CMU connected on a season-best 92.9 percent of its free throw attempts and outrebounded the taller Eagles, 31-28. The Chippewas finished with 15 offensive rebounds in ending their losing streak at three games.
"Really pleased with our team to be able to come off a couple tough losses and not only be able to turn the page and get a win, but win a close game," CMU coach Keno Davis said. "Hopefully the experience we had from our road trip will help us. Obviously, it helped us tonight and hopefully it will help us in the future."
CMU improved to 15-6 overall, 4-4 MAC. EMU has lost four of its last five and is 9-12, 3-5.
The Chippewas are 2-0 in MAC games when outrebounding their opponents and 6-1 when making at least 20 free throws.
HOW IT HAPPENED
CMU took the lead for good, 61-58, on a David DiLeo 3-pointer with 9:51 to play.
Eastern Michigan never let the Chippewas get away, however.
A big Shawn Roundtree Jr. 3-pointer with 2:36 left put the Chippewas up, 80-75. Eastern trimmed its deficit to two, 82-80, with 14 seconds to play. Roundtree then hit two free throws to re-establish the lead to four, 84-80, with eight seconds left.
Eastern's Kevin McAdoo, fouled on a 3-point attempt, went to the line with just over a second to play and made his first two charity tosses to cut it to 84-82. He intentionally missed his third attempt, and DiLeo rebounded, was fouled, and made two free throws to ice it.
DiLeo finished with a team-high 20 points, Roundtree scored 12 of his 15 points in the second half, and Kevin McKay earned his ninth career double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Six of McKay's reboundes came on the offensive end.
Rob Montgomery added 13 and Larry Austin Jr. added 13 points for the Chippewas. Austin also had a team-high seven assists and six rebounds.
Three Broncos reached double figures. David DiLeon led the way with 20 points, followed by Shawn Roundtree with 15 and Kevin McKay at 14 (along with 10 rebounds).
BACK IN THE WIN COLUMN
Effective shooting was critical in knocking off the Eagles, whose starting lineup features three players listed at 6-foot-9 or taller.
"We have great shooters," DiLeo said. "We have confidence in them. I knew eventually shots we were missing in the first half would fall. It was nice to see them fall in the second half."
The win snapped a six-game losing streak to Eastern. CMU's last victory over the Eagles came on Feb. 24, 2015, a 72-56 triumph in Ypsilanti.
HANDLING THE ZONE
The Chippewas were able to solve Eastern's notoriously tough zone defense by employing patience on the offensive end. CMU made 44.6 percent of its field goal attempts overall, including a 10-for-25 clip (40 percent) from 3-point range.
"(The Eagles) don't worry about the back of the zone with lob passes or passes over the top because of their length," Davis said. "It disrupts you so much in some of those passes that for us to be able to pass (the ball) around to get to the corner is so much trouble because of the way they play."