Kalamazoo — Paul Jackson had 21 points with eight assists to help Eastern Michigan roll to a 74-58 win over Western Michigan on Tuesday night to clinch a first-round bye in the Mid-American Conference tournament.
Eastern Michigan (19-11, 10-7) took the fourth and final first-round bye.
The Eagles had a 23-6 run to open the game to take a 35-24 lead into the break. They kept a double-digit lead for most of the second half to ease to the win.
Eastern Michigan finishes regular-season play at Toledo on Friday before heading to the conference tournament in Cleveland next week.
Elijah Minnie added 18 points with nine rebounds for the Eagles, who have won five in a row.
Josh Davis had 13 points to lead Western Michigan (17-13, 9-8), which completes the regular season at Central Michigan on Friday.
MORE STATE MEN
(At) Central Michigan 75, Ball State 51: Kevin McKay scored 23 points, Cecil Williams 18 and David DiLeo poured in all 12 of his points on 3-pointers and Central Michigan parlayed long-range shooting and turnovers after halftime into a romp.
The loss ended a four-game win streak and kept Ball State (19-11, 10-7) one win away from nailing down top-four finish in the MAC — and the first-round tournament bye that comes with it — as well as a second-straight 20-win season.
After Tuesday’s games, Ball State is tied with Eastern Michigan for third in the overall MAC standings and end the season at Northern Illinois.
The Chippewas (17-13, 6-11) trailed 33-30 at the break but opened the second half on a 12-5 run. Ball State committed 13 turnovers by the midpoint of the second half and was 5 of 17 shooting with seven minutes left to play.
Tahjai Teague led the Cardinals with 10 points. Ball State had five assists to 17 for Central Michigan.
The men’s and women’s Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournaments begin Wednesday at campus sites.
On the men’s side, No. 2 seed Wayne State (15-10, 13-7) hosts No. 6 Michigan Tech (14-13, 11-9) at 7:30.
On the women’s side, No. 4 seed Wayne State (19-7, 14-6) hosts No. 5 Northwood (16-10, 12-8) at 5:30.