The Eastern Michigan Eagles (15-13, 5-10) men’s basketball team fell to the Ball State Cardinals after having an early lead Saturday, Feb. 22 in Muncie, Ind. EMU lost again in the following game versus the Northern Illinois Huskies on Tuesday, Feb. 25 at the Convocation Center.
The game against Ball State started out as a back-and-forth battle early in the first half. After going into a timeout with the game tied at eight points, junior Jalen King came off the bench and provided five points for the Eagles. Eastern Michigan’s defense then kept the momentum by forcing the Cardinals to turn the ball over 12 times in the first 20 minutes.
Boubacar Toure led the Eagles in scoring in the first half with 12 points. To go along with his double-digit scoring performance in the first half, he also added four rebounds. Ty Groce contributed six points to go along with an assist and a steal. EMU had an advantage heading into the second half with an 11-point lead.
The Eagles looked to keep the momentum going coming out to the second half with junior Thomas Binelli eventually hitting two 3-pointers. However, the Cardinals would make a comeback to tie the game at 49 points apiece with six minutes left to go in the game. The Cardinals were able to take advantage of its scoring from outside with a 50% shooting performance.
Ball State outscored the Eagles 44-22 in the second half. The final score of the game was 64-55, in favor of the Cardinals. For the Eagles, Toure was the scoring leader with 16 total points. To go along with his scoring output, he hauled in eight rebounds. Following behind in scoring was Binelli with nine points, all coming from the 3-point line. He also pulled down three rebounds.
Junior guard Darion Spottsville added eight points and three rebounds. Groce scored seven points along with three rebounds and four assists. On the defensive end, junior Noah Morgan came away with three steals. Lastly, Yeikson Montero added two steals of his own and freshman Chris James recorded his first career block.
EMU was hoping to bounce back from the road loss versus Northern Illinois on Tuesday night but they were unable to do so. Binelli led the Eagles with 26 points, five rebounds and one steal in the loss. Groce added 12 points, four assists and one rebound. EMU had two others score in double digits as Toure (11) and Spottsville (10) achieved the feat.
Eugene German was arguably the main reason why Northern Illinois was able to pull off the road victory. German scored a game-high 27 points to go along with four assists and four rebounds. He shot 50% from the field and 43.8% from 3-point range. The Huskies also had two others score 15+ points as Tyler Cochran and Zaire Mateen did so.
The Eagles will return home to the Convocation Center on Saturday, Feb. 29 on Senior Day versus the Central Michigan Chippewas. EMU has three regular season games remaining before the MAC Tournament begins on Monday, March 9. The regular season finale will take place on Friday, March 6 at Toledo.