The Eastern Michigan University men’s basketball team played its oldest rival which dates back to 1898, earning a home victory downing the visiting Titans of the University of Detroit Mercy inside the George Gervin Game Above Center on Dec. 18. The Eagles (3-9, 0-0 MAC) snapped a three-game losing streak with their second home victory of the season while defeating the Titans (5-7, 1-1 Horizon) for the second game in the series.
EMU would start off hot as they took a 33-26 advantage and then went on a 7-0 run with 3:15 left in the first half to increase its lead to 40-26. Detroit Mercy would fight back and cut into that lead, making it 47-37 entering halftime.
It was a back-and-forth battle in the second half which lead to Detroit Mercy taking a 72-69 lead before the Eagles went on a 7-0 run, highlighted by sophomore Noah Farrakhan's layup, to go up, 76-72, with 44 seconds left to play. The Titans narrowed their deficit somewhat before the game was over, but the Eagles still held on for the 79-77 win.
The Eagles' defense throughout the game was stellar as they forced nine Detroit Mercy turnovers in the period, collecting 13 points off those turnovers.
Sophomore, Yusuf Jihad scored his career-high of 17 as he went 6-of-13 shooting with a perfect 2-of-2 from three and 3-of-3 from the free throw line. Jihad has now made at least one triple in three consecutive games.
Sophomores Emoni Bates and Tyson Acuff both had strong performances as they each finished with 19 points in the win for the Eagles. Bates was 4-of-8 from three, marking his seventh game this year with at least three triples in a game. His 50.0 percent shooting from beyond the arc ties for his single-game high this year.
Sophomore Noah Farrakhan added 11 points to the defeat against the Titans.
Up next, the Eagles will travel to Columbia, S.C., to face the University of South Carolina Gamecocks, on Dec. 30. The game is scheduled to tip at 7 p.m. inside Colonial Life Arena and will be streamed live on SEC Network+, WEMU (89.1 FM), and the Varsity Network app. It will be the last game of the 2022 year, as we will ring in the 2023 new year.
For more information on the Eastern Michigan men's basketball team and to hear more in-depth analysis, you can listen to the latest episodes of "TheBlockE" Podcast.