With their victory, the Eagles (10-6, 1-2 MAC) have won five consecutive matchups against CMU (12-4, 1-2 MAC). Eastern also raised its 2017-18 record at the Convocation Center to 8-1.
Redshirt junior Elijah Minnie . . .
Junior James Thompson secured his second consecutive double-double and 11th of the campaign, tallying 17 points on 8-of-9 shooting to go with a team-best 12 rebounds, six of which came on the offensive glass.
Making his first career start, redshirt freshman Ty Groce matched career-highs with 15 points and eight boards. Senior Tim Bond added 10 points off the bench, while leading the Eagles with three thefts.
EMU shot a blistering 53.4 percent from the field, connecting on 31-of-58 field goal attempts, including 7-of-19 tries from beyond the arc. The Eagles out-rebounded Central, 31-28, and grabbed nine steals on 15 CMU turnovers.
Senior Cecil Williams hit 7 of 12 from the field and 9 of 10 at the line on the way to 23 points for CMU. Sophomore guard Kevin McKay didn’t miss, totaling 15 points after hitting all five shots from the field and four from the charity stripe.
Sophomoer David DiLeo and junior Shawn Roundtree each chipped in 10 points.
The two in-state rivals went back and forth in a first half that featured seven ties and six lead changes. Trailing 22-20, a corner three from Groce put the Green and White back on top, 23-22, with 8:16 to go in the opening stanza.
Down by as many as five, EMU fought back and eventually re-captured the lead when Bond inbounded the ball to Minnie for a layup to give the Eagles a 38-36 edge with 14 seconds left in the first frame. However, CMU restored parity on its next possession as the teams took a 38-38 tie into the intermission.
EMU was fired up to begin the second half, as Thompson's heavy two-handed slam capped an 8-0 run to give the Eagles a 46-38 lead with 17:02 left in the second half. After CMU evened the score at 56-56, redshirt junior Jordan Nobles hit a corner three before Eastern freshman Malik Ellison drove to the basket with exactly eight minutes remaining in the contest.
Tied 61-61, Minnie nailed a pair of three-point baskets as part of an 8-2 EMU run that put the Eagles ahead, 69-63, with 3:43 to go in regulation.
Despite the Chippewas trimming Eastern's lead to 74-72, Nobles' hit a mid-range jumper to give the Eagles a four-point cushion with 29 seconds left. CMU then turned the ball over on its next possession, resulting in a two-handed dunk from Minnie that put the outcome beyond any doubt with 20.7 seconds on the clock.
Eastern Michigan hits the road for one game, traveling to MAC West foe Northern Illinois, Saturday (3:30 p.m. CT.). Central is at Ohio (3:30 p.m. ET)