What was supposed to be a low scoring affair between two of the MAC's best defenses turned into a high-flying circus when Eastern Michigan's Glenn Bryant III stepped on the floor Wednesday night.
The senior forward threw down three alley-oops and scored a career-high 26 points as the Eagles (12-8, 4-3 MAC) snapped a two-game losing streak with a 69-57 victory over the Bowling Green Falcons (9-11, 3-4 MAC).
Through the first five minutes, it seemed as if the game would turn into the Richaun Holmes show. He scored Bowling Green's first seven points on two monstrous dunks and a rare three-point attempt. At the first media timeout, the Falcons held a four point lead. It would be the last lead they would hold in the game.
EMU scored nine unanswered points during a five minute Bowling Green scoring drought to take a 16-9 lead. The run featured a two-handed stuff by Bryant that propelled him to perhaps the most dominate 10 minute stretch by any player this season in the Mid-American Conference.
Bryant went on to score 21 points before the first half was over, tying his career-high. He scored 12 of those points in a five-minute stretch to end the half. Most of his buckets came at the expense of the soft middle in Bowling Green's 2-3 zone, where he snagged five offensive rebounds. An offensive rebound and tip-in with 20 seconds remaining in the half gave the Eagles 39 first-half points against the third-highest defensive rating in the conference.
Though BGSU was able to contain Bryant in the second half by switching to a man-to-man defense, it wasn't enough to stop Eagle guards Ray Lee and Mike Talley. The duo combined for 22 points, seven assists and seven rebounds throughout the contest and kept the offensive pressure on the Falcons throughout the second half.
The Eagles held a comfortable 10-point lead throughout much of the second half, relying on their suffocating 2-3 zone to keep the Falcons from mounting a comeback. But when Talley left the game with five minutes remaining after being fouled hard by Falcon guard Spencer Parker, it seemed another late Eastern Michigan collapse could have been in order.
But while the Eagles went cold in the clutch on Saturday against Ohio, Bryant was able to step up and close the game out on Wednesday. After a 12-minute scoring drought to begin the quarter, GBIII gave Eastern another spark by throwing down a thunderous dunk and skying for his third alley-oop of the day. With an offensive rebound with just under five minutes remaining, Bryant had recorded his second double-double of the season.
The victory marked the second time this season that Eastern has defeated Bowling Green. The Eagles defeated the Falcons 58-51 in Bowling Green earlier this month.
Bowling Green won't have much time to sulk. The Falcon's next three games are all against top-tier MAC teams, as they will take on Buffalo, Toledo and Akron. Eastern Michigan will travel to Oxford on Saturday to take on Miami.