Free throw disparity proved to be a big difference in the contest as Dayton went to the line 44 times compared to just 17 for the Green and White. UD knocked down 26-of-44 freebies, while EMU connected on 13-of-17 from the charity stripe. Two Eagles fouled out of the contest, while three more committed four fouls throughout the 40 minutes.
As a team, the Green and White shot 37.3 percent (22-of-59) from the field, including 7-of-26 from beyond the arc. Jodan Price hit three of those triples, all in the second half, to provide a spark to the Eastern offense. EMU forced 11 Dayton turnovers, converting the miscues into 12 points. The Eagles themselves took exceptional care of the basketball by only turning it over on six occasions.
Dayton had four players in double figures, led by Kendall Pollard with 16 points and a team-best nine boards off the bench. Dyshawn Pierre and Jordan Sibert each scored 15, and Scoochie Smith notched 10 points while pulling down eight rebounds and dishing out five assists. The Flyers hit 45.7 percent of their field goals (21-of-46), knocking down five threes in the process. UD held a 42-30 advantage on the boards, turning 10 offensive rebounds into 14 second chance points.
Both teams came up empty on their opening possessions before finding ways to score. Eastern found two buckets down low, and Ward drilled a jumper with his foot on the three-point line. With EMU holding a one-point advantage, the Flyers nailed back-to-to-back triples to flip the game in their favor, 11-6. However, the momentum shift did not affect the Eagles as Head Coach Rob Murphy's squad held the Flyers scoreless for four minutes while scoring six straight points to regain the lead, 12-11, with 11:49 remaining in the first half.
At the 7:18 mark, UD held a two-point lead, 16-14, thanks to shooting 6-of-17 through that point compared to a 5-of-17 mark for Eastern Michigan. The Eagles tried to rely on the long ball early on, but missed their first nine attempts from beyond the arc.
After going over six minutes without a bucket, EMU cut a four-point lead in half with a jumper in the paint by Lee. EMU kept the game within striking distance with its zone defense, causing another UD field goal field goal drought. Trailing by three, Ward hit a triple-try to end Eastern's woes from long range, drawing the foul in the process. The senior wingman converted the rare four-point play to give his team a 20-19 advantage with 3:59 left in the opening 20 minutes.
Dayton regained the lead, and a corner three by Price bounced off the iron to keep the Flyers in front, 28-26, at the half.
EMU shot 9-of-28 (36.4 percent) from the floor in the opening half, going just 1-of-12 from three-point range. However, the Eagles were successful from the charity stripe, sinking 7-of-8 attempts. Lee led all scorers with 10 first half points, while Talley and Ward added six points apiece.
UD shot 36.4 percent in the first half on 8-of-22 from the field. The Flyers controlled the boards, 22-13, while also making frequent trips to the foul line. Dayton made 9-of-16 free throws as six different Flyers converted from the stripe. Despite strong defense on both sides of the court, both teams took care of the basketball with Dayton committing five turnovers and EMU just a pair.
Coming out for the start of the second half, Dayton went on a quick 9-2 run to open up a nine-point cushion, 37-28, prompting Murphy to call timeout. Another UD bucket brought the difference to double digits for the first time in the contest, but it didn't last long.
After the Flyers increased their lead back to 11, Lee kept the Eagles in the contest with consecutive threes, along with a nifty up-and-under fastbreak layup. The redshirt-sophomore's own 8-0 run brought the game back to within a single basket, 50-47, forcing UD to talk things over with 10:01 left. Following a Dayton bucket in the post, the Eastern guard added a pair of free throws.
Following Lee's impressive offensive output, Price drilled back-to-back threes, and Lee added a free throw to tie the game, 56-56, with 5:50 to go. With the game at a standoff, Dayton produced a 9-0 run over four minutes to pull away. Eastern Michigan continued to fight back in the closing minutes, but the Flyers ended the contest on a 17-8 run to give EMU its first loss of the season, 73-64.
The Eagles' tough stretch of competition continues, Dec. 9, with a primetime battle on national television. The Green and White will make its shortest road trip of the season, remaining in Washtenaw County and traveling to Ann Arbor, Mich. to face the University of Michigan Wolverines. The game is set to tip at 9 p.m. from the Crisler Center and will be broadcast on ESPNU.