The Eastern Michigan men’s basketball team defeated the Western Michigan Broncos on Saturday, Feb. 15 at the Convocation Center in Ypsilanti. The Eagles have now won three of their last five games, with a 4-8 overall conference record. Western Michigan came into this game with an overall record of 11-13 and a 4-7 record in the MAC.
The Eagles started the first half with a strong defensive stand, forcing a shot clock violation from Western Michigan. The Broncos then rattled off five points to reach a 10-5 lead over the Eagles before EMU forward Thomas Binelli hit his second 3-pointer of the game, bringing the deficit down to two points.
Eastern Michigan capitalized on this momentum to move ahead to a 19-15 lead on a 16-5 run thanks to a pair of threes from Noah Morgan and Chris James. Morgan then converted a four-point play a few minutes later to give the Eagles a 28-15 advantage. Going into halftime, Eastern Michigan held a firm grasp of the game, leading with a score of 39-26.
The second half saw the Eagles maintain their pressure on the Broncos, until Boubacar Toure found back-to-back dunks to put the score at 52-38 with 11:30 to go in the game. The Broncos never got close to Eastern Michigan for the remainder of the game, with the final score being 69-51 in favor of the Eagles.
Four Eagles scored double figures in this game, with the leader being Toure at 17 points, shooting a perfect percentage from the field while leading the Eagles on the glass with six rebounds. Coach Murphy praised Toure, saying “Boubacar did a really good job imposing his presence down low defensively. I thought in the second half he did a better job anchoring the zone, rebounding the ball, altering shots and blocking shots.”
Morgan and James tied for second, the pair contributing 15 points each. James shot 60% from the field on 10 shots, including 3-for-5 from 3-point range. Murphy also commented on James’ work ethic: “I talked to these guys putting in work when the coaches are not in the gym, coming in early and making extra shots. He is one of those guys who I always see making extra shots.”
The Eagles played a strong defensive game, recording 11 steals and forcing 19 turnovers from the Broncos while converting those mistakes into 24 points. Eastern Michigan’s next game is against Kent State in the Convocation Center on Tuesday, Feb. 18. The Eagles have six games left on their regular season schedule before the MAC Tournament starts. They currently sit as the fourth best team in the MAC West standings.