Eagles defeat Indiana, first ever win against Big Ten


Joe Eke

Venky Jois protects the basket against Indiana.

By Elohino Theodore, Senior Reporter

The Eastern Washington University men’s basketball team shocked the audience at Assembly Hall as they defeated Indiana University 88-86 on Nov. 24.

Head coach Jim Hayford said, “I’m certainly going to let our team enjoy this tonight.” “I told our team this is what the accomplishment of hard work feels like. I’m just really happy for our team and anybody associated with Eastern Washington.”

It was Eastern’s first win against a Big 10 Conference team.

EWU started off slow in the first half only scoring four points with 16:24 remaining.

At the 13:57 mark in the first half, Eastern started an offensive charge. Senior guard Drew Brandon scored a layup to cut the Indiana lead to six points, 14-8.

Junior guard Tyler Harvey, junior forward Venky Jois and sophomore forward Ognjen Miljkovic all contributed to help Eastern get back into the game. With 9:30 remaining in the first half, the score was tied, 21-21. It soon became a back and forth affair.

At the 7:15 mark, Miljkovic scored a 3-pointer to give the Eagles a one-point lead, 28-27. However, the Hoosiers came storming back with 5:44 remaining and ended up leading at halftime, 41-35.

Brandon said Eastern had a positive mindset and stayed focused throughout the 40 minutes.

“From start to finish we just believed, we don’t get discouraged on the name on a team’s chest,” said Brandon. “We play our game and we go into every game with energy.”

In the second half, Eastern came back from being down 12 points. The score was tied 75-75 with 2:37 remaining in the game. The Hoosiers’ sophomore forward Troy Williams helped Indiana build a three-point lead with a dunk and a free throw.

The Eagles would go on a run at the 1:53 mark with Brandon scoring a jump shot to cut the Indiana lead to one point. Brandon would again score to put the Eagles up by one point, 79-78.

Senior guard Parker Kelly hit a 3-pointer with 36 seconds remaining in the game to give Eastern the lead, 82-78.

Free throws helped the Eagles get the victory as Brandon was the final player to get to the foul line in the game.

Brandon finished with a career high of 27 points. Harvey had 25 points along with four rebounds and two assists. Kelly scored six points with 36 seconds left in the game. Jois finished with 20 points along with 14 rebounds, five blocks and two steals.

Hayford told goeags.com, “This is a huge win, and obviously the biggest in my time at Eastern.” “I’m really, really proud of our guys.”

Brandon said this win is special; but there is more work the Eagles have to do.

“We can build confidence off a big win in one of the most historic basketball venues of all time. But it’s only one game, we don’t want that to be the high point of the season,” said Brandon. “We want to be raising a banner and reach our highest potential.”