Eastern Michigan's 2-3 Zone Grounds Toledo in 65-44 Win

Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

The conference's highest-scoring offense could only manage 44 points on Saturday in Ypsilanti, and Eastern Michigan won its third straight.

In a matchup between the conference's top offense and its top defense, it was Eastern Michigan's vaunted 2-3 zone that prevailed in the Eagles' 65-44 victory over Toledo Saturday afternoon in the Convocation Center in Ypsilanti.

Facing a team in Toledo (21-4, 9-3 MAC) that hadn't scored less than 71 points all season, Eastern Michigan (15-10, 7-5 MAC) held the MAC's highest-scoring team to just 25 percent shooting for the contest. Mike Talley and Karrington Ward led the Eagles with 13 points apiece, and Da'Shonte Riley added 6 points, 8 rebounds and 7 blocks.

Though not known for their offensive output, Eastern Michigan came out ice cold to begin the game. The Rockets took advantage, working the ball inside to Pierson and  Garber to get to the foul line. Toledo used a 9-0 run to take a five-point lead.

But as the game  was Eastern's top-ranked defense that set the pace for the rest of the first half, a period that saw only 48 points combined between the two teams. The Eagle's zone bothered the Rockets, forcing them to shoot just 24 percent from the field. For a seven-minute span, the Rockets failed to record a field goal and allowed Eagles to build their own 9-0 run. Two back-to-back threes from Mike Talley and Karrington Ward helped give Eastern a four-point halftime lead.

It was more of the same in the second half, as both teams struggled to put points on the board. Through the first media timeout, each team had managed to scored only two points. The Eagles wouldn't record a field goal until five minutes into the half, and it would take the Rockets an additional two minutes to make their first.

When Toledo was able to get the ball inside to big men J.D. Weatherspoon and Justin Drummond, it likely didn't end well. The duo combined for just six points and seven rebounds on the afternoon. To make matters worse, the Rockets could not find their rhythm from behind the arc, and shot just 28 percent from three.

Even when Toledo was making deep shots, Eastern Michigan found a way to swing the momentum back in their favor. After Jonathon Williams hit a 3 pointer to cut the Eagle lead to seven with five minutes remaining, senior guard J.R. Sims responded with a transition layup, a steal and an assist to Glenn Bryant who took the house down with a thunderous dunk.

With the victory, Eastern Michigan pulls within two games of Toledo for the top spot in the conference. If Buffalo defeats Ohio at home or if Akron can knock off NIU, the Rockets will find themselves in a tie for first.

Eastern Michigan will return to action Wednesday when they travel to DeKalb to take on Northern Illinois. Also on Wednesday, Toledo will travel to take on rival Bowling Green.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Hustle Belt

You must be a member of Hustle Belt to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Hustle Belt. You should read them.

Join Hustle Belt

You must be a member of Hustle Belt to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Hustle Belt. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9341_tracker