College basketball: Mid-Majors Get Ready for March Madness

Sportscaster Chad Bush of WEMU-89.1, interviews junior Yeikson Montero of EMU, post-game. (Photo courtesy of Jeff Weiser)

YPSILANTI —   It was Senior Day at the Convocation Center and the Eastern Michigan University men’s basketball team was in trouble.  They trailed the Central Michigan Chips by double digits with around five minutes to go.  EMU had a spectacular 16-2 run to earn a hard fought 67-63 victory.  The Eagles (16-13) got their first lead in the game when junior Thomas Binelli (Bologna, Italy) set up senior Boubacar Toure (Dakar, Senegal), who dunked with two-hands.

Toure was hacked and sank the foul shot for a three-point play.  This extended the lead to 63-61 in favor of Eastern Michigan.  That was at 1:14 of the second-half.  It was EMU’s first lead of the game.  On the season, CMU fell to (13-16).  

Toure ranks first in EMU program history with a 65.7 field-goal percentage (245-of-373).  Head coach Rob Murphy said post-game that Toure was a dream to coach.  “He is also a great student,” Murphy added.  Murphy coached his 300th career game (160-140) at EMU. 

Eastern Michigan ranks second in the nation in steals per game (10.0).  Ty Groce (Ypsilanti, MI) leads the way with 54 steals followed by Yeikson Montero (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic) with 53 and Noah Morgan (Mt. Vernon, N.Y.) with 43.

Eastern Michigan clinched the Michigan Mid-American Conference Trophy.  The trophy rotates and is held by the team who has the best head-to-head record in each season of each sport.

The men’s basketball trophy originated in 2006 with Western Michigan claiming the inaugural trophy.  It is sponsored by the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame.

First Team honors in the Horizon League were recently announced and Detroit Mercy’s Antoine Davis and Xavier Hill-Mais of Oakland were included.  All-Defensive Team accolades went to 

Chris Brandon of Detroit Mercy and Oakland’s Blake Lampman was named to the All-Freshman squad.

Next week after conference champions are determined it will be bracket-time for NCAA March Madness.  Las Vegas will again be ground-zero for spectacular spectator action and plenty of sports-talk on bracket-ology.

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