Just days after suffering one of its worst losses in recent history – U-M suffered another big blow – this time to its cross town rival Eastern Michigan, as EMU beat Michigan, 45-42, Tuesday night at Crisler Center.
EMU (9-1) controlled most of the game with its 2-3 zone, using their speed and length in disrupting U-M offense. The Eagles zone would hold Michigan(6-3) to 32.6 percent on 14-of-43 shots from the floor.
“Any time you can come in here and get a victory, it’s always good,” Eastern Michigan coach Rob Murphy said, after EMU’s first win at Michigan since beating the Wolverines 89-83 in OT on Dec. 17, 1997.
“We were able to hit some shots down the stretch,” Murphy said. “Our defense never wavered. I give a lot of credit to my guys and our coaching staff for tireless working everyday to put our program in position to compete in a venue like this.”
Jodan Price’s jumper put the Eagles up 45-42 with 1:45 remaining. After Brandon Nazione missed a front end free-throw, U-M nearly turned the ball over before its last possession.
But it would be for not, as Zak Irvin would miss a mid-court desperation three with 1.3 seconds left that could have tied the game at-45.
“Obviously this is a non-conference game,” Murphy said. “Anytime you beat Michigan on their home floor – it’s a huge deal for your program.”
But Eastern’s 2-3 zone was Michigan’s demise in the end, forcing the Wolverines to commit 13 turnovers along with multiple bad possessions.
“We just didn’t have enough answers for it,” U-M coach Michigan coach John Beilein said, later adding: “When we did get open shots, which was rarely. We didn’t make enough of those.”
On Saturday, Michigan made national headlines when they lost 72-70 to little known NJIT. This time, however, the feeling is a little different.
“They are really down now,” Beilein said. “Now they are really down. Because it’s a local team. They are a really down. But we can’t stay down. Just got to move forward. We got a long trip to Arizona. We’re playing a tremendous team. Just bounce back, and keep trying to do it.”
Michigan led 21-19 at the half, and led 10-2 in the opening five minutes. U-M shot 6-of-19 from three-point range.
The Wolverines next travel to No. 3 Arizona this Saturday.