James Thompson IV and Baylee Steele scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds apiece, as Eastern Michigan used a big second half to run away from Central Michigan, 85-63 in both teams opening MAC game. Eastern moves to 9-5 (1-0 MAC) and Central falls to 10-4 (0-1 MAC).
Ray Lee struggled all night from the floor, going just 1 of 10 from the floor for just two points, but dished out five assists. Willie Mangum IV struggled as well, as he shot just 4 of 16 (1 of 7 from beyond the arc) for just 10 points but the big nights from both Steele and Thompson down low was able to make up for the struggles.
The nation’s leading scorer Marcus Keene led all scorers with 22 points and dished out five assists for CMU. Braylon Rayson added 15 points and Cecil Williams scored eight points and grabbed seven rebounds.
The Chippewas struggled to get out of the gate, as it took eight attempts from beyond the arc before they were able to make a three pointer. With the score 34-30 at halftime, this game looked up for grabs, but Eastern quickly got ahead with an 8-2 run to get up 42-32 and the Eagles kept their lead around double digits before really extending the lead late in the game.
Eastern Michigan was able to make 30 out of 69 shots for a 43.5% clip and Central Michigan made 20 of 61 shots for a 32.8% clip on the night. Both teams struggled from beyond the arc, as Eastern converted on 5 of 20 three pointers for a 25% clip and Central converted on just 7 of 30 threes for a 23.3% clip.
Eastern Michigan was able to force 17 Chippewa turnovers and out rebound CMU, 48-38. Central Michigan was able to grab some offensive rebounds, but Eastern Michigan made the most of their second chance points to grab their first MAC win of the season.
Eastern Michigan will look to build off this win, as they host Buffalo on Saturday, January 7th. Tip is set for 2:30 p.m. and will air on ESPN3.
Central Michigan travels to Dekalb to try and bounce back and get their first win, as they take on Northern Illinois on Saturday, January 7th. Tip is set for 4:30 p.m. and will air on ESPN3.