Men’s basketball snap undefeated conference record

Tyler Harvey pushes the ball

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Tyler Harvey pushes the ball

By Fetlew Gebreziabher, Online Sports Editor

Eastern Washington University men’s basketball team return to Reese Court for a three-game homestand after splitting their two-game road trip last week.

The Eagles’ defeated the Portland State Vikings, 92-85 on Jan. 15 to stay undefeated in conference play, despite losing junior forward Venky Jois to an ankle injury nine minutes into the first half, according to

“It’s not going to be easy on the road and we weathered the storm. They hit some crazy shots, but we played well,” said head coach Jim Hayford.

Junior guard Tyler Harvey, who leads the team in scoring, shot just 3 for 5 from the field, but the Eagles still lead 42-29 lead at halftime. Harvey finished with 23 points to lead all scores.

“We’re a year older and a year more mature. The players were saying at halftime that we’ve been here before. We knew they were going to amp up the pressure and they did that in the second half. But Parker [Kelly] answered with some big shots and Tyler [Harvey] got it going. Then we were really good at the free throw line down the stretch.”

With Jois out, it was up to true freshman forward Bogdan Bliznyuk to step up to help his team. Bliznyuk finished with a season-high 18 points.

Senior guard Parker Kelly also finished with a season-high 19 points to help beat the Vikings.

The Eagles, who were ranked a season-high 13th according to mid-major poll, squared off with the Hornets of Sacramento State University on Jan. 17, but their hot shooting would cool down.

The Hornets shot lights out finishing the game shooting over 60 percent from the field and over 50 percent from the three-point mark.

Sophomore forward Ognjen Miljkovic, who started for the injured Jois, finished with 11 points off 3 of 11 shooting in 24 minutes.

Bliznyuk came off the bench to tie his season-high of 19 points, but that was not enough to stop the Hornets.

“Sacramento State played a really good game,” said Eastern head coach Jim Hayford. “Everybody says you have to defend your home court, but you have to do it with spirit, passion and toughness, and they did that.”

The Eagles will put their undefeated home record on the line when they face Northern Colorado University on Jan. 22.