Eastern Michigan Closes Out Its Non-Conference Season With 92-54 Stomping of Rochester

Karrington Ward has been a stud for the Eagles so far in his debut season. - Sandra Dukes-USA TODAY Sports

Karrington Ward and the eagles soared out to an early lead Saturday afternoon, and never looked back.

The Eastern Michigan Eagles (8-5) won their final scheduled non-conference game of the 2013-14 season, defeating the Rochester College Warriors (5-6) 92-54 Saturday afternoon at the Convocation Center in Ypsilanti, Mich.. The Eagles hit the first basket of the game and never trailed, steadily pulling away from their overmatched Division III opponent. Rochester narrowed the lead to 16-14 at the 13:08 mark of the first half, and missed 3-point shots for the lead on two ensuing possessions. Daylen Harrison made a layup for an 18-14 lead for Eastern Michigan, who struggled to score early, but held the Warriors scoreless for over 5 minutes as they began to pull away.



The Eagles’ leading scorer, forward Karrington Ward, matched his season average with 14 points on 6 of 9 shooting from the field. It was an encouraging return to form for Ward, who had scored below his season average in each of the past four games. The balanced scoring attack today included four other players in double figures, including guards Darell Combs and Ray Lee and forwards Daylen Harrison and Glenn Bryant. The Eagles were also able to parlay their comfortable lead into double-digit minutes for six players off the bench.

Eastern Michigan held Rochester to 34 percent shooting from the field. The Eagles came into action today leading the MAC in field goal defense, holding opponents to an average of 38 percent. This is especially impressive given the rigorous opponents Eastern Michigan has faced over the past month, including Kentucky, Duke, and Syracuse.

Rochester was led by guard Stavros Schizas, who collected 15 points and 5 rebounds to lead the Warriors in both categories. Two of Rochester’s leading scorers on the season – guard Tyler Seidman and forward Tyler Sankes – did not appear in today’s game. No injuries or disciplinary actions were announced to explain their absences.

The Eagles have struggled on the glass so far in the 2013-14 campaign, coming in last in the MAC with an average rebounding margin of -5.8 rebounds per game. They reversed that trend today, out-rebounding the Warriors 43 to 25. Center Da’Shonte Riley scored 6 points and collected 14 rebounds.

Eastern Michigan begins MAC league play with road tests at Bowling Green on January 8th and at Buffalo on January 11th. Their reward for the tough road start is a subsequent return home, where they are 7-1 this year, for four of the next five games, including home dates with MAC leaders Akron, Western Michigan, and Ohio.

The Eagles have played the 17th toughest schedule in the country according to ESPN.com, and carry an impressive RPI ranking of 65, second in the MAC only to Toledo at 44. These next two weeks will tell whether EMU benefitted from playing – and losing to – several of the nation’s top teams, and whether their young talent can come together to forge a run in MAC conference play.

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