YPSILANTI, MI (EMUEagles.com) Sophomore guard Derek Thompson connected on a three-point field goal from deep on the right baseline with just 2.8 seconds remaining to break a 60-all tie and give the Eastern Michigan University men's basketball team a 63-60 win over a visiting Jacksonville State University team Saturday afternoon in a Sears BracketBuster game in the Convocation Center.
EASTERN MICHIGAN 63, JACKSONVILLE STATE 60
LONE BASKET LOOMED LARGE
The three was Thompson's lone basket of the game and gave him redemption for a three-pointer that he made against Miami, Feb. 5, that would have won the game for the Eagles but was eventually ruled to be after the final buzzer as Miami escaped with the 58-56 victory.
The Eagles controlled much of the game until the Gamecocks came back to tie the contest at 54 with just over two minutes to play. Timely free throw shooting from Bowdry and the clutch three from Thompson proved to be the difference.
Senior forward Brandon Bowdry recorded the 36th double-double of his career with 28 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Eagles, now 8-18 overall. Junior guard Antonio Green added 15 points for the Eagles.
Jacksonville State, now 5-24 overall, had three players in double figures, with Stephen Hall scoring 15, Nick Murphy 11 and Brian Williams 10.
Overall, the Eagles went 22-of-48 (45.8 percent) from the field and 6-of-18 (33.3 percent) from three-point land. They also out-rebounded JSU, 36-26.
STRUGGLES AT THE LINE
Both teams struggled at the free throw line, with the Eagles going 13-of-28 (46.4 percent) and JSU shooting 13-of-25 (52 percent) from the line.
The Eagles started the game on a 12-4 run after eight minutes. Green contributed five of those points with a three-ball and a layup. Strong EMU rebounding and eight consecutive points from Bowdry maintained the eight-point spread, 20-12, with 6:26 to play.
Jacksonville State made several critical defensive stops down the stretch in the first half and cut the EMU lead to 23-20 with 3:04 remaining. Leventrice Gray made a layup and the resulting free throw following a foul by Kenny Stewart.
Neither team was able to dent the scoresheet again until Darrell Lampley charged the paint and put home a layup with just over a minute left. After Brian Williams responded with a jumper for JSU, Green notched his second long-ball and ninth point of the afternoon to send the Eagles into the half with a 28-22 edge.
Green's 3-of-8, nine-point effort led all scorers after 20 minutes. Bowdry went 2-of-4 from the field and 4-of-6 from the free-throw line for eight points. The senior forward also hauled-in six rebounds.
As a team, the Eagles were just 8-of-16 (50 percent) from the charity stripe and shot 9-of-25 (36 percent) from the field. EMU was dominant under the basket, however, racking up 25 boards to just 13 for JSU.
For the Gamecocks, Williams led the way offensively with eight points (3-of-4). JSU shot 9-of-24 (37.5 percent) from the field and 4-of-7 (57.1 percent) at the line.
Bowdry and Green continued to carry the EMU offense into second half. Bowdry drained a pair of buckets and Green added his fourth three-pointer of the afternoon from the right corner on a feed from J.R. Sims at 13:31 for a 40-33 Eagle lead.
At the 6:44 mark, Bowdry cleaned up a missed layup from Jamell Harris to run the EMU lead to nine points, 51-42. Moments later, Jeremy Bynum rattled-off five unanswered points with a shot from behind the arc and a jumper on consecutive possessions to pull JSU back to within four, 53-49, with 5:20 to play.
As the Eagles' lead dwindled, the Green and White also found themselves in foul trouble as Lampley was charged with his fourth infraction to send JSU into the double bonus. In back-to-back trips to the free throw line, the Gamecocks connected on only one-of-four attempts to keep the score 53-50 for the Eagles with 3:47 remaining.
As in the first half, the Eagles again struggled at the free-throw line, shooting a mere 11-of-26 (42.3 percent) for the game. That lack of consistency plagued the Eagles down the stretch as Hall sunk a layup to knot the score at 54 with 2:28 left.
Ironically, a pair of made free throws by Bowdry propelled the Eagles back into the lead 58-56, with :52 left. Seconds later, Bowdry looked to seal the game with an emphatic dunk for a 60-57 lead.
Nick Murphy squelched any chance of a quiet finish with a made layup and free throw after being fouled by Jay Higgins. Murphy's three points tied the score at 60 with 19 seconds on the clock.
EMU made the most of a final offensive rush as Green found Thompson open on the right side of the arc. Thompson brought the crowd to its feet with his first points of the game as the Eagles came away winners, 63-60.