The Eastern Michigan Eagles have started off this season with an impressive record (8-3) against a questionable schedule. Tonight they took on a 10-2 Syracuse squad in Carrier Dome in a litmus test type game.
Early in the first half, Syracuse was content to chuck up threes that the Eagles were conceding. Most clanked off the rim in ugly fashion. At the 7 minute mark, they were 1-9, with the one forcefully rattling through.
EMU struggled to figure out the 2-3 zone of Syracuse, but the effort of James Thompson IV not only kept the Eagles in it, they led most of the first half.
The Orange kept things close from the free throw line, then took 21-18 lead with a three from Frank Howard. After an impressive drive to the basket from Paul Jackson, it looked like the Orange extended the lead to 24-20 at the 3:55 t.v. timeout, but a review showed that Tyus Battle didn’t get the shot off in time.
An exchange of circus shots by Paschal Chukwu and Tim Bond put the score at 23-22. After yet another free throw by the Orange, they had a two point lead and the ball with 36 seconds left and took a timeout.
Battle settled for a long three and after a scramble for the ball, EMU found themselves with the ball. A long Tim Bond three didn’t go, but Elijah Minnie was able to tip it in and the score was tied 24-24.
Syracuse was not pleasant to watch on offense, but did hit 13-15 from the line. Both teams struggled from deep, with combining to go 4-21. The Eagles held the rebounding edge 19-16.
James Thompson IV led the Eagles with 8 points and 5 rebounds.
After getting their first four points from the line in very Syracuse fashion, they then hit a layup and 3 pointer to force Rob Murphy to call a timeout, down 33-26. Tim Bond made an impressive dunk before a boring minute of basketball.
EMU then started playing solid basketball, but Tyus Battle broke out of his slump and the Eagles found themselves down 41-32. Minnie made a couple of nice buckets to keep the Eagles in it, and a James Thompson IV rebound and put back made it a 5 point game at the 11 minute media timeout. A Terry Harris knocked down a three to make it 43-41 with 10:28 to play.
Chukwu put Syracuse up by a little more, then a run by Battle put them up by a lot. This game was a lot like watching a heavy weight boxing match from aging greats. The two slowly traded punches for most of the game until an exciting late flurry finished one off in grand fashion. While I wouldn’t exactly call it exciting, the game was much closer than the 62-47 final score.
Chukwu was a key of the game. He came into the game shooting under 50% from the line. He finished this game 9-11. He ended with 15 points and 12 rebounds. Battle came out of his shooting slump and finished with 22 to lead all scorers.
Minnie led the Eagles with 13 points, and Thompson had a solid game with 12 points and 9 rebounds.
The two teams traded rebounds all night, but like the final score, Syracuse pulled away late and led 38-30. The Orange finished 20-26 from the line. EMU was 4-6.
The Eagles head back to Ypsilanti to take on Rochester.