Wednesday’s basketball: EMU women rallly to beat UM

Detroit News staff

Ypsilanti — Down 12 points entering the fourth quarter, Eastern Michigan’s women’s basketball team suddenly couldn’t miss and Michigan struggled to score as EMU eked out a 64-63 victory at the Convocation Center on Wednesday afternoon.

Entering the fourth quarter, the Wolverines (8-3) held a seemingly commanding 57-45 lead. But the Eagles (8-2) went on a 9-0 run in the first 2-1/2 minutes on a three-point play by Cha Sweeney, back-to-back jumpers from Phillis Webb and a fastbreak layup by Chanise Baldwin.

Eastern eventually tied the game at 60-60 on Sweeney’s layup with 1:27 to play. With the game tied at 62-62, Webb nailed another jumper with 15 seconds remaining to give EMU a two-point lead.

Ten seconds later, UM’s Hallie Thome went to the free-throw line and made the first, but missed the second and Webb grabbed the rebound to seal the game.

Webb made 10 of 15 shots, scored 22 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead EMU.

“I’ll tell you what, Phillis Webb was absolutely unbelievable,” EMU coach Tory Verdi said. “Just her will and determination, it’s pretty special.”

Baldwin made six of her seven shots and scored 14 points. Sweeney, who averages 19.4 points per game, added 12.

Katelynn Flaherty, who had scored at least 20 points in her last four games, led the Wolverines with 19 points. Thome added 15 points.

Michigan had shot at least 50 percent in seven of its first 10 games, but was held to 40 percent (24-of-60) Wednesday.

Big Ten 

(At) Rutgers 72, Fairleigh Dickinson 64: Corey Sanders scored 21 points, Mike Williams scored 14 and Greg Lewis had 10 points and 11 rebounds to lead Rutgers (5-7).

Illinois 68, Missouri 63: In St. Louis, Malcolm Hill had 21 points, including a basket that ended a scoreless drought of nearly 9-1/2 minutes. Illinois (8-5) has won five in a row.

Milwaukee 74, (at) Minnesota 65: Carlos Morris scored a game-high 24 for the Gophers (6-6), who lost at home to a mid-major for the third time this month.

(At) Wisconsin 84, Green Bay 79: Nigel Hayes scored seven of his team-high 24 points in a 17-0 first-half run and five more in the final minutes as Wisconsin gave Greg Gard a nerve-wracking win in his first game as the Badgers’ interim coach. Gard spent 23 years as an assistant to Bo Ryan, including the past 15 at Wisconsin, before being named interim coach when Ryan abruptly announced his retirement immediately after the Badgers’ victory over Texas A&M Corpus Christi Dec. 15.

It looked like Wisconsin (8-5) would cruise in Gard’s debut, as the Badgers led by 21 at halftime and were up 68-38 after two free throws by Hayes with 13:01 to play. But the Phoenix (7-6) used their full-court press to force turnovers in a stunning 33-6 surge and got as close as three on three occasions in the final 1:45. Carrington Love led Green Bay with 28 points.

Penn State 75, Kent State 69: Junior forward Brandon Taylor scored a career high 29 points and grabbed six rebounds in the Las Vegas Classic consolation game. Taylor, who had two steals, was 12 of 21 from the field as the Nittany Lions split their two Las Vegas games the past two nights in their first trip out West in 14 years.

Davis Zemgulis added 11 points and Josh Reaves had 10 for the Nittany Lions (9-4).

Jimmy Hall led Kent State (7-4) with 15 points and eight rebounds, while Kellon Thomas had 12 points.

Top 25

(At)No. 16 Louisville 98, Utah Valley 68: Trey Lewis scored 21 points and Louisville (11-1) made 18 of its first 24 shots to blow past Utah Valley.

(At) No. 23 Baylor 85, New Mexico State 70: Taurean Prince scored a career-high 34 points for Baylor (9-2).