Eastern falls apart in home loss

EMU squanders a late lead, as they fell to Missouri State, 57-54, on Bracket Buster Saturday.

Eastern Michigan let a home win slip away as Missouri State rallied from behind in the second half to beat the Eagles', 57-54, on Bracket Buster Saturday.

EMU was up by as many as 13 during the game and had control for most of the time but let MSU go on a 14 point run in the final six minutes of the game to steal the victory. Despite having a chance to get back into the game late free-throw shooting killed the Eagles, shooting only 54 percent from the line.

"They did an excellent job executing and we turned the ball over too much." Assistant coach Kevin Mondro said afterwards. "We didn't hit our free-throws that we needed, but we still had a stretch and chance to win the game. You have to look at the big picture obviously it's disappointing to lose this game but it isn't a MAC game."

EMU led 29-21 at the half, and led for most of the second half but fell apart in defensively late in the game. Eight points were scored off turnovers for Missouri State who forced 16 turnovers in the game.

Senior guard Derek Thompson was put back into the starting lineup after being the six-man for most of the season and led the team in scoring with 19 points, shooting 4-of-6 from three point range. He would fouled out in the final minute of the game.

"It was tough, there was a trap and we didn't make it. Derek to his credit had to stop the clock." Mondro said. "He played a great game and it is good to see him bounce back. But they did a good job of playing to foul and that's just basketball."

Sophomore Antoine Chandler came in for Thompson after fouling out and struggled from the free throw line missing 2 one and one attempts in the final minute of the game that could have gotten the Eagles back into the contest. Chandler had not seen any playing time during the game and hasn't played much this season.

"You never know when your number is going to be called." Mondro said. "It is not the end of the world and next time he needs to make those and he knows that but he didn't lose this game. There were a lot of combinations of plays that just didn't go our way."

"We need to go back and watch what we did against Northern Illinois and it all comes down to these next four games." Mondro said. "A game like this you just eliminate it and just come play Wednesday, it is what it is we lost a game but Wednesday is the key and I think we are more than capable to go through these last four games and do some productive things."

Eastern's next game will be on the road at Northern Illinois who EMU held to an NCAA record low for a first half of four points in their last outing.

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