In handing Ohio (11-4, 3-1 MAC) its first MAC loss, 53-49, the Eagles won in Athens for the first time since the 2002-03 season. The defensive battle was close throughout -- on the scoreboard and on the stat sheet. Eastern came out on top in the rebounding battle by a narrow margin, 36-35, while tying the Bobcats with 13 turnovers.
Junior Tim Bond came . . .
As a team, Eastern shot 20-of-50 (40 percent) from the field, including four three-pointers. Ohio, meanwhile, was held to 30.4 percent overall and broke even with the visitors at 25 percent on threes.
Bobcat big man Antonio Carter suffered an injury and played just three minutes in the contest. Freshman Jason Carter stepped in off the bench to score a career- and team-high 14 points and also grabbed 11 rebounds in 28 minutes. Jordan Dartis provided 12 points, while senior forward Kenny Kaminski notched 10 markers.
"Frustrating night to say the least," said Ohio third-year head coach Saul Phillips. "We never got into any type of rhythm offensively. We did find gaps, but we didn't make plays and far too often ended up with a tough play at the end of a possession."
Ohio managed to take a 26-19 lead into the locker room at intermission. Eastern Michigan chipped away and, following some physical play and four technicals after tempers flared, used a 7-0 run to pull even at 37-all with 11:04 remaining. It was the first of several second half ties in the defensive struggle.
Block hit one of two charity tosses at 4:06, but that proved to be Ohio's last point. A Toney layup moved Eastern Michigan in front, 50-49 with 3:33 remaining.
Bond canned a 3-point goal with 10 seconds to go, and Simmons missed a three at the other end.
"We just didn't get a lot of movement going in our offense, and we kinda got a little stagnant and some turnovers killed us," said Block.
The Eagles will host Western Michigan Tuesday. Action from the Convocation Center is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.
Ohio meets Akron Tuesday (7 p.m.) in the first of two road games next week. The Bobcats are at Northern Illinois Saturday.
(Courtesy of EMU/Ohio Athletics/MRO Edit)