The Eagles (9-5, 1-0 MAC) finished . . .
Additionally, EMU shared the ball, notching 18 assists while dominating in the paint, 32-18, and in second chance points, 24-11. On the defensive side of the ball, the Green and White forced 18 CMU (10-4, 0-1 MAC) turnovers, including 12 steals.
Sophomore Baylee Steele had a career game, finishing with a final stat line of 18 points and 10 rebounds, both of which were career-bests, securing his first double-double since joining Eastern Michigan.
Fellow sophomore James Thompson IV matched Steele's stat line with 18 and 10, including a perfect six-of-six from the free throw line. Redshirt sophomore Jordan Nobles continued his strong streak of games, posting 13 points and nine rebounds. Finally, junior Tim Bond and senior Willie Mangum IV chipped in 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Junior transfer Marcus Kenne led CMU with 22 points, eight under his nation-leading 30.1 ppg. Senior guard Braylon Rayson was the only other Chippewa player in double figures. He connected on 15 points.
Things stood at two apiece in the early goings before a steal and fast break dunk from Thompson IV put EMU ahead, 4-2. Steele kept the momentum rolling with back-to-back dunks, pushing the lead to six and making the score 8-2. The quick start to the game continued with EMU ahead 10-4 at the first media timeout.
Neither team could get much going through the next few minutes, but Mangum IV sparked the Eagles with a deep three to increase EMU's lead back to five, 13-8. A CMU bucket cut the lead to three, and a trey then tied the game at 13 each. The Chippewas continued scoring, taking a 15-13 lead with just under eight minutes left in the half. Shortly after, however, senior Ty Toney drained a three to go ahead 16-15.
Bond came back and converted a tough layup to push the lead back to three, 18-15. After going one-of-two from the line, Mangum IV came back and dropped a jumper on the next possession. With 3:31 remaining in the half, Eastern clung to a three-point lead, 23-20.
Redshirt junior Nick Madray got on the board with four free throws on back-to-back possessions, and Bond followed with a three to make the score 30-24 with just over 1:30 until the break. Following a turnover, Madray drove the lane, sinking a difficult layup with just under 30 seconds. At half, EMU held a four-point lead, 34-30.
Eastern came out quick in the second half, as Nobles hit a three within the first 1:30 of the half to push EMU's lead to eight, 38-30. Steele continued having a big impact, powering his way down low for a layup and shortly after drilling three straight jumpers to make the score 48-38. Nobles extended the lead to 51-38 following his second three of the game, forcing the Chips to call a timeout.
Thompson IV then went to the line, converting both, before CMU came back with a three on the other end to make the score 53-43. Mangum IV responded quickly, however, with a nice floater to keep the lead in double digits. With 11:58 left in the game, Eastern maintained a 10-point lead, 55-45.
Another Thompson IV layup kept the momentum rolling, and the Baton Rouge, La. native followed that up with two more free throws, putting the score at 59-45. Senior Ray Lee then scored his first points of the game, keeping the EMU lead at 14, 61-47. Heading into the final seven minutes of play, the Green and White led 63-50.
Nobles and Thompson IV converted four more free throws, pushing the lead to 17, EMU's biggest lead of the game thus far. Bond then threw down an incredible dunk, taking off from near the free throw line over a few CMU defenders, sparking a quick scoring outburst from EMU. Shortly after Bond's dunk, the EMU lead ballooned to 22, 74-52.
The offensive attack continued with a three-point play from Nobles, putting him at 13 on the day. Steele continued his strong day, sealing his first career with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Eastern maintained their big lead over the final few minutes, as the score stood at 81-61 with just under two minutes to go.
EMU drained the clock over the last two minutes, with redshirt senior Quaran Jones posting his first points of the game on a jumper.
The Eagles continue MAC play at home Saturday with a game against Buffalo following the women's basketball game at noon. Action from the Convocation Center is slated to begin at 2:30 p.m., but may change based on the timing of the women's game.
Central Michigan will again be on the road, meeting Northern Illinois Saturday (4:30 p.m. ET).