The Eastern Michigan men’s basketball team defeated Mid-American Conference rival Western Michigan 77-76 in overtime on Feb. 23 in the Convocation Center.
Paul Jackson led the way in scoring for the Eagles with 18 points. With 23.9 seconds left in the game, Jackson drove to the basket and scored a layup, seemingly putting the Eagles ahead late. However, an offensive foul was called on Jackson and the shot was waved off.
“I didn’t agree with the call,” Jackson said. “Fortunately, God allowed us to have another chance. I was able to get to the rim and get an and-one to send it into overtime.”
After scoring the tying bucket of 63 to send the game to overtime, Jackson scored 8 of the 14 overtime points to help seal the victory for the Eagles. This win elevates Eastern’s record to 13-14 overall and 7-7 in conference play, keeping hope alive for a first-round bye in the MAC tournament.
“We’re still playing for a lot,” coach Rob Murphy said. “We’re fortunate enough to be in position to still be playing for a west championship, we’re in position to get a top four bye in Cleveland.”
At the beginning of the game, the Eagles were able to keep the game close thanks to turnovers by the Broncos and scoring points off those turnovers. The Broncos had 21 turnovers, and the Eagles were able to score 29 points off those turnovers. Eastern Michigan also got offensive production from Kevin Mcadoo and Boubacar Toure who scored 16 and 11 points, respectively.
Earlier in the season, the Eagles defeated the Broncos 93-76 in Kalamazoo, Michigan. On that day, Seth Dugan scored 29 points for the Broncos but in the rematch, he was held to 15. 13 of which came in the second half and overtime. Dugan was the leading scorer for the Broncos for the game.
The Eagles are at the top of the conference in rebounds per game. Since beginning conference play, they had only been outrebounded in a few games, each one a loss. However, Eastern Michigan was outrebounded 45-35 and still found a way to win this one.
James Thompson IV was the leader in rebounds for the team with 11 in the game, and he also scored 17 points to earn a double-double for the game. Thompson was the first Eagle to get to double-digit points in the game, having 10 at the end of the first half.
“We are always going to have the advantage by playing two bigs,” Thompson said. “That helps us a lot by playing to our size, so we try to do that every game.”
The Eagles’ next game is against Central Michigan on Feb. 26 in the Convocation Center.
“Tough game coming in, they (Central Michigan) beat us at their place last time,” Thompson said. “Another in-state rivalry. We’re at home this time, so we gotta make sure we leave with this win.”