The Eastern Michigan University men’s basketball team fell to Northern Illinois University on the road on Saturday, Jan 11. The Eagles tipped off Mid-American Conference play against Akron on Saturday, Jan 4. With the loss to NIU, EMU has now lost its first three games against fellow MAC teams.
The loss came after the Eagles put forth the effort to come back from a double-digit deficit late in the second half. With under two minutes to go, the Huskies had a 12-point advantage over the Eagles. However, with the help of juniors Noah Morgan and Yeikson Montero, the Eagles were able to cut NIU’s 12-point lead to just one by going on a 17-3 run.
Morgan hit two jumpers consecutively while Montero also added a basket with just 23 seconds remaining in the game. EMU then sent NIU to the line where the Huskies were able to capitalize from hitting four free-throws to close the game. Four different Eagles were able to score in the double-digits.
Morgan had a team-high 16 points to go along with five rebounds. Montero followed behind with 15 points of his own. Redshirt senior, Boubacar Toure finished with a double-double in points and rebounds. He had 14 points and 11 rebounds. Junior Thomas Binelli was the last Eagle to score in double-digits with 13 points. His scoring was also a career-high performance for him.
NIU Huskies senior, Eugene German led all scorers with 17 points while pulling down seven rebounds. Following behind for the Huskies was senior Noah McCarty who finished with 14 points. NIU sophomore, Trendon Hankerson finished with six assists in the victory.
Both EMU and NIU shot the ball well as both teams were relatively close in field goal percentage. Both teams were shot at or around 41% from the floor. However, NIU held the advantage in three-pointers made. NIU finished the game with a 39% clip from beyond the arc. Meanwhile, the Eagles only made six of its 25 attempts from the three-point line which is roughly around 24%.
Both teams sought to make the most out of free throws. The Eagles made 70% of its attempts from the line. The Huskies had a slight advantage at the line with a 72% free throw percentage. NIU also had a plus-seven advantage over EMU on the boards. Northern Illinois pulled down 43 rebounds while EMU pulled down 36 in the loss.
Both teams were able to make defensive stops and cause turnovers. The Eagles and the Huskies finished the game with a total of eight steals. The Huskies were outscored in points off turnovers, the Eagles had a 16 to 10 advantage. EMU dominated the paint with a 32-20 edge over NIU in points in the paint. EMU also witnessed a slight advantage in points coming from the bench. The Eagles bench were able to outscore the Huskies bench, 29-25.
The Huskies were able to move the ball around and win in assists totals. NIU finished with a total of 18 assists and EMU finished with 14 assists. Eastern Michigan will continue its MAC play with a two-game homestand beginning on Tuesday, Jan. 14. The Eagles will host Ball State University at 7 p.m. Ohio will then visit the Convocation Center on Saturday, Jan. 18 at 2 p.m.