Texas Southern 66, EMU 49 recap of sorts
This is only a recap of sorts because there was no way to watch the game other than being there (which is beyond Eagle Totem’s non-existant financial means), and the only audio broadcast was, frankly, terrible. So this will basically just be a statistical summary of the game, with limited commentary on what we might learn about the direction of EMU’s season.
From what I can tell, this game really came down to one thing, and one thing only: the ability to make shots. Texas Southern made 13 of their 22 three-point shots (59.1%), while EMU made just 9 of 28 (32.1%). It wasn’t just one player for the Tigers either; Dexter Ellington hit 2 of 2, Lawrence Johnson-Danner made 6 of 12, and Omar Strong hit 5 of 7. It’s hard enough to beat a team when one player is shooting lights-out from beyond the arc, but when they’ve got three doing it… well, it makes me wonder about EMU’s defense. Specifically, I wonder how long EMU stuck with the zone against Texas Southern’s hot shooting, and whether the Eagles ever switched to man-to-man defense to better guard the outside threat.
Sims and Lampley did each hit half their three-point tries, but Thompson, Dailey, and Harper were a combined 1 of 11 from outside. Making it even worse, the Eagles had no inside scoring presence. Balkema hit just 2 of 4 shots, and missed both his free throws, for 4 points and 2 rebounds in 25 minutes — a far cry from the 15 to 18 points per game that Murphy expects of him — while Janton was 2 for 2, for another 4 points and one rebound in 16 minutes. When your big men combine for 8 points and 3 rebounds in 41 minutes, you’ve got some issues to work out.
As I mentioned in the preview for this game, it’s still very early in the season, so it’s hard to know just how good each team is, which means it’s hard to know whether this is a crushing loss to a terrible team, or a rough loss to an eventual repeat conference champion who happened to get hot. Either way, we can all agree that the Eagles have some work to do.