After a messy first half for both teams, Eastern Michigan (15-13, 7-8 MAC) came away with a 73-62 win at home over rivaled Western Michigan (11-17, 5-10 MAC). Willie Mangum helped EMU out with the 3-point shooting and Thomas Wilder's really bad night helped make things even easier for the Eagles.
After The Eagles committed eight turnovers, the Broncos took an early 13-8 lead, but EMU would quickly flip the script on them. A transition 3-pointer from Mangum and another deep ball from Brandon Nazione would give the Eagles a 21-17 lead five minutes later.
Before picking up his first points on free throws, Thomas Wilder missed his first three field goals and had five turnovers, mostly from traveling calls. For the most part, Wilder was a non-factor. Unlike last time when he put up 35 points and 10 rebounds, he was limited in his shot attempts and inefficient in his shooting. Only 10 points to his name, going 2-for-9 from the floor with six free throws and caused nine turnovers.
"When we're not in the bonus, we can really be aggressive," Rob Murphy said after the game talking about how EMU's defense may have gotten the best of Wilder's game early on. "He's a very good basketball player, but I give our team a lot of credit for holding him in check and not give him any easy looks."
The Eagles were only 2-for-7 from deep in the first half, but Mangum would pull up with three triples in the second to give EMU a 48-43 lead. Broncos turnovers would continue to help EMU out there with Tim Bond following that up with a transition dunk and a put-back layup off of a pair of steals. "I told my guys to dial in, stay confident, continue to play hard," Murphy said, "we continued to play defense, made some key shots... Willie hit a big three and Ray Lee got it going for us."
Mangum's second-half shooting helped him lead the Eagles with 16 total points, making six of his 11 shots (4-for-6 from deep) as Thompson would have eight second half points to have 14 for the night.
It seemed like WMU's scoring int he paint in the first half (18) would keep them in this, but EMU would out-work them down low for the following 20 minutes (20 EMU, 10 WMU) in their runs. Again, a lot of that came from transition points off of turnovers. With Wilder's nine, the Broncos had 16 total turnovers which the Eagles were able to get 19 points off of.