Powered behind six three-pointers in the second half, EMU secured its third victory of the season in its second game of the EMU Showcase.
After a slow start in the first half, Karrington Ward was the catalyst for the Eagle offense in the second 20 minutes of action. He notched 14 of his 19 points in the period, while Anali Okoloji scored a career-best 16 points. Redshirt-sophomore Raven Lee matched Okoloji's 16 points to put three Eagles in double-digit scoring. Ward recorded the sixth double-double of his career and his second of the 2014-15 campaign, pulling down a game-best 11 rebounds while Jodan Price grabbed seven for the Green and White.
EMU shot 38.5 percent from the floor while also making eight three-pointers and going 20-for-30 on free throws in the contest.
The Eagles dominated the boards, outrebounding YSU 47-26 while also scoring 15 points off of second chance opportunities and adding 16 bench points.
The Eagles got off to a hot start offensively, scoring 13 quick points to take the early advantage heading into the first timeout of the half.
Despite the Green and White's effort to increase its advantage, the Penguins kept the contest close and tied the score at 20-20 on a fastbreak layup with 9:26 left in the first half and took the one-point advantage on the free throw following the layup.
Neither team could pull away, and the contest was tied on six different occasions with just four minutes remaining in the first half. Eastern Michigan cut Youngstown’s lead to two on a Lee fastbreak layup, before Ward knotted the score at 33-33 with less than a minute remaining in the half. After a missed three-pointer from Marcus Keene, the teams entered the locker room tied at the half.
Lee led the Eagle offense in the first half, dropping 12 points on the Penguins, while Ward added five points after a slow start.
On the defensive side of the ball, Olalekan Ajayi and Ward pulled down a team-best four boards, while Price added three.
Eastern and Youngstown State shot a matching 40.0 percent from the floor as EMU went 10-for-25 and the Penguins made 12-of-30 shots. However, The Green and White dominated second chance opportunities in the first half, notching 10 put-back points while YSU did not score any. Eastern was also able to overpower the Penguins inside, scoring 14 points in the paint compared to Youngstown's 10 and also outrebounded YSU 22-12.
YSU did not see any of its players hit double-digit scoring in the first half but rather spread the wealth among three players with five points apiece while Hain led the team with six.
The Penguins struggled on the boards, with four of their 12 rebounds being credited to the team. Youngstown State took care of the ball in the first half, committing just four turnovers, while the Eagles had seven miscues that allowed YSU to score six points.
The Green and White attempted to pull away, making back-to-back baskets to take the five-point lead. However, a trey from Plummer brought the contest back to a two-point game. The Eagles suffered a three-minute scoring drought in which YSU notched six points to take its first lead since the opening play of the half.
After the second media timeout of the half, EMU found a rhythm when Mike Talley drained both of his free throws and Ward swished a three on the next trip down the court to take a 53-50 advantage.
Ward matched the Eagles' biggest lead of the half when he drained a jump shot with 5:59 remaining to play, but the Penguins offense answered right back with a three-pointer to bring the score to 60-57 in favor of the Green and White.
An Ajayi steal put the ball back into the Eagles' hands before two free throws from Okoloji ended a two-minute scoring drought and extended the Eagles lead to 62-57. Again, YSU scored on its next trip down the court off a Hain jumper in the paint to cut the EMU lead to three.
With time dwindling on the clock and the Eagles leading by just three points, head coach Rob Murphy called for his team to slow its offense down to preserve the narrow advantage. After draining some time off the shot clock, Okoloji nailed a three from the right side of the arc off a pass from Lee to extend the Green and White lead to 65-59 with 1:05 left.
On the Penguins next trip down the floor, Keene missed a three-pointer, forcing him to foul Lee. Lee converted on both of his free throws to match the Eagles' biggest lead of the entire contest.
A turnover by Youngstown State forced a second-straight foul by the Penguins, and Ward made one-of-two free throws to give EMU its largest lead of the contest.
YSU did not give in despite trailing by nine as Shawn Amiker notched a three, but two-straight fouls on Ward, in which he made three shots from the charity stripe, put the game away for the Eagles.
The Eagles will be back in action Saturday, Nov. 22 for their third game of the EMU Showcase when they take on UNC Greensboro in a 7 p.m. contest at the Convocation Center.