Eastern Michigan's Defense Too Much for Western Michigan, Winning 56-37

Andrew Mascharka- Hustle Belt

The Broncos' terrible shooting performance helped Eastern Michigan pick up their second MAC victory.

It started off good, then ugly, then really ugly, then really really ugly, then really really reall-



Eastern Michigan started off hot, shooting around 60% through the first nine minutes of the game, leading 22-10, but the wheels sort of fell of for the Eagles after that. The defense was there to keep Western Michigan from scoring with a pair of blocks from Glenn Bryant and three steals by Daylen Harrison in the opening half.

Bryant also threw down this dunk on Tucker Haymond:

Eastern Michigan F Glenn Bryant SLAM Dunk #SCtop10 (via ESPN)

And everybody knows the saying, "the best defense is a pitiful offense." Well, that's especially true in this game. The Broncos shot only 20% from the floor in the first half and finished with a 28.6% field goal percentage. For a team that came in averaging 73.8 points per game, this was a very disappointing showing by Western.

Connar Tava, who missed one shot all last week, was 1-for-4 from the floor, making only four out of his nine free throws, finishing the day with six points before fouling out in 31 minutes of play.

"We knew if he had the ball in the high post, he'd try to be a playmaker," EMU coach Rob Murphy said. "Any time you get it in there, you're going against Da'Shonte Riley. 6'5" against 7'0", we'll take that every time."

Riley only had two blocks and a steal in his 21 minutes on the court, but his presence really forced the ball to stay out of the paint to make the Broncos force some shots that were unfavorable, only having six points in the paint as opposed to the Eagles' 20.

But it wouldn't be a real rivalry game if there wasn't a flagrant foul thrown into the mix. With a minute and a half to go in the game, Karrington Ward took a loose ball across the court for a fast break lay-up, but WMU's David Brown chased and shoved Ward down to the floor. No head shots, just a shove in Ward's leg in the air. Brown was team's leading scorer with 18 points including four three-pointers in 36 minutes.

WMU was 12-for-42 from the floor, but EMU wasn't much better with their 17-for-47 night. The real difference that showed up on the socre board was the free throw shooting by the Green and White. EMU was 16-for-23, whereas WMU was only 8-for-16. Eastern's two leading scorers were Mike Talley and Darell Combs, who finished with 14 points each. All three of Talley's field goals were three-pointers while going 5-for-6 from the free throw line. Combs was 2-for-6 outside the arc, with four free throws.

Western Michigan loses their first in-conference game, falling to a 9-6 overall record (2-1 MAC). As for Eastern, they improve to a 10-6 (2-1 MAC) record. The Broncos will now head home and play against Bowling Green on Sunday while the Eagles travel to Mt. Pleasant for another rivalry game against Central Michigan on Saturday.

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