Here are pictures from tonight’s game. I was a little worried going into it because I’ve followed enough sports to see what happens when teams get owned in the regular season. Somehow they manage to put together the game of their season in playoff time. For a brief second when Central roared to within 2, it looked like that might happen. Then the Eagles found something within themselves and pulled it out.
Well, I will have to say this was a fun season to be behind the camera. Hopefully, the Eagles will be able to go far in the tournament but if they don’t, I will say that it has been a fun season. I get the feeling that this team is on the cusp of something and I hope that next season bodes well for them. I hope everyone here enjoyed the pictures as much as I did taking them.
Welcome to the Mid-American Conference Tournament. Tonight, round one as Eastern Michigan hosts Central Michigan. Eastern beat the Chips twice this year, and are looking for the elusive three game sweeep.
This is Rob Murphy’s third year at helm in Ypsi, and this is also the third straight MAC Tourney opener at the Convo for Murphy. Year one had the MAC West champion Eagles lose a heartbreaker to Northern Illinois. Last year, Eastern avenged the loss to the Huskies.
Here in year three, Murphy is in a must-win situation, as a loss would be a disaster for the Eagles. The talent on this team is too great to lose to CMU in this game.
That isn’t to say the game won’t be close, or even that (gasp) Central can’t upset EMU. March Madness means anything is possible.
Nothing left but to tip it off and let the Chips fall where they may, hopefully to the Eagles tonight.
Bad shot selection to start the game as Eastern continues their love affair with the three ball. 0-4 from behind the arc. Finally, Raven Lee sends a nice pass inside to Daylen Harrison for a short jumper that gets Eastern on the board.
DaShonte Riley clearly alters two shots in the opening stretch, hopefully announcing his presence to the rest of the conference that he owns the interior for the duration of the MAC Tourney.
Eastern and Central are tied at four with 15:39 left in the first half.
Eastern pulls to a 11-8 lead, Darell Combs with a nice scoop-shot layup, and Eastern gets a three from J.R. Sims after starting 0-6 from long range. 11:35 left in the first half.
Glenn Bryant is yet to make an appearance. Rob Murphy might be making a calculated risk by keeping GB on the bench to rest his ankle. I think it is the smart move, EMU needs to be able to win this game without Glenn, and get him close to 100% for Cleveland.
Quality minutes from Mo Hughley in that stretch, as Eastern takes over on the glass, and drops in a sweeet layup. EMU stretches their lead to 16-10 with 7:37 left in the half.
Another sparsely attended game, as the crowd is in all likelihood under 1000.
Central pushes back, as a threes by Chris Fowler and Austin Keel lead the charge for the Chips. Central takes the lead, 24-22 with 2:19 left in the half.
Glenn Bryant takes the court as K-Ward needs a rest. Bryant seems a step slower, about 80%. No offensive chances for Glenn, I suspect that is when we will truly see what kind of shape his ankle is in.
Mike Talley knocks down a clutch three and EMU retakes the lead. A layup by Daylen Harrison moves Eastern to a 27-24 lead at the half.
Harrison is the player of the half, with 6 points and 4 rebounds. He also leads Eastern with 17 minutes played.
Except for one stretch of play, EMU has looked pretty businesslike in the first half. Both teams have been awful from three point range, CMU is 3-14 and EMU is 3-12. Daylen inside has been the difference.
A three from Lee to start the half, followed by a Riley layup helps EMU spring to a 32-26 lead with 15:47 left in the game.
Bryant opens the half on the exercise bike, I really doubt we will see Glenn on the floor again tonight. K-Ward is 1-6 from the field, but is still productive with 6 rebounds. Ray Lee at the line when play resumes.
Chris Fowler picks up his third foul, and Mike Talley drops a dagger triple to force a CMU timeout.
After the TO, K-Ward and Daylen Harrison knock down a pair of threes and Eastern opens up a 43-31 advantage with 11:43 left in the game. It would be nice to see this lead continue, let Rob Murphy use the bench, and keep the minutes down for the starters.
Blake Hibbitts goes on a personal 8-0 run that just so happens to coincide with some really poor shot selection by EMU. With 7:13 left in the game, the score is EMU 46, CMU 44.
Momentum has swung to the Chips, and the longer this game stays close, more and more pressure will mount on the Eagles.
Murphy comes out of the timeout with Talley, Lee, Ward, Harrison, and Riley. I suspect this will be his go to group for the rest of the game.
Back to back layups by Harrison and Lee, followed by a Chip turnover, set this stretch up for the Eagles. K-Ward follows with three exclamation point threes to put Eastern back in control.
Great display of shooting by Ward and EMU is back in the driver seat with a 13-0 run over a 2:51 span. After a CMU timeout, Ward stays hot with yet another three. Four in a row. K-Ward is klowning the Chips.
Chants of “Ali, Ali” have started, as fans are calling for Murphy to empty the bench.
What a difference a few minutes makes, EMU up 64-47 with 2:38 left in the game.
That’s a winner from the Convo. Karrington Ward takes over late in the second half, and EMU beats CMU in the MAC Tournament opening round by a score of 72-60.
My MACtion three stars for the game are:
1) Karrington Ward — Strong on the glass all game, K-Ward got hot when Eastern needed him, finishing with 20 points and 8 rebounds.
2) DaShonte Riley — Riley owned the middle, altering shots and controlling the glass. Riley has 4 points, 9 rebounds, 1 block, and ZERO fouls.
3) Daylen Harrison — Harrison was the glue guy again, this time with a big contribution on offense with 13 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 blocks.
Honorable mention to Mike Talley with 11 points and 8 assists.
EMU moves on to Cleveland, and a Wednesday night matchup against either NIU or Bowling Green. Final thoughts after the press comference.
The news from the press conference was the status of Glenn Bryant, Murphy said that Bryant, “begged me to play” and that he wanted to see what Bryant’s ankle was capable of. He said GB was 70-75% and should be good to go on Wednesday.
K-Ward said, in his affable, low-key manner, that as long as he was feeling it, he was going to keep shooting in the second half. He also said he was motivated by his third team All-MAC selection. Great finish for Ward, and if he gets hot Eastern could be in for a big run.
Murphy likes what he saw, and is ready to get to Cleveland. With six seniors leading the way, Murphy thinks they can respond to the challenge ahead.
Good night from the Convo. March Madness continues Wednesday night at the Q.
With a 77-66 defeat at Toledo on Saturday, Eastern Michigan finishes the 2013 regular season with an overall record of 18-13 and a conference record of 10-8 — good enough for 6th place in the MAC. While the 6th place finish qualifies as disappointing, within this record there are positives and negatives, and the final verdict on this season is yet to be determined.
The conference performance has certainly left this team in a deep hole. In order for them to achieve the ultimate goal of winning the Mid-American Conference Tournament, Eastern needs to win five games in six days. Eastern opens tournament play at home against Central Michigan, a team the Eagles defeated twice. A loss to the Chippewas would be a complete disaster.
Win that game and things get dicey. It’s off to Cleveland to play the winner of Northern Illinois and Bowling Green. NIU gets the Falcons at home, and if I were the betting sort I’d put my money on Mark Montgomery’s Huskies. EMU and NIU would then play one of their signature bloodbaths, leaving both teams battered and bruised.
I stopped by the gleaming Eastern Echo Podcast Studio for a March Madness roundtable with Echo sports guru Eugene Evans and voice of the Eagles Chad Bush. We covered a lot of material, 45 minutes of EMU Hoops chat. Enjoy.
Your friends at Eagle Totem would like to present you with what we think is a nice picture version of next season’s football schedule.
I wish it were a picture of the sun rising over Rynearson since I feel like we are entering the dawn of a new era. Since they don’t play games in the morning, I’ll have to settle for a sunset. At first blush, this looks like a pretty brutal schedule with 7 games on the road. I’m not sure about Old Dominion but I figure that Florida and Michigan State will be tough. I can’t really comment on the MAC games.
For now, enjoy the picture.
The final home game of a College Season is always a bittersweet affair. It is during this game that the fans get to say good bye to the seniors that have fought so hard for all these years. Well some of these seniors game to Eastern by way of other places but still. I get the feeling that this group of seniors was on the cusp of greatness. It seems like they came so close but yet had a ways to go. Granted, they still have a MAC Tournament to play, so who knows what they may end up doing. At any rate, I wish them the best.
Since I’m a bit of a shipping fanatic, I will wish Da’Shonte Riley, J.R. Sims, Mo Hughley, Glenn Bryant III, Daylen Harrison and Anthony Strickland fair winds and following seas. Althoug this wont be the last time I’ll see them as I’m gonna try to make it down to Toledo for the game there. And I will definately be back at the Convocation Center for their first MAC Tourney game.
It’s senior night at the Convo, and Eastern Michigan looks to send their six seniors off right. Rob Murphy is starting five of the seniors tonight (all but Hughley), something I always like for a coach to do.
Ball State is 2-14 in the MAC, and has a 5-22 record overall. EMU should take care of business tonight.
I was late tonight (stupid Tuesday night game) so tip-off is about to happen. I’m looking for Eastern to win tonight in convincing fashion. Let’s see how it plays out.
The senior experiment is quickly over, as Murphy is bringing in Lee and Talley. A couple of nice buckets by Bryant and EMU jumps to a 6-2 lead with 15:45 left in the first.
Majok Majok missed a dunk in pretty spectacular fashion. Perhaps the fact that he was hacked while going up had something to do with his miss.
Majok Majok is one of the great college basketball names. I don’t know why more parents don’t chose this route, much less confusion.
The name is like Humbert Humbert from Lolita. Let’s hope the name is all they have in common.
A three by Daylen Harrison and an and-one by Talley move Eastern to a 15-6 lead over the Cardinals with 11:42 left in the first half.
This is the effort we were hoping for. Team looks in control.
Karrington Ward missed an assignment and gave up a three to start this stretch of play. I hope someone got a picture of the pained look on Murphy’s face. Ward also missed two free throws, K-Ward’s free throw shooting has regressed over the course of the season.
Ball State makes a push but Talley answers with a big three, and drops in a nice layup to help Eastern to a 24-17 lead with 5:41 left in the half.
Eastern stretches their lead with stifling defense and a Darell Combs bucket. EMU up nine, 28-17 with 3:48 left in the half.
Ball State goes on a late run and cuts the gap to six at halftime. EMU is not shooting well, 37% and Ball State is outrebounding the Eagles 22 to 17.
Player of the half was Majok, with 12 points and 7 rebounds. EMU holds to a 31-25 lead.
Last year, Ball State came to the Convo and upset the Eagles. EMU better not let up or BSU will sneak up on them. Eastern has a bad history with trap games.
A big Riley block to start the half leads to a Talley fast break bucket. Two more fast break layups for Raven Lee, a dunk by Ward, and Eastern starts the half right, up 42-30 with 15:29 left in the game.
Majok now has 15 points and 11 rebounds, and has been a beast on the glass. Riley picks up his third foul just before the media time out. It will be up to Ajayi to take on Majok for a while.
Murphy elects to go with Hughley. He manages to keep Majok in check during this stretch of play. Also, BSU head coach James Whitford gives Majok a rest on the bench for a few minutes. That seemed to neutralize Majok quite effectively.
Glenn Bryant makes his first appearance of the half and promptly gets benched after 30 seconds by a pissed off Rob Murphy.
K-Ward gets fouled hard on a drive to the hoop, and coverts one of two. Ward is 2-6 from the line tonight.
With 10:03 left in the game, Eastern leads 50-39.
Stat of the night: Ball State has 17 turnovers. Majok (17 and 12) is all that is keeping BSU afloat. He is going to be a star in the Italian League next year, you read it here first.
Eastern stretches their lead to 54-41 with 7:51 left in the game.
Anthony Strickland with a great senior night moment, a big time dunk that brings the crowd to their feet. He follows with an old-fashioned three point play. Strick has been with the program for five years and was recruited by Charles Ramsey. Always an effort guy, it’s great to see Strick play well on senior night.
The game is getting close to Ali tme. Eastern leads 62-49 with 3:54 to go.
That’s a winner! Eastern outclasses Ball State and pulls out a 72-58 victory over the Cardinals. The students chant, “Thank you seniors” and we all agree. They will be back for the first round tournament game on Monday, but for tonight, Senior Night has been a success.
Combs and Talley lead in scoring with 12 each, and Bryant finishes with 9 points and 8 rebounds.
Final thoughts after the press conference.
After the game Rob Murphy was pleased with the win, but concerned by the inside dominance of Majok. He also said he was looking forward to the challenge of playing at Toledo on Saturday.
I asked Anthony Strickland about how he adapted to the zone after Murphy came in, and Anthony said it was a question of survivial. Strick knew he had to work hard to impress Murphy and put forth maximum effort in practice over the years. It was great to talk to him after the game.
J.R. Sims talked about how the program had a new attitude under Murphy, and how he bought into the zone and overall team mentality. J.R. has seen many different roles over the years, and is another team-oriented, character guy.
A third win in a row for the Eagles as they head for a tough rematch at Toledo. EMU is pretty much locked in at the six seed, but UT will be playing for the conference title. Wouldn’t it be fun to spoil that?
“Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t.” – William Shakespeare, Hamlet
March is here, and there is madness in the air. Of course, for EMU basketball the madness began earlier this year with painful giveaway losses at home to Ohio, and on the road to Akron and Miami. Guess who stands between Eastern and two games worth of byes in the MAC Tournament? Akron and Ohio.
Don’t hold your breath for Eastern to win out and Akron to lose out. It won’t happen. Eastern dug themselves in too deep, and the Eagles are going to have to fight their way just to get to the quarterfinals of the tournament.
But with tomorrow being senior night, it occurred to me that Eastern’s six seniors have legacy on the line. Is it possible that the collapses of the early season have forged them into a battle tested team? Is it possible they could win, that there was indeed method to the early season madness?
They introducted the Football Staff at halftime today. This gave me an opportunity to get pictures of them. There was one person that is not listed on the card they gave out after the game, so his picture is not included.
Based on what I heard at halftime, it sounds like these guys come with some degree of skill. I still think they have their work cut for them but I wish them all the best. I can not wait to see these guys in action next season.