Battle of the Birds Set for Tuesday in Bowling Green

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio (EMUEagles.com) – Nearing the midpoint of the Mid-American Conference schedule, the Eastern Michigan University men’s basketball team travels to Bowling Green State University Tuesday, Jan. 25. The contest is scheduled for 7 pm from the Stroh Center.
Eastern (7-10, 2-4 MAC) has dropped three consecutive games following a 46-44 road setback to the University of Akron, Jan. 22. Meanwhile, the Falcons (10-9, 3-5 MAC) used a late 12-2 run to pick up an 82-75 road win at Western Michigan University, Jan. 22.
The game will be broadcast on ESPN+. Fans can also listen to the game on WEMU (89.1 FM) and the Varsity Network app with Tom Helmer and Greg Steiner.

SPREADING THE WEALTH: EMU is one of five MAC teams to have three players ranked inside the league’s top 22 for scoring. The Eagles join Buffalo, Miami, Ohio, and Toledo in accomplishing the feat. Noah Farrakhan is eighth with 16.2 points per game, Monty Scott is 16th at 13.9 pgg, and Bryce McBride ranks 22nd at 12.4 points a contest.

GETTING UP TO SPEED: For the first time since the 2014-15 season, neither Eastern Michigan nor its opponent hit the 50 points plateau in a contest. Akron won a defensive slugfest, 46-44, as Bryce McBride’s last second shot fell short as time expired, Jan. 22.
The occurrence for Eastern was much more memorable, as the Eagles upset Washtenaw County rival, the University of Michigan, 45-42, at the Crisler Center, Dec. 9, 2014.

WE WANT IT MORE!: After leading NCAA Division I basketball the last three weeks, Eastern Michigan now ranks seventh nationally with an average of 76.7 possessions per game. Bowling Green, the Eagles’ upcoming opponent Jan. 25, ranks ninth with 76.1 possessions per contest.
Last season, EMU averaged 71.3 possessions per game, ranking 164th in Division I.

GETTING THE ROTATION BACK: With the national uptick in COVID, combined with usual bumps and bruises from game play, EMU has not had its full rotation of student-athletes dressed for a game in more than 50 days. The last such occurrence was against Northwood, Dec. 5, when 13 players saw action in the 79-57 non-conference victory.

FINDING A RHYTHM: For the first time since the 2011-12 season, Eastern Michigan was unable to reach at least 50 points in back-to-back games. The Green and White managed just 47 points against Kent State, Jan. 18, and followed it up with a season-low 44 at Akron, Jan. 22.
The last time it happened Eastern hung 41 in a victory over Toledo, Jan. 21, 2012, and 47 in a road setback at Buffalo, Jan. 24, 2012. Despite the scoring difficulties that season, Eastern Michigan claimed its only MAC West Division title that year.

A BATTLE OF DEFENSES: Freshman Colin Golson Jr. led Eastern with 14 points in a defensive slugfest at Akron, Jan. 22. Junior Bryce McBride added 10 points in the 46-44 loss to the Zips. EMU held UA to just 34 percent shooting (17-of-15), and forced 10 turnovers. The Eagles shot 36.5 percent in the contest, but hit just 24 percent (6-of-25) of their shots in the second half. The Green and White still had an opportunity to tie or take the lead with six seconds remaining. Unfortunately, McBride’s layup rolled off the rim as time expired.
Furthermore, EMU hero Akron to just 23 first-half points, the second fewest the Zips have posted in a first half this season. UA tallied just 21 points in the opening frame against Appalachian State, Nov. 23. Eastern Michigan’s defense ranks eighth in the Mid-American Conference, allowing 73.5 points per game for its opponents.

BUCKEYE STATE BONANZA: Eastern Michigan gets to know the state of Ohio extremely well over the next few weeks. The Eagles are currently in a stretch of games that features the squad playing seven consecutive contests against teams from the Buckeye State.
Since 1999, Eastern is just 19-79 (.194 winning percentage) in road games against the league’s seven members from the state. EMU has been the most successful at Savage Arena, posting seven wins in 24 tries. Meanwhile, EMU has won just once at Kent State and only twice at Akron and Miami during that span.

YOU ONLY GET ONE SHOT: EMU is averaging 27.2 defensive rebounds per game, which ranks fourth in the Mid-American Conference and 65th nationally. Eastern grabbed 28 defensive boards in its most recent game, at Akron, Jan. 22.

SWAT TEAM: Eastern Michigan currently ranks fourth in the Mid-American Conference in total blocks (63) and blocks per game (3.71). Most recently, Eastern altered six shots at Akron, Jan. 22, tying its season-high previously set against Michigan State (Nov. 20) and Northwood (Dec. 5). EMU is led by freshman Mo Njie, who has 16 total blocks this season. Njie’s 1.1 blocks per game is tied for fifth in the conference.

NEARING RARE AIR: Freshman Noah Farrakhan needs just 40 points to crack the top-10 in freshman scoring at EMU. Calvin Warner currently sits 10th with 267 points in 1998-99.

ALUMS ON THE SIDELINE: Tuesday’s contest will mark a rare occurrence as two alumni of their respective schools square off on the hardwood. EMUs Stan Heath is a 1988 graduate of the school, while Bowling Green’s Michael Huger earned his degree from the school in 1994. Ohio’s Jeff Boals is the only other MAC head coach guiding his alma mater.

ALL-TIME AGAINST THE FALCONS: Tuesday’s game marks the 97th meeting between Eastern Michigan and Bowling Green. BGSU leads the all-time series, 54-42, which dates back to the 1915-16 season. The Falcons are on a five-game winning streak over the Eagles and hold the last 10-game advantage at 7-3.
Since the Stroh Center opened in 2011, Eastern has posted wins in the building just twice (Jan. 8, 2014 – W, 56-56; Jan. 10, 2017 – W, 81-53).

LAST TIME AT BGSU: Eastern Michigan’s last trip to Bowling Green came Jan. 21, 2021, as the Eagles did not venture there last season. Eastern fell to BGSU, 62-59, in the away contest.
Boubacar Toure notched his sixth double-double of the season with 17 points and 13 rebounds. Noah Morgan totaled 16 points, five rebounds, and two steals. EMU posted a strong offensive performance as the Eagles shot nearly 45 percent (22-of-49) from the field compared to BGSU’s 36.5 percent (23-of-63) efficiency. However, Eastern Michigan struggled from the three-point line, ending the game with a 12.5 clip (2-of-16), while the Falcons shot 28.6 percent (8-of-28) from deep.

LAST WIN IN BOWLING GREEN: The last time Eastern Michigan won at the Stroh Center was Jan. 10, 2017, when the team rolled to an 81-53 victory. As a team, the Green and White shot a scorching 58.2 percent from the floor, including a 65.2 clip in the second half. Eastern outrebounded Bowling Green, 42-30, while holding the Falcons to a 33.3 shooting percentage and a 31.6 three-point percentage. Additionally, the Eagles forced 18 BGSU turnovers and picked up 10 steals, while blocking five shots and dishing out 14 assists in the win.
Eastern Michigan’s offense was led by Willie Mangum IV’s 19 points on 5-of-8 shooting with three treys. Mangum also added a perfect 6-for-6 performance from the charity stripe. Both James Thompson IV and Ty Toney added 16 points, respectively. In addition, Thompson grabbed 11 rebounds, posting his ninth double-double of the 2016-17 campaign, while Toney dished out four assists and nabbed two steals. Additionally, Tim Bond posted 14 points, five assists, three rebounds and a block in the Green and White’s dominant victory.

ON THE HORIZON: Eastern Michigan returns home Saturday, Jan. 29 for a matchup with Miami University at the George Gervin GameAbove Center. Game time is set for 3 pm with coverage on ESPN3 and WEMU (89.1 FM).
It is Fan Appreciation Day with fans able to purchase tickets in advance of game day and receive a complimentary concession voucher for a combo meal. Visit EMUEagles.com/tickets or call the EMU Athletics Ticket Office at 734.487.3669 to purchase tickets for just $12 each and grab this exclusive offer.

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