The college basketball season won't officially tip off until Monday, Nov. 7, but the excitement in Ypsilanti has been building for months. The majority of that excitement is due to the addition of Memphis transfer sophomore Emoni Bates. The former No. 3 overall recruit in the 2021 class went to Lincoln High School, which is less than ten miles away from Eastern Michigan University’s campus.
To quantify the excitement, an extra row of courtside seating has been added to the George Gervin GameAbove Center in preparation for the Eastern Michigan University men's basketball 2022-23 campaign. Those seats were sold out to watch Bates’ debut on Thursday, Oct. 27 as the Eagles defeated the Grand Valley State University Lakers 85-69 in an exhibition match.
The crowd who came to see Bates’ first night in the green and white would not be disappointed. The sophomore forward would lead all scorers with 27 points, tailed by fellow sophomore Noah Farrakhan, who contributed 22 points of his own. Farrakhan led the team in scoring last year in his first season with EMU, averaging 16.6 PPG.
Two more Eagles would reach double-digits in the scoring column, Tyson Acuff, a junior Duquesne transfer, scored 15 while shooting 50 percent from beyond the arc in his first game as an Eagle. Also making his EMU debut was redshirt freshman Legend Geeter, who not only converted 5 of 7 of his shots to add 11 to the box score but also grabbed 13 rebounds off the glass to secure a double-double.
Not long after tip-off the Ypsilanti native, Bates, began to showcase his scoring ability as he scored the Eagles’ first basket on a fast-break three-pointer and accounted for nine of the team's first eleven points.
Despite the hot start from the perimeter and a 12-0 scoring run later in the first half that would be highlighted by a Bates’ windmill slam dunk in transition, GVSU would capitalize on EMU turnovers and go on a few scoring runs of their own fueled by three-point shooting to hold the Eagle lead at 35-33 going into the halftime break.
The Lakers would hang around for the better part of the second half, but the Eagles eventually found a rhythm on the floor and began to shoot lights out. EMU shot an impressive 62.1 percent from the field in the second half led by Farrakhan’s unreal 87.5 percent on 7 of 8 shots. At the same time, the defense made some serious adjustments at the perimeter and held GVSU to a 28.6 three-point shooting percentage to help the Eagles pull away and secure the 16-point victory.
Tune into ESPN+ at 7:30 pm on Nov. 7 to catch the coverage of the men's basketball team’s first official game of the 2022-23 season that will be played against the Warriors of Wayne State University inside the Gerv.
For more information on the Eastern Michigan men’s basketball team, you can visit EMUeagles.com