The Eastern Michigan men’s basketball team (1-0) will play its second game of the year versus the Goshen Maple Leafs (3-3) at the Convocation Center Nov. 12. Eastern Michigan defeated Goshen 97-74 last season.
The Eagles are coming off a 93-51 win over Siena Heights in the season opener.
The Eagles had very little trouble in their first game of the season against Siena Heights. Ty Groce had a career-high 15 points in the win, as he shot 80% from the field and 75% from the free-throw line. Boubacar Toure was impressive as well, scoring 15 points and 10 rebounds, with six being offensive rebounds.
Chris Barnes, who came off the bench, created many shots for others as he recorded a team-high six assists for the Eagles. The Eastern Michigan bench as a whole was really good, totaling 41 points, 16 rebounds and eight assists. Jalen King, who finished with 10 points and eight rebounds, was a key player off the bench, too.
One of the Eagles’ major differences from last year was the constant pressure. Eastern Michigan ran multiple presses for the majority of the game and forced Siena Heights into many mistakes. The Saints finished the game with 20 turnovers, nine assists and 33.9% shooting from the field.
The Eagles will look to play a similar game against Goshen.
“For us, any game on our schedule, we want to play at a high level on the defensive end,” head coach Rob Murphy said. “We’re going to press a little bit more and try to put some pressure on them. We want to try and score in the first three seconds on offense, and the only way you do that is getting deflections, getting steals and turning that into points.“
Goshen comes into the game averaging 79.3 points, 37.2 rebounds and 13.5 assists per game. The Maple Leafs are also shooting 43.3% from the field. They have three players averaging double-digit points with Austin Branagan (17.2), Tahj Curry (13.2) and Michael Bowers (11.8) all doing so. Those three are averaging a combined 17.9 rebounds per game.
“We just want to continue to get better through practice, film and the actual games,” Murphy said. “I think we have a pretty balanced schedule. This season we kind of toned it down after last year. To be able to play against teams at our level is great. I think that will prepare us for MAC play.”
The Eagles have a 97.3% chance to win, according to ESPN FPI.
“My goal is to win every game, but my job is to see how we’re playing and improving,” Murphy said. “We’re just going to take it game by game, and at the end of the non-conference schedule, we’ll evaluate where we are and prepare to make a run at the MAC championship.”