The Eastern Michigan men’s basketball team completed a 75-69 comeback against conference opponent Northern Illinois on March 2, in DeKalb, Illinois.
The go-ahead shot for the Eagles came with 6:16 left in the game from Paul Jackson, as he hit a jump shot to put EMU ahead 60-59. Jackson had 19 points and 13 of which came in the second half.
The win keeps the slim hopes of a first-round bye in the Mid-American Conference tournament alive for the Eagles. It also increases the likelihood of Eastern Michigan having a home playoff game in the first round of the tournament, instead of having to go on the road. This is the first time a road team has won in this series in four years. The last time it happened was when the Eagles won 73-65 on Feb. 21, 2015.
The Eagles had a slight advantage in shooting percentage, as they shot 42.6 percent from the field while the Huskies shot 42.2 percent. James Thompson IV and Boubacar Toure both added a double-double to help fuel the offensive production. Thompson had 15 points and 17 rebounds, while Toure added 12 points and 16 rebounds. Kevin McAdoo had 10 points of his own to help put the game out of reach.
Northern Illinois’ Eugene German was the second leading scorer in the MAC coming into this game, and he would score 18 points in the first half, 15 of which came from 3-point range. In the second half, however, the Eagles held him to just four points.
It was Senior Night for the Huskies, and senior Levi Bradley got off to a poor start, getting two fouls early and being held to two points in the first half. He would score 12 points in the second half to bring his total to 14 and keep the Huskies close. No other Northern Illinois player would score in double digits.
Northern Illinois was able to keep the game close thanks in large part to the Eagles turning the ball over 18 times during the game and scoring 27 points off those turnovers.
Coming into the game, the Eagles led the MAC in blocks per game, averaging 4.7 per game, yet the Huskies more than tripled the number of blocks the Eagles had in the game. Northern Illinois finished with seven total blocks, five of which came from Noah McCarty, compared to the two blocks the Eagles had. Eastern dominated on the glass, pulling in 45 rebounds to just 26 for NIU, which was a big reason for the Eagles coming out on top.
Coach Rob Murphy and his team were not made available for comment after the game.
The Eagles’ next game is March 5 against MAC rival Ball State. The game will be the final regular season game for the Eagles at the Convocation Center. The Eagles will honor seniors Isaiah Green, Elijah Minnie, Jackson and Thompson before the game for Senior Night.