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2016-17 MAC Men’s Basketball Recap: Eastern Michigan Eagles vs. Miami RedHawks

EMU gets its first win in Millett Hall since 1995-96 season in a 74-67 victory.

Kenneth Bailey

The Eastern Michigan Eagles got the win that they desperately needed as they cruised to a 74-57 victory on the road against the Miami RedHawks. James Thompson IV had a monster night for Eastern Michigan (13-8, 5-3 MAC) as he had 26 points off of 12-18 shooting and 20 rebounds as the team dominated the glass from start to finish.

Meanwhile, Miami (9-12, 2-6 MAC) struggled mightily as freshman phenom Michael Weathers went 1-8 shooting with five assists and nine turnovers, but brother Marcus stepped up with 14 points and eight boards. Logan McClane led the team with 16 points off of 6-13 from the field.

The Eagles had their way early in the first half with an 11-2 advantage at the 13:58 remaining Thompson pitching in with six points during the stretch. The ‘Hawks had no answer for EMU’s red-hot offense as it shot 51.9% from the field in the half on its way to a 42-27 halftime lead. The Red and White certainly didn’t help their case with 11 turnovers in the first 20 minutes as mustering any kind of offense against Eastern Michigan proved to be difficult.

EMU continued to punish the Miami defense in the second half as a Thompson tip-in pushed the lead to 47-27 with 18:14 remaining in regulation. The RedHawks never threatened as Eastern Michigan coasted to its first win in Oxford since the 1995-96 season. Somehow, the offense for Miami got worse after halftime as the team shot 31.4% from the floor while it was crushed on the boards by the Eagles 28-16 in the half.

For Eastern Michigan, it is now tied with the Ball State Cardinals and the Northern Illinois Huskies atop of the MAC West and is three games back of the Akron Zips for the league’s best record. The Eagles are a team that presents a lot of problems on both ends of the court and could very well be a dark horse candidate to win it all in Cleveland.

On the other hand, the once-proud program at Miami falls deeper into the abyss with no clear answer in sight. The team has some nice pieces, but the lack of consistency and direction has brought the RedHawks to where they are now. Despite the feelings of hopelessness and despair that any fan of the program must feel, it’s hard to see how anything will change between now and the end of the season.

Eastern Michigan hosts the Kent State Golden Flashes Tuesday at 7 p.m while Miami packs its bags for a showdown with the Bowling Green Falcons at that same time.