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.
Pictures from the game today.
I almost had this game written off. Eastern was down by 13 points and they looked lethargic. Daylen Harrison who almost never fouls out…fouled out. Da’Shonte Riley who does foul out…fouled out. Murphy put Ali in the game and that usually doesn’t happen until the game is settled. At that point, the team played a hell of a game and managed to roar back.
It’s Saturday at the Convo, and we have a matchup for the ages. In what will surely be an offensive explosion not unlike the UNLV/Loyola Marymount games of the early 90′s, Eastern Michigan and Northern Illinois are almost ready to tip-off.
These two teams clearly bring out the worst in each other. The scoring is pitiful, and the defense is chippy with constant fouls. Can we break this cycle of violence today and see a game that resembles basketball? Will the ghost of James Naismith rise from the grave and smite these two teams right before our eyes?
Today, I’m looking for someone to take charge and prove that they have some kind of offensive game. Raven Lee in particular has a chance to redeem himself after getting benched by Rob Murphy Wednesday night. If not Lee, then Karrington Ward, Glenn Bryant, or Darell Combs. Please. Someone. Anyone.
NIU trails Eastern in the MAC standings, but if they win EMU will drop below the Huskies in tournament seeding. As it stands, EMU can still catch the fourth seed if they win out, and get some help. Lose today and that possibility, remote as it may be, is gone.
I’ll be back during the media timeouts. For now, buckle in, EMU and NIU are ready for battle.
Wow, opening threes for EMU and NIU. The score is 8-6 and it’s not even halftime! Talley knocks down a three as well and Eastern looks like the Runnin’ Rebs circa 1990.
A three just before the timeout and NIU pulls within two with 15:36 left in the first half. I’m expecting the game to remain close.
Riley picks up his second foul and we got trouble right here in River City. NIU takes advantage and has a 10-8 lead over the Eagles. Lekan Ajayi picks up a quick foul (surprise!) and Murphy is clearly annoyed.
There is still 11:53 left in the half, probably all with Riley on the bench.
Strong play by Mike Talley and a pretty jumper from K-Ward move the Eagles back into the lead, 18-16 with 6:51 left in the half.
Ajayi fights hard for an offensive board, draws a foul, and misses both free throws in horrific fashion. He also picks up his second foul and Murphy elects to put Riley back in. Very nice post move for a bucket by Riley, we’ll see if he can stay out of foul trouble.
Play slows down to what we expect from these two teams. More strong play from Talley keeps the game close, NIU has a 22-21 lead with 3:50 left in the half.
Riley forced to be a little tentative inside with two fouls, and Jordan Threloff is causing trouble.
Halftime score Northern Illinois 28, Eastern Michigan 22. DaShonte Riley picks up his third foul and NIU takes advantage of uninspired play by the Eagles. Rob Murphy has been prowling along the sidelines, barking at the players and officials. He does not seem to be particularly happy with what he has seen on the court.
Poor free throw shooting and eight turnovers have plagued Eastern. We are also yet to see Raven Lee, who is still in Murphy’s doghouse. One half remains, and if Eastern cannot come back and win this game the slide to mediocrity will be complete.
I had time to check out the “Taste of Ypsi” event in the lobby. First of all, I love the idea. Having said that, and with full knowledge that the Tim Horton’s mafia will attack me again, I have to say that Buffalo Wild Wings, Dominos Pizza, and Tim Horton’s don’t qualify as unique to Ypsi.
Here are places missing from the Taste of Ypsi:
La Fiesta Mexicana
Blue Wolf Grill
Bona Sera Cafe
Bill’s Hot Dogs
All these are unique to Ypsi and for the most part a fantastic place to eat. Ypsi really does have a solid food scene. Hopefully next year they can expand this event.
Riley picks up his fourth foul and it is up to Ajayi to anchor the zone. Mike Talley continues to thrive on offense, keeping Eastern close, with the score NIU 32, EMU 28.
Disaster strikes in this stretch of play. Poor shooting and overall sloppy play by Eastern. NIU playing with more emotion and drive than EMU. The Huskies lead 43-34 with 11:33 left in the game.
Murphy puts Strickland, Hughley, Harrison, Talley, and Ross on the court. That puts a lot of pressure on Talley to score. On cue, Ross misses a deep three he has no business shooting, and NIU charges down court for an old-fashioned three point play. Murphy quickly gets Combs, Riley, and Ward back in.
Murphy, with Lee on the bench, puts Ali Farhat in to see if he can provide a spark. Desperate times at the Convo.
Eastern picks up the offense with a Combs layup and a couple of free throws by Mike Talley. NIU’s turn for sloppy play as they throw the ball out of bounds. A nice driving layup by JR Sims and the score is now 45-44 NIU with 7:41 left in the game.
Foul trouble for Eastern as Daylen fouls out and Riley has four. Glenn Bryant has been quiet today, with 1 point and 1 board. He will have to pick up the slack with Day on the bench.
Riley fouled out with 5:41 left in the game, we all knew it would happen, but now they have to finish without him and Harrison. Murphy screams for a timeout to stop the Huskies momentum.
NIU keeping the Eagles at arms length, 50-46 with 3:20 left in the game.
Announcer just made the obligatory and pointless “don’t rush the court” warning. How presumptuous. The fans need to be awake to rush the court. It’s like nap time at my kids pre-school in here. Only noise is from the band and the clown who keeps whistling.
An offensive board and a put back by Ward pulls the crowd from their slumber, and a couple of inside buckets by Bryant and we are tied at 52 with 29 seconds left. Timeout by Murphy, and Eastern has the ball with 2 seconds left on the shot-clock. Will we see more overtime from these two teams?
That’s a winner! Huge three by Talley puts Eastern in the lead, and a big rebound and free throw for Sims ices the game. Eastern manages to avoid disaster and keep their MAC Tourney hopes on life support.
Final score: Eastern Michigan 56, Northern Illinois 52.
Eastern improves to 17-12 overall and 9-7 in the MAC. I’ll have final thoughts after the press conference.
News from the press conference, Raven Lee did not play becuase he was ill this morning, Murphy graphically described Lee’s symptoms and dude was in no shape to play. Seriously.
Murphy added that Lee was due to start today, so my previous speculation about Lee still being in the doghouse was incorrect.
Mike Talley talked about his game winning shot. Definitely surprised they left him open, and Talley also said it was the first big game winning shot of his career. Congrats to Mike, he finished with 21 points and 6 rebounds.
A big win for Eastern as they try to sneak into the four spot. Ball State is in on Tuesday night, as Eastern goes for a third win in a row.
Another day at the Convo in the books. Time to go see if Red Rock left some brisket for me. Peace.
Pictures from the game last night. For the first half, I tried something different and shot from the stands. I’m not terribly happy with the results except for the Da’Shonte dunk.
Both Ohio and Akron lost last night, keeping the Eagles hope for a four seed in the MAC Tournament alive.
Last night’s victory by the EMU basketball team over Central Michigan reminded me of the old adage about Chinese food. It tastes great going down, but in a short time the hunger comes back. The win over CMU, always a good thing, still managed to barely satiate the hungry EMU hoops fan. To carry the metaphor forward, the win last night was merely the egg roll (or crab rangoon, if you prefer) on the plate of hoops that lays before the Eagles.
The question of whether or not we get to the almond cookie at the end of the meal is what matters most. Can EMU put a stretch of quality games together and win the MAC Tournament? Ask around the MAC and you will hear two things regarding Eastern Michigan in the MAC Tournament:
1) None of them think Eastern really has a chance to win the tournament and claim the automatic bid to the Big Dance.
2) None of them want to play Eastern in the MAC tournament.