The Eastern Michigan University mens’ basketball team (9-18, 4-12 Mid-American Conference) fell to the University of Akron (17-9, 10-6 Mid-American Conference), inside the George Gervin GameAbove Center this past Saturday, Feb. 19. The Zips completed the season sweep with a 67-48 win over EMU.
This loss leaves the Eagles with 18 losses on the season, 12 losses within the Mid-American Conference, and only four games left of their regular season schedule.
In the first half, the Eagles didn’t have an answer for the Zips as they struggled out the jump, falling behind 16-9. Akron would stay hot the rest of the half as they found themselves up, 39-24, going into halftime.
The Eagles continued to struggle in the second half as Akron converted an early basket to go up 41-24. The Eagles continued to fight back as freshman Noah Farrakhan and Mo Njie each threw down a dunk to make the score, 45-33. It wasn’t enough as the Zips would catch fire the rest of the game and hold on to win, 67-48.
Offensively the Eagles struggled to shoot the ball, especially from beyond the arc. They finished the game shooting 20-56 (35%) from the field and 4-22 (18%) from the three-point range.
EMU freshman, Noah Farrakhan, led the scoring efforts for EMU as he finished with 21 points, almost scoring half of EMU’s total. Seniors Darion Spotsville and Monty Scott each added six points.
With Farrakhan’s 21-point scoring performance, he now has passed former EMU mens’ hoops guard, Darryl Garrett, to sit at fourth all-time in freshman scoring in EMU mens’ basketball history with 365 points this season.
Farrakhan needs 11 points to pass former EMU mens’ hoops legend, Earl Boykins, for third all-time and is on pace to score 429 points by the end of this season to place him second all-time, behind James Thompson IV.
On the defensive side, senior Nate Scott pulled down six rebounds and one block, while Monty Scott forced two steals. The Eagles defense also forced 12 turnovers which turned into 15 points for EMU.
Coach Stan Heath shared his thoughts on their performance against Akron in a postgame interview held by EMUAthletics:
“I thought they took the fight to us and we didn’t respond very well,“ Heath said. “We had two issues we dealt with; handling their pressure, and defending.”
Coach Heath also shared his thoughts on the shooting struggle by the Eagles:
“You can’t go 4-22, you can’t be at the bottom of the league in three-point shooting, you have to be able to make shots,”Heath said. “Our practice time is 1-3, great players are not made between 1-3, that's not enough. So you got to find time to hone your skills because when the lights come on and you haven’t put in the work, this is what happens.”
With the MAC tournament just a few weeks away, the Eagles must find answers to their struggles.
Next up, the Eagles will face off against Northern Illinois University on Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022, inside the George Gervin GameAbove Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. and the matchup will be streamed on ESPN3.
On Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022, the Eagles will travel to Muncie, Ind., to face off against Ball State University inside Worthen Arena. Tipoff is scheduled for 3 p.m. and will be streamed on ESPN3.
For more information on EMU mens’ basketball, you can visit EMUEagles.com.