Eastern Michigan University’s men’s basketball team traveled to Bloomington, Indiana to take on Indiana University, Nov. 24. The match marked the third game out of four for the Eagles during the Hoosier Tipoff Classic. EMU lost for the first time this year to Indiana by a final score of 67-87. The Eagles kept things close in the first half but just couldn’t manage to keep up with Indiana’s offense in the later stages of the game.
The first half was considerably close as the Eagles went into halftime down five. A big component of the Eagles’ success in the first half was their three-point shooting. The team shot at an outstanding clip of 63 percent, making seven of its 11 attempts from beyond the arc. Forward Elijah Minnie scored in abundance in the first half, leading the game with 17 total. Minnie leads the team this season in points per game with an average of 18.4. Despite the high scoring numbers from Minnie in the first half, the Eagles turned the ball over seven times leading to multiple baskets in Indiana’s favor. Turnovers have been an issue for the Eagles all season as they are averaging 12 per game. Ball security is crucial to any team's success and when a team is taking on an opponent with the talent of Indiana, they cannot afford to give away possessions and points. The Eagles finished the half with 37 points and a score of 37-42.
The Eagles three-point shooting cooled off heavily in the second half dropping from 63 percent to just 20 percent on 2-10 shooting. While EMU’s shooting cooled down, Indiana’s began to heat up as the team shot just under 60 percent from the field and added in five threes. Eastern’s defense struggled in the second half as Indiana began to break its zone defense with ease. The Hoosiers began to drive into the lane, causing EMU perimeter defenders to crash, which lead to open jump shots for Indiana. Eastern’s ball security was much better in the second half as the team only turned the ball over three times compared to seven in the first half. Guard Paul Jackson lead the offense in the second half with 10 points, giving him 12 total on the game. Jackson joined Minnie and guard Tim Bond in double figures as the two scored 20 and 10 respectively. However, their scoring was not enough as the Eagles were outscored in the second half, 30-45. Indiana’s offensive firepower proved to be too much for the Eagles to handle as they eventually fell to the Hoosiers by a final score of 67-86.
Eastern’s matchup with Indiana proved to be the Eagles’ first true test against an upper echelon program this year. Although the team looked outmatched in the scoring department, the matchup with Indiana serves as a strong lesson as the season progresses. Indiana is one of two opponents on Eastern’s schedule before conference play kicks off that provide a quality test to see where the Eagles stand. EMU has six games between their match against Indiana and their second biggest challenge in a match against Syracuse, Dec. 27. Eastern closes out the Hoosier Tipoff Classic Sunday, Nov. 26, against the University of South Florida.