 15-17 overall record. The team finished third in the MAC West with a 9-9 conference record.
Eastern Michigan started the season with four seniors Paul Jackson, James Thompson IV, Elijah Minnie and Isaiah Green. Of the four seniors, three of them led the team in scoring. Jackson was the scoring leader, averaging 14.3 points per game. Jackson was followed by Minnie, who averaged 13.3 points per game.
Thompson averaged a double-double throughout the season with 11 points and 10.9 rebounds. Thompson is now the all-time rebounding leader in school history with 1,432 rebounds in his career. Coincidentally, the senior broke the rebounding record that was held for 47 years on Senior Night against Ball State.
Eastern Michigan started the season off strong by winning its first three games at home against Rochester, Drexel and Goshen. The Eagles got their first taste of elite competition against Duke, who was ranked No. 1 in the nation at the time. That was the first blowout the Eagles suffered during the season, losing to Duke by 38 points.
In their last game of 2018, the Eagles were faced against another top-ranked team Kansas, who was ranked at No. 5. Eastern Michigan fell to the Jayhawks on the road by 24 points. Statistically, the Eagles struggled offensively throughout the season.
In the Mid-American Conference, Eastern Michigan found itself in last place in free-throw percentage. The Eagles were also at the bottom of the list in 3-point percentage, tied with Ohio. Eastern Michigan and Akron were tied for last place in total scoring throughout the season.
The Eagles did better on defense, though. They finished second in the MAC in both blocks and steals, following behind Toledo and Central Michigan, respectively. Despite rebounding numbers from players like Thompson and Boubacar Toure, the Eagles finished 10th in rebounding in the conference.
Eastern Michigan also struggled on the road this season, only winning 4 out of 10 games away from the Convocation Center. However, the Eagles managed to hold an 11-7 record at home.
Losing the last game of the regular season on the road against Toledo, the Eagles prepared for the MAC Tournament as the 6-seed. The Eagles looked to beat 11-seed Ball State for the third time this season but fell in the first round by double digits.
Now, with the 2018-19 season in the books, the Eagles will look to fill the shoes of the seniors who’ll be graduating this spring and reload heading into the 2019-20 campaign.