YPSILANTI, Mich. (EMUEagles.com) – Eastern Michigan wrapped up its non-conference slate with an 88-53 victory over Concordia University-Ann Arbor Monday inside the Convocation Center.
The Eagles (10-3) shot the lights out during the opening frame, setting a season-high for points in a single half with 52 on the strength of a 61.8 field-goal percentage against the NAIA Cardinals (5-10).
Redshirt senior Boubacar Toure was among four Eagles to reach double-digits in points, leading the team with 14 points on 7-of-9 shooting, while adding two boards, an assist, a block and a steal. Meanwhile, junior Thomas Binelli added 12 points off the bench, going 4-of-8 from beyond the arc and setting career-highs in minutes (20) and rebounds (5).
From there, redshirt junior Ty Groce tallied 11 points, and led the Green and White with nine boards, four steals, and a career-high five assists. Fellow redshirt junior Chris Barnes hit double-digits for the first time since taking on UC Irvine exactly one month ago, Nov. 30, as he also showed 11 points and recorded one swipe.
In total, the Eagles finished 51.5 percent (35-of-68) from the field, while Concordia ended the afternoon at a 36.5 percent (19-of-52) efficiency. EMU dominated its NAIA opposition in multiple categories, including points in the paint (46-12), steals (18-3), points off turnovers (33-7), and assists (20-9).
A corner three from junior Noah Morgan opened the scoring 21 seconds into the contest, as the Eagles went on to establish a commanding 12-0 lead prior to the four-minute mark. With the Green and White in front by a 17-8 margin, Binelli made a pair of triples as part of a 14-0 EMU run that built a 31-8 cushion with 9:46 to go in the first half.
The Eagles made quick work of their Washtenaw County counterparts, at one stage going on a 23-4 run to open up a 40-12 advantage with 5:38 to go in the first period. Morgan and Binelli went on to hit back-to-back triples to make it 55-22 with 1:57 remaining in the opening frame.
EMU continued to pour it on in the second stanza, scoring eight of the first 10 points of the half to seize a 60-26 lead with 15:27 on the clock. In front by as many as 42 before the halfway point of the second half, the Eagles emptied their bench as they closed out their nonconference slate. After getting on the board with his first layup of the game, redshirt sophomore Derek Ballard Jr. followed up another Binelli triple with a corner three of his own to extend the lead to 88-48 with 1:46 to go.
Eastern Michigan will begin the New Year with its first Mid-American Conference game of the 2019-20 season, as the Eagles host the University of Akron Saturday, Jan. 4 for a noon tipoff inside the Convocation Center.
Editor-Publisher Mike Smith
Mike grew up in Mid-American Conference football and basketball territory and returned there after military service. He has been covering MAC football and men's basketball for much of the last several decades.