The Eastern Michigan University men’s basketball team wrapped up a two-game road trip on Tuesday, Feb. 7 when the Eagles came up short in New York to the University at Buffalo by a score of 102-97 inside of Alumni Arena.
Despite junior Tyson Acuff leading EMU with a new career-best and game-high 35 points, the Eagles suffered their second straight setback after ending the month of January on a two-game winning streak.
Acuff’s 35 points marked the second time in just three games that the Detroit native achieved a new personal best in scoring. Acuff’s previous career-scoring high was 29 and came a week prior when the team defeated Ohio on Jan. 31. Acuff also grabbed five rebounds off the glass which was matched by sophomores Emoni Bates’ and Colin Golson Jr.'s five boards a piece for a three-way share of most rebounds on the team.
Bates’ 27 points scored in the game would be the second-highest scoring total of the night and brought his season scoring total to 488, which ranks as the sixth-highest number of points scored by a sophomore at EMU in a single season. Tuesday also marked the eighth time that Bates has registered 25+ in a game this season for the Eagles.
Sophomore Noah Farrakhan was the third and final EMU scorer to tally double digits as he finished with 19 points, three assists, and three rebounds. Farrakhan has now produced at least one assist in 36 consecutive games, a streak that dates back to last year’s campaign, and has done so in 46 of his 49 games in an Eagles jersey.
EMU allowed Buffalo to get out in front 8-2 after the Bulls went on a 6-0 run and looked to have control early, but momentum would begin to swing in the Eagles’ favor when Bates was fouled on a three-point attempt and was able to convert all three free throws. Just a few moments later, Acuff would also be fouled while shooting a long ball and go a perfect three for three from the free throw line which would give the Eagles their first lead of the night at the score of 20-19 with 9:51 remaining in the opening period of play.
EMU would continue to light it up in the first half and stretch the lead to eight points when Bates made good on an and-one play and made the score 37-29 with roughly four minutes to go until the break, but the Bulls would refuse to go away and only allowed the Eagles to enter halftime with a 48-44 advantage.
Coming out of intermission, all the shots would begin to fall Buffalo’s way as the Bulls outpaced the Eagles 34-16 in the first 10 minutes of gameplay in the second half and were able to enjoy their largest lead for the night of 14 shortly thereafter when the score was 80-66.
Acuff would pour in 20 points in the second half alone as he tried to will his team to a much-needed win on the road and was able to bring the Eagles within five points when all was said and done, but EMU would ultimately fall short of Buffalo by the score of 102-97.
The 199-point scoring total of both teams marks the highest scoring game between the Bulls and Eagles since the two programs combined for 205 when EMU won in Buffalo on Feb. 3, 1999, and the second-most in series history.
The Eagles will be back at the George Gervin GameAbove Center on Saturday, Feb. 11 after playing four of their last five games away from Ypsilanti. Emoni Bates will be looking to score his 500th point of the season as he faces the team he dropped 43 points against on national television on Jan. 24.
The men will play in the latter half of a doubleheader as the EMU women will host Western Michigan University at 5 p.m. and then, approximately 30 minutes after the post-game show concludes, the Toledo Rockets will square off with the men. Tip-off for the EMU-UT game is tentatively scheduled for 7:30 p.m. and will air on ESPN3, as well as be available to listen to on WEMU (98.1 FM) and the Varsity Network App.
For more information on the EMU men’s basketball team, you can listen to "TheBlockE Podcast" weekly for more in-depth analyses, statistics, and more.