Eastern Falls vs. Winthrop, 101-87, in the Cancun Challenge finals

Post-game audio

CANCÚNMexico (EMUEagles.com) — All five starters scored double digits, including a career high of 25 points Tyson Acuff (Detroit, Mich.-Cass Tech-Duquesne)but it wasn’t enough as the Eastern Michigan University men’s basketball team suffered a 101-87 loss to Winthrop University in the final game of the 2022 Cancun Challenge on November 23. The Eagles (1-5) saw Legend Geeter (River Rouge, Mich.-River Rouge-Providence) recorded his first double-double while notching career-high points (12) and rebounds (10) at the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya in Cancun, Mexico.

Acuff had a career day on the floor as the sophomore’s 25 points not only marked the first time in his career he had surpassed 20 points, but also tied it Ricky Cotrill for most points by an Eagle in a game played internationally when Cottrill scored 25 against the University of Miami (Fla.) and the University of Alabama-Birmingham at the 2001 Paradise Jam in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. Acuff didn’t finish there as he was outplayed from the floor with his 11-of-19 shooting Lorenzo Neelys EMU record for making baskets in an international game after losing 10 to the University of Alabama in the 1989 San Juan Shootout in Puerto Rico.

Geeter recorded the first double-double of his career and the first for an eagle since Mo Njie finished with 16 points and 10 boards at Miami University, March 4, 2022. Geeter, who finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds, is only the eighth player from the East to record a double-double in an international game, and the first to do so since John Bowler scored 17 goals and rebounded 10 misses in the 2004 Paradise Jam against Austin Peay University on November 20. Geeter led the team with three steals that day and added two assists, both marking career bests for the big man.

Emoni Bates (Ypsilanti, Mich.-Ypsi Prep-Memphis) He continued to hit shots from long range when the sophomore was 4 of 9 behind the arc, giving him four makes in consecutive games and taking his season total to 19 makes. Bates scored at least 15 points in all five games he played this season and finished the game with 15 points and six rebounds while adding a steal and the team’s only blocked shot.

Noah Farrakchan (Hillside, NJ-The Patrick School-East Carolina) finished the game on 17 points and joined Bates in knocking over four Treys. Colin Golson Jr. (Detroit, Mich.-Ferndale-Siena) was the fifth player to reach a double-digit score in the game when he finished with 10 points. He added six rebounds, two assists and a steal.

How it happened
Eastern Michigan fought its way out of the gate and fell 47-37 en route to halftime. Winthrop continued to extend his lead after the break, building a 75-55 advantage before Eastern Michigan started a 5-0 run that was stopped by Bates 3 to reduce the lead to 75-60, 8:15 in a Competition. The Eagles continued their comeback, but Winthrop managed to hold onto the 101-87 win. Eastern Michigan made the most of 15 offensive rebounds to score 17 of 50 total second chance points during that period.

game notes
» Eastern won the rebound fight for the second game in a row 35-29 but fell to 0-3 in games where he overtook his opponent this season.
» All five starters scored in double figures, including Acuff (25), Farrakhan (17), Bates (15), Geeter (12) and Golson (10). Orlando Lovejoy (Detroit, Mich.-Summit Academy North) was the only bench player to score, adding eight.
» All eight players who entered the game recorded a steal, with Geeter leading the way with three.
» Acuff’s 25 points is a career high, beating the 18 he scored at Oakland University on Nov. 19. His total score in an international game at Eastern is the highest with Cottrill, who twice scored 25 at Paradise Jam in 2001.
Acuff hit 11 of 19 shots in the game, surpassing Neely for most hits in an international game by an Easterner after Neely sunk 10 in the 1989 San Juan Shootout.
» Geeter recorded his first career double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. He is the first Eagle to do so this year and the first since Njie did so in Miami last year.
» As a team, the Eagles made 31 baskets, including nine three-pointers. Both records are Eastern’s best in an international game, as previous records came with 31 buckets against the University of Illinois-Chicago on December 20, 1992 in the San Juan Shootout and nine three-pointers against the University of Maryland Baltimore County. November 22, 2019, at the Jamaica Classic.

The Eagles return home for their next game as they host the University of California-San Diego Tritons on Sunday, November 27 at the George Gervin GameAbove Center. The game, scheduled for 2 p.m. PDT, will be broadcast live on ESPN+, WEMU Radio (89.1 FM) and the Varsity Network app.


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