Eagles' top in-state rival WMU in OT

EMU men's basketball defeated in-state rival Western Michigan, 50-49, in OT Saturday.

Eastern Michigan played clutch late and came up with a huge win against instate rival Western Michigan in overtime, 50-49, Saturday at the Convocation Center.

A mid-range jumper from EMU junior forward Glenn Bryant sealed the victory for the Eagles' in overtime. Bryant would finish with a game-high 15 points.

After being down by seven with ten minutes remaining in the ball game, the Eagles were able to charge back with a three-point shot from senior guard Derek Thompson to tie the game, 42-42, as they entered over time.

Junior forward Daylen Harrison aggressive play style led to his 50 percent shooting and six rebounds on the night.

"I was really happy with how aggressive he was today," EMU coach Rob Murphy said. "He hasn't been that aggressive in a while and that shows me and our staff that when he makes up his mind. He can be the versatile player we know he can be. He needs to be more aggressive for us to close out. He is such a passive nice kid and I think that off the court that is great but he has such a nice demeanor and when he gets on the court that needs to change. He made a big step today."

The game had 10 lead changes and was tied six times throughout.

"Today was a big win for us, first place team on our side of the conference who came in here with a lot of confidence and we wanted to protect our home court." Murphy said. "We made sure to play extremely hard and send a message to everyone else that the season is not over and we are going to continue to compete to the last game."

The struggles at the free-throw line continued for EMU, both Thompson and junior center Da'Shonte Riley missed two one-and-one free throw chances in overtime that could have padded the lead late. Eastern shot 54.5 percent from the free-throw line, which is the same percentage from the previous home loss against Missouri State.

"J.R hitting his free throws was huge late in the game but it's just a confidence thing." Murphy said. "I told our guys miss or make the most important thing is going back and getting a stops. We had the lead, we didn't need those free-throws to take the lead we just needed them to stretch the lead out, and as long as we had the lead, the emphasis is always going to be to play defense and get a rebounds."

The Eagles were able to deny the Broncos a chance to clinch a MAC West division championship. EMU had won the previous west division title last season and to defend their title they will need to win out in their last two games and for Western to lose their last two.

"In our minds we are still playing for a MAC title, it is our championship until someone takes it and although they have a lead on us, I will never give that up." Murphy said.


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