The Eastern Michigan University men’s basketball team (6-16, 3-6 MAC) defeated Ohio University (11-11, 3-6 MAC), 90-79, on Tuesday, Jan. 31, inside the George Gervin GameAbove Center in a back-to-back victory for the Eagles led by sophomore guard Tyson Acuff recording a career-best 29 points.
“Confidence played a role,” Acuff said in a postgame press conference interview held by EMU Athletics. “I’m not hunting for shots but when it’s hot like that, my teammates trust me to have the ball in my hands, so I appreciate them.”
Acuff’s new record included a career-high six assists, six made threes, two rebounds, and one steal.
The Eagles finished the matchup with 16 assists, the most in a home game this season, on 30 made field goals.
Sophomore Noah Farrakhan added four assists, ranking him fifth all-time in program history for consecutive assists.
Excluding Acuff, four Eagles scored double figures with sophomore Emoni Bates tallying 19 points and fellow sophomore Kevin-David Rice added a season-high 11 points.
Sophomores Jalin Billingsley and Yusuf Jihad each scored 10 points.
“Kevin Rice, I thought he gave us some great minutes in the first half, same with Jalin Billingsley but Tyson Acuff was terrific,“ coach Stan Heath said.
EMU picked up a 37-35 lead and went on a 6-0 run with 3:04 left in the first half. Sophomore Yusuf Jihad increased its lead to 43-35, after hitting a key three-pointer. Ohio would cut into the lead but the Eagles picked up the pace as they headed into halftime with a 47-40 advantage.
In the second half, Bates finished off a 5-0 run with a three, growing the lead, to 61-52, with 10:22 left in the game. Acuff led the Eagles with 19 points in the second half, for the 90-79 victory. EMU shot well from the three-point range, hitting six shots from deep, scoring 18 of its 43 points.
“It was a hard-fought game and something we really needed, we’re happy to get out of here with a win,” Heath said.
Next up, the Eagles take on Ball State University Friday, Feb.3, in Munchie, Ind. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. and will be a nationally televised game shown on CBS Sports Network.
For more information on EMU’s men’s basketball team, check out “TheBlockE Podcast” weekly for all updates, in-depth analysis, statistics, and more.