The highly anticipated matchup between the Eastern Michigan University men’s basketball team and the school down the road, the University of Michigan Wolverines, took place on Friday, Nov. 11, at neutral site Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan, where the Eagles fell to Michigan, 88-83, in a nail-biting finish.
14,204 fans packed LCA on Friday night, where the atmosphere was electric and the high energy from fans on both sides made it look like a Pistons playoff matchup.
It was a back-and-forth battle in the first half between both squads with sophomore Emoni Bates nailing a jumper to start the scoring off for the Eagles and help them jump out to an early 11-9 lead with 15:37 left in the first half.
After EMU sophomore Noah Farrakhan extended the Eagles’ lead 14-9, Michigan answered back with an 11-0 run that was led by Michigan’s Terrance Williams III, who poured in two straight three pointers for the Wolverines to put Michigan up, 20-14, with 11:20 left in the first half.
Both squads traded some baskets, with the Eagles regaining the lead as Bates hit a deep three-pointer, followed by a mid-range jumper to put EMU back up, 24-21, with 7:18 left in the first half.
After eight lead changes, and five ties, the Eagles ended the first half with lead over the Wolverines, 45-42.
The Eagles started the second half with a 5-1 run as sophomore Colin Golson Jr made two straight buckets for the Eagles. The Wolverines answered back with a 7-2 run of their own to put the score at 51-50, with EMU still leading.
Bates then scored two straight buckets, highlighted by a slam dunk, and sophomore Legend Geeter would pour in two free throws to make it, 60-58, with EMU leading as 12:18 was left to play.
EMU held onto the lead until foul trouble haunted the Eagles as Jalin Billingsley fouled out with 5:49 left, and Orlando Lovejoy and Noah Farrakhan each held four fouls of their own.
Michigan would capitalize on the foul from Billingsley, as three free throws from Michigan’s Williams III, and a jumper from Hunter Dickinson put the Wolverines up 74-73, with 4:48 left to play.
Following some traded baskets, Michigan went on a 12-3 run that put them up, 87-80, with 20 seconds left to play. Bates hit a late three pointer, but it wasn’t enough as Michigan held out and won the game, 88-83.
Bates led the Eagles in scoring as he finished with 30 points, followed by Noah Farrakhan’s 19 points. Sophomore Tyson Acuff added 10 points.
Next up, EMU will travel to Illinois on Tuesday, Nov. 15, as they take on Bradley University. The tip-off for that matchup is scheduled for 8 p.m. and will be streamed on ESPN+.
For more information on the EMU men’s basketball team, you can visit EMUEagles.com.