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Eastern Michigan Eagles vs. Miami RedHawks men's basketball final: Ward's double-double helps EMU win 83-69

Karrington Ward, Mike Talley and Raven Lee all combined for 60 points against Miami.

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Ward with 22, his ankle was okay

Within the first ten minutes, Ward helped the Eastern Michigan Eagles (15-9, 4-7 MAC) get off to an early lead against the Miami RedHawks (8-16, 3-8 MAC) that they would just hang onto for the duration of the game. A first-half, 4-for-5 showing from long range in that short time from Ward was what really got the Eagles going against Miami to grab an early 17-9 lead.

"My ankle isn't 100 percent but it felt good today," Ward said after the game.

That ankle of his has been bothering him on some days, only played four minutes against Ohio on Saturday, but played the most minutes out of anybody in the game with 37.

Ten points and six rebounds in the second half to give Ward 22 and 10 makes for his fifth double-double of the season, his first since the MAC opener against Ball State (Jan. 7).

"That's the Karrington Ward we expect," head coach Rob Murphy said after the game. "

Sloppy play kept Miami in the ball game

"I thought we just made great decisions in the first thirty minutes of the game," Murphy said. "I think being up twenty, you sometimes get lackadaisical and you just take it for granted and end up with a few turnovers, especially against a team that plays as hard as Miami does."

Miami moved to a full-court press nearly five minutes into the game, getting EMU to commit 10 and 12 turnovers in the first and second halves. But getting just enough right passes to knock down timely shots early on helped give EMU the edge, despite the turnovers.

"I thought we just made great decisions in the first 30 minutes of the game. We didn't make those same decisions in the last 10," Murphy said.

The refs blew their whistles a lot

This one just seemed like it was one of those games where any and all physical content between players was foul-worthy. There were a total of 53 personal fouls called today, 28 for Miami and 25 for Eastern Michigan. They even got to call a technical foul against Raven Lee, Willie Moore and the Miami bench late in the first half over an odd loose ball situation.

Both Talley and Lee fouled out within the last four minutes of the ball game.

"Any time you have both of your starting guards on the bench because they committed too many fouls, we knew it was going to be tough," Murphy said. "I give Miami a lot of credit: a team that continues to fight no matter what the situation is."

Looking ahead

This was the first of three straight home games for the Eagles. They'll be home again on Saturday, February 14 to face the Akron Zips at 2:30 p.m., then next Wednesday (18th) against Buffalo at 7 p.m.

As for Miami, they'll face Ohio at home on Saturday afternoon, then will be on the road next week at Bowling Green and at Akron on Wednesday and Saturday evenings at 7 p.m and 7:30 p.m., respectively.

Game Leaders

Player Eastern Michigan Miami
Points Karrington Ward (22) Eric Washington (20)
Rebounds Karrington Ward (10) Will Sullivan (8)
Assists Mike Talley (7) Eric Washington (4)
Blocks Jerome Hunter (1) 2 tied (1)
Steals Raven Lee (4) Geovonie McKnight (2)