Eastern Michigan 69, Bowling Green 57
After two difficult, but very different, losses at the Convocation Center, the Eastern Michigan basketball team entered the on-ramp of the redemption highway Wednesday night with a 69-57 victory over Bowling Green. It was a must win game, and Eastern’s best player, Glenn Bryant, brought this one home with one electric play after another, leading the Eagles with 28 points and 10 rebounds.
It appeared the game would be a sloppy one, as either team wanted to grab the reins at the start. It wasn’t until the ten minute mark that Eastern began to pour it on, led by Bryant as he scored 21 of his 28 in the first half. Bowling Green got as close as five, but unlike last Saturday against Ohio, Eastern was able to close the game out.
Rob Murphy continued with his tweaks of the starting lineup, moving Raven Lee back to the starting two guard spot, and giving his “glue guy” Daylen Harrison a start at the four. Lee has been lost lately, but seemed to get his feet under him a bit tonight. His shot still isn’t right, but he made good decisions with the ball, including an unselfish pass to Harrison for a short jumper in the second half. In the past, Lee would have tried to take the shot on his own, but recognized Daylen was open and had a better shot. It was a move that showed real growth. Nice to see.
For this win to truly mean something Eastern has to follow it up with a road victory at Miami on Saturday. Mike Talley, who had 12 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists tonight, was tossed to the floor by a much bigger BG player in the second half. Talley limped off the court and did not play again. His improved play and ability to run the offense will be needed, especially on the road. Hopefully Mike will be 100% by tip-off on Saturday.
Tonight’s win does not eliminate the bad aftertaste from last week’s losses. It is a step in the right direction. If Glenn Bryant can continue to dominate around the rim, needed road wins can follow. This team backed themselves against a wall, but there is still a long way until the MAC race is over.
- Bryant did get a technical for pointing out to a BG player that scoring on him was not a difficult proposition. I’m not sure what he said, but it was less than five words. The official was very quick on the T for Glenn.
- Mo Hughley has surpassed Lekan Ajayi on the depth chart as the backup center. Mo has his limitations, but is a far more polished player than Ajayi, and has much better hands. Mo sent a quick one-touch pass to Bryant for one of his dunks-and-one. It was not flashy, but a solid play, and one I don’t think Ajayi makes at this point in his career.
- After two chippy games with BG, I for one am glad to see Eastern finished with the Falcons this season. Unless they meet in the MAC Tournament. If that happens, the game should be played in an Octagon.
- Eastern’s next home game is against Kent State, a true nemesis of the Eagles. Kent lost to Northern Illinois tonight, and is said to be down this year. I don’t buy it. Much like the Ohio game, the Kent game makes me nervous.