EMU Men’s Basketball Knocks Off Oakland, 95-89

By Published: 12/7/2017 6:39:06 AM Custom Tag

Jackson, Minnie and Thompson each netted 24 points in the victory

Courtesy: Eastern Michigan Athletics

YPSILANTI, Mich. (EMUEagles.com) – The Eastern Michigan University men's basketball team remained perfect this season within the friendly confines of the Convocation Center, defeating Oakland University, 95-89, Wednesday, Dec. 6.

The Eagles (6-2) look to sweep a rare regular season home-and-home series when they travel to Rochester, Mich. Friday, Dec. 22 to face the Golden Grizzlies (5-4).

Three Eagles eclipsed the 20-point plateau. Redshirt junior Paul Jackson (Stone Mountain, Ga.-Martin Luther King Jr. (Eastern Kentucky)) tallied a career-high 24 points while contributing a team-best six assists and three steals. Junior James Thompson IV (Baton Rouge, La.-Parkview Baptist) earned his seventh double-double in eight starts, logging 24 points on 11-of-11 shooting, while pulling down 12 rebounds and posting a team-high four blocks. Redshirt junior Elijah Minnie (Pittsburgh, Pa.-Lincoln Park (Robert Morris)) broke the 20-point mark for the fifth time this season, registering 24 points and 12 rebounds for his second consecutive double-double.

EMU had its best offensive performance against a Division I opponent this season, shooting 56.5 percent from the field on 35-of-62 shooting, including a remarkable 64.3 percent (18-for-28) in the second half. The Eagles were also the superior team defensively, out-rebounding the Golden Grizzlies, 43-35 and forcing 12 steals.

The Eagles were in complete control to begin the contest, as Jackson scored seven of his 20 first-half points as part of an 8-0 run lasting nearly four minutes. At the other end, the Golden Grizzlies struggled out of the gate, missing their first eight field goal attempts before Oakland senior Martez Walker connected on a corner three 5:15 into the contest to cut EMU's advantage to 10-6.

Down 42-35 in the waning moments of the first half, the Eagles got back to within one possession when Jackson hit back-to-back jumpers, prompting Oakland head coach Greg Kampe to use a timeout with 37.6 seconds left in the first period. After the Golden Grizzlies made a three-pointer, Jackson responded in-kind with four seconds remaining in the half as the Eagles took a 45-42 deficit into the locker room.

Oakland led by as many as five early in the second half, but the Eagles fought back with an 11-4 run capped by a two-hand slam from Thompson to grab a 57-55 lead with 14:01 left in regulation. The Golden Grizzlies responded with a dunk of their own, but back-to-back field goals from Thompson and Jackson gave the Eagles a 61-57 advantage with 12:55 to go in the second stanza.

Leading 63-62, Minnie's corner triple concluded a 7-0 run and the Eagles opened up a 70-62 lead with 9:32 left in the final frame. In total, the Eagles used a 12-4 run to take a commanding 75-66 lead heading into a media stoppage with 7:47 left in the second half.

After EMU called a timeout leading 77-74 with 5:38 to go in the second half, another three-pointer from Minnie gave the Green and White a six-point cushion. Holding on to an 82-79 advantage with under four minutes on the clock, the Eagles looked to slow down the contest. The tactic paid off as EMU scored six unanswered points, including a corner three from redshirt freshman Ty Groce (Ypsilanti, Mich.-Lincoln), to build an 88-79 lead with 1:17 remaining. The Eagles used free throws the rest of the way to close out a 92-85 victory and beat Oakland for the first time since Nov. 17, 2014.

Eastern Michigan returns to the Convocation Center to conclude its two-game home stretch for a match-up against head coach Rob Murphy's Alma Mater, NCAA Division II's Central State, Saturday, Dec. 9 at 2 p.m.

Published: 12/7/2017 6:39:06 AM Custom Tag