The Eagles broke out to an early 16-2 lead in the first six minutes of the game and never looked back, cruising to the win over the Warriors (5-4) and improving to 6-0 on the 2014-15 campaign. The 6-0 start is the best since the 1996-97 team began their campaign 6-0.
Junior college transfer Brandon Nazione chipped in with a career-high nine points and pulled down a team-best seven rebounds as Eastern controlled the boards by a 47-38 margin.
The majority of the scoring effort was found down low and at the free throw line; the Green and White totaled 30 points in the paint, while going 23-of-32 from the charity stripe (71.9 percent).
After shooting 42.9 percent in the opening half, the Eagles went just 8-of-33 in the second stanza to finish with a 32.8 shooting percentage (20-of-61). EMU turned defense into offense by tallying 24 points off 21 Rochester turnovers.
Rochester was led by forward Milton Cribbs, who notched team highs in points (8), rebounds (12) and assists (2). The Warriors managed just four assists on its 11 field goals, knocking down 22.4 percent of their shots from the floor. RC launched 17 threes, but only two ended up going through the hoop.
The EMU 2-3 zone caused problems for the Warriors right from the start of the contest. After a pair of free throws 28 seconds into the game, Rochester missed its first nine shots from the field, going without a bucket for the first 6:46 of play. The scoring drought allowed the Eagles to go on a 16-0 run to open up a 14-point advantage. An offensive putback by the Warriors broke the dry spell, but Talley responded on the other end of the floor with a three to increase the Eastern lead, 19-5.
The margin expanded progressively throughout the remainder of the first half due to the combination of effective offense and stifling defense. Forcing 13 turnovers led to 14 points on the other side of the court, and Eastern recorded 13 fastbreak points as well. Heading into the locker room, EMU found itself in control of the game, 42-15.
Talley led the Eagles in scoring with 11 first half points off the bench. The senior point guard went 4-of-4 from the floor, including two threes as well as an old-fashioned three-point play. Ward also reached double figures in the first 20 minutes of play with 10 points, and Nazione added nine of his own. As a team, the Green and White shot 42.9 percent from the floor (12-of-28). EMU also made frequent trips to the charity stripe, sinking 14-of-20 in the first half alone.
Rochester struggled figuring out the Eagles' 2-3 zone, and it showed in the tune of going 4-of-27 from the floor for a 14.8 percent clip. Two of the Warriors' four buckets came from three point land, and Rochester earned five of its 15 first half points from the foul line. Six different Warriors found the scoring column, and Cribbs pulled down a team-best seven rebounds.
In the second half, EMU remained in control and built its lead to over 30 points. EMU Head Coach Rob Murphy continued to throw fresh legs out on the court, but the Eastern offense and zone defense remained in sync throughout the game's final 20 minutes.
The Eagles limited Rochester to only one basket in the last 10 minutes of the game. Moreover, RC recorded just three points in the last seven minutes of the game.
Eastern Michigan will wrap up its season-opening seven-game home stand by hosting Marygrove College on Monday, Dec. 1. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. inside the Convocation Center. The contest will be the final home game until Dec. 23 as EMU hits the road for four-straight games over the three-week stretch.