After emotion of senior day wears off, Eastern Michigan basketball rallies for 61-50 win over Ball State
Rob Murphy was part of nine senior day celebrations as an assistant college basketball coach and says those teams at Kent State and Syracuse never got off to a good start on senior day.
There was nothing different in his first senior day as a head coach, but his Eastern Michigan basketball team made up for it with a solid second half and a 61-50 win over Ball State in front of 1,507 Saturday at the Convocation Center.
“It’s hard because there is always a lot of emotion. Guys are crying and they’re excited that their families were here,” Murphy said of his team trailing 22-20 at intermission.
“But we refocused at halftime. We came out and made four straight shots, but I think more importantly we were great defensively in the second half and forced (Ball State) into some turnovers and forced them into some tough shots.”
The Eagles made 7 of their first 11 shots from the floor in the second half, including 3-of-4 from 3-point range, to turn that two-point halftime deficit into a 12-point lead. A 3-pointer by senior Antonio Green made it 37-29 with 12:29 left to play.
Green was one of four seniors - joining Darrell Lampley, Quintin Dailey and Kamil Janton -- honored in a pre-game ceremony.
Overall, the Eagles (13-16, 8-6 MAC West) made 50-percent (10-of-20) of their shots from the floor in the second half to help them hang on to first place in the Mid-American West Division standings with two regular season games remaining.
Related content: Boxscore
Lampley, the Eagles’ point guard, had plenty to do with the team’s efficient shooting numbers. He doled out eight assists, including three well-placed passes to Jamell Harris for alley-oop dunks - the last putting EMU ahead 43-33 with 10:18 to play.
“Lampley all his life has been a scorer, but we’ve been trying to get him to see the floor as a whole and become a pure point guard,” Murphy said. “As the season has gone on, he’s made a concentrated effort to get guys the ball in areas where they can be successful.”
Ball State (13-14, 4-10) would make one second-half run -- pulling within 43-40 on a Tyler Koch 3-pointer with 7:57 left - before the Eagles took control back and wrapped up the win by hitting 10-of-11 free throws in the final 2:05.
EMU was missing starting center Da’shonte Riley, who injured his shoulder in a win over Northern Illinois on Wednesday, but still had a number of players contribute to a balanced scoring effort.
Lampley became first EMU player to reach double figures in scoring with 2:05 remaining in the game. His two free throws made it 54-44 and he’d add two more down the stretch to finish with 13 points, eight assists and five rebounds.
Green made two free throws in the final minute to join Lampley in double figures, then kissed the block E at center court when he and the rest of the seniors left the game with 36 seconds remaining.
J.R. Sims finished with nine points while Harris and Derek Thompson added eight apiece for the Eagles.
Ball State’s Jarrod Jones scored 11 of his game-high 14 points in the second half.