Short-handed men's basketball squad can't keep up with EMU in loss

Detroit grad student Jermaine Jackson Jr. drives against Toledo, Tuesday, Jan. 4, in McGuirk Arena.

Missing head Coach Tony Barbee, assistant coach Shane Heirman and half of a team, Central Michigan men’s basketball continues to be tested by a multitude of reasons.

The Chippewas were hit hard as they continued Mid-American Conference play against Eastern Michigan on Tuesday night. They fell 99-68 to the Eagles. 

This loss drops the Chippewas to 2-12 on the season and 1-2 in the MAC. The Eagles improve to 7-7 and 2-1 in the MAC.

“Our guys put up a fight early and just didn't continue to fight,” said acting head coach Marlon Williamson. “We got to put together 40 minutes that really mean something and have significance and I think that's when our outcome will change.”

The Chippewas were once again without Oscar Lopez Jr. but were also without a handful of players including key guard Brian Taylor due to COVID protocols. Miroslav Stafl is still out due to a knee injury. 

Eastern came out strong taking an early lead but was challenged by the Chippewas as they were slowly shrinking the lead of the Eagles. The Chippewas held on for the first 10 minutes of the half until Cameron Healy took the lead at 14-13 with a 3-point basket.  He had 4 baskets from beyond the arc. 

The lead was taken from the Chippewas quickly as the Eagles took advantage of CMU’s lack of numbers. The Chippewas missed several opportunities at the line to keep themselves in the game throughout the half. They went 8-for-14 from the free throw line. 

The Eagles went on a 12-2 run with 6:00 left in the first half. Although the Chippewas capitalized on their last few scoring opportunities, they were still down by 15 going into the half. 

The second half was run by the Eagles as they were given easy points from the Chippewas, who committed eight of their 15 turnovers in the second half. The Eagles scored a total of 23 points from CMU turnovers. 

The Chippewas found their footing under the basket more in the second half, but they trailed by 25 with 10 minutes remaining. The Eagles did not ease up on CMU, taking advantage of key player Aundre Polk fouling out. Although the Chippewas continued to put up a fight, they fell 99-68. 

Jermaine Jackson Jr. had a game-best of 20 points and went 7-for-8 from the line. Another high scorer for the Chippewas was forward Ralph Bissainthe with 15 points and a game-best of eight rebounds. 

The Eagles' Bryce McBride had a team-best of 16 points. Kevin-David Rice was close behind with 15 points. They both went 100 percent from the free throw line. 

The Chippewas went 60 percent from the free throw line while the Eagles went 81.8 percent.

The Chippewas are back in action at McGuirk Arena on Saturday as they take on the Ohio Bobcats at 4:30 p.m.