The matchup between the men’s basketball team and Eastern Michigan Tuesday night was one of a team that wanted a high-scoring game against one that wanted a low-scoring game.
The Eagles wanted the low-scoring affair and got it for the 58-52 to win over the Chippewas.
A full-court pressure employed for most of the game by CMU did not cause EMU to flinch as the Chippewas only had seven points off turnovers. The Eagles might have made them flinch, blocking 11 shots and getting out into transition.
“We didn’t respond well tonight. It’s something we have to live with,” said head coach Keno Davis. “I credit Eastern Michigan with disrupting us with what their size, with their zone, with the way the game was called.”
EMU was ranked first in the Mid-American Conference in points allowed, giving up 61.9, and last in points per game with 57.1.
Senior forward Olivier Mbaigoto was the lone bright spot, despite being matched up against 7-foot Da’Shonte Riley, a transfer from Syracuse.
Unfazed, Mbaigoto scored a game-high 18 points, going 8-of-15 from the field and grabbing 14 rebounds.
“I credit certain guys stepping up,” Davis said. “Mbaigoto was really able to be a bright spot for us offensively and rebounding.”
CMU could not get its deficit under double-digits until it was too late with less than a minute left.
Senior Kyle Randall scored in transition, using the glass, to bring it within 10 points with 5:45 in the second half.
“It was always a 10-point game,” Davis said. “You felt like if one play goes your way now, it’s four or five points, and it’s a ball game down the stretch. But, for one reason or another, we weren’t in there.”
EMU used the three-point line in the first half to give them breathing room in the second.
Derek Thompson hit a shot from a couple feet from beyond the arc that gave the Eagles a 26-17 lead with 3:36 until halftime.
The Eagles were five of six from the three-point line in the first half and six of 11 for the game.
The Chippewas will look to snap their two-game losing streak at 7 p.m. Saturday when they host Ball State following the women’s basketball game against Northern Illinois set to tip-off at 2 p.m.