Jackson's Late Bucket Lifts Eagles Over Rockets, 71-69

By Published: 3/3/2018 8:45:26 AM Custom Tag

The win secures a No.3 seed in the upcoming Mid-American Conference Tournament

Courtesy: Eastern Michigan Athletics

TOLEDO, Ohio (EMUEagles.com) – Down two with just eight seconds to play, Eastern Michigan University junior Paul Jackson (Stone Mountain, Ga.- Martin Luther King Jr.-Eastern Kentucky) connected on a layup and completed the and-one opportunity to give the Eagles a road win over the University of Toledo, 71-69, in the regular season finle at Savage Arena.

Following the basket by Jackson, UT (21-10, 13-5 MAC) had one final shot, but the EMU (20-11, 11-7 MAC) defense held strong. A Rocket's three-point heave fell short and the Eagle's Ty Groce (Ypsilanti, Mich.-Lincoln) grabbed the rebound, got fouled, and hit one of two free throws to put the game on ice.

Redshirt junior Elijah Minnie (Pittsburgh, Pa.-Lincoln Park (Robert Morris)) had 25 points and eight rebounds to lead the Eagles, while Jackson finished the night with 16. Junior James Thompson IV (Baton Rouge, La.-Parkview Baptist) was the only other member of the Green and White to finish in double figures, as he added 13 points to an eight-rebound performance.

Eastern and Toledo locked in a battle from the opening tip, but it appeared that the Rockets were set to pull away on senior night, leading by seven with just under nine minutes to go in the game and again by five with just over three minutes left. The Eagles proved resilient down the stretch, eventually tying the score on a pair of Jackson free throws with 59 seconds to go.

After a Tim Bond (Baltimore, Md.-College Park) free throw put the Eagles ahead 67-66, the Rockets converted a three-point play the old fashioned way on the other end to take the lead with just 16 seconds to go. Eastern pushed the ball ahead and called a timeout so Head Coach Rob Murphy could draw up the winning play that Jackson would convert moments later.

Both teams finished the game with impressive offensive performances, as EMU shot 51 percent (25-of-49) from the floor compared to UT's 45 percent (24-of-53). The great equalizer in the game was Toledo's three-point shooting, as it connected on 36 percent (10-of-28) from beyond the three-point line compared to Eastern's 33 percent (4-of-12).

Toledo controlled the rebounding battle, 33-to-25, but Eastern Michigan was able to even the ground with its defensive pressure, forcing 14 turnovers on 11 steals. The Eagles once again dominated the paint against the Rockets, outscoring the hosts 40-24 down low.

Eastern Michigan returns to action Thursday, March 8 in the second round of the Mid-American Conference Tournament. The Eagles' will play the final game of the night, tentatively scheduled for 9 p.m., against the winner of the No. 6 vs. No. 11 matchup.

Published: 3/3/2018 8:45:26 AM Custom Tag