Eagles remain in 3rd place after splitting pair of road games


Photo by Melanie Flint

By Riley Baker, Staff Writer

The Eagles played a pair of road games over the weekend as they look to add to their six-game winning streak and make a push in the standings over the final few games of the season. They took on Sacramento State and Portland State and came away 1-1 to take their record to 10-5 in conference play and 16-11 overall.

On Feb. 18, EWU faced the Sacramento State Hornets and came out fast, making 15 of its first 19 shots to take a big lead early. Through the first half, the Eagles shot at a 65 percent mark from the field and a 53 percent mark from the 3-point line.
The Hornets made 16 of 32 shots from the field and 29 percent of their shots from the 3-point arc.

Junior guard Sir Washington had 13 first-half points and senior guard Austin McBroom had 12 to lead the team to a 58-40 lead at halftime.

In the second half, the Hornets came out looking to get back in the game. They put together a 9-0 run and then a 12-2 run to cut the EWU lead to 4 with 17 seconds left to play in the game, but the Eagles made the free throws they needed to hold on and win the game, 93-88.

The Hornets outscored the Eagles, 48-35, in the second half while holding them to a 38 percent shooting mark from the field and a 27 percent mark from the arc. Sac State made 50 percent of their shots from the field and 38 percent of the arc in the second half, but it was not enough to overcome the Eagles’ early lead.

Six Eagles scored double-digit points in the game. McBroom finished with 20 points and Washington finished with a career-high 15 points.

Senior forward Venky Jois put together his 36th career double-double with 18 points and 13 rebounds.

Sophomore forward Bogdan Bliznyuk also put up a double-double, his sixth of the season, with 10 points and 12 rebounds.

Junior forward Felix Von Hofe scored 17 points and junior guard Julian Harrell finished with 11.

On Feb. 20 EWU faced off against PSU, but did not come out as hot as they had in each of their last seven games. The Vikings made 18 of their first 25 shots to a demanding 14-point lead early in the game.

They made 69 percent of their shots from the field in the first half and shot at a 44 percent mark from the arc. The Eagles made 46 percent from the field and 33 percent from the arc and were down, 54-34, at the half.

In the second half the Eagles made a charge late in the game with a 28-16 run as they cut their deficit, but they eventually lost, 107-91, to end EWU’s seven-game winning streak.

“We’ll take a deep breath—we’ve won seven of our last eight and 10 of our last 13,” said head coach Jim Hayford. “We have a good team and we’re a better offensive team. This loss gets our attention and we’ll just push through.”

Jois made nine of his 11 shots of the night to finish with 20 points and 6 rebounds.

McBroom scored 36 and was a perfect 11-11 from the free-throw line.

Von Hofe scored 11 and Bliznyuk had 12 points and seven rebounds.

After the pair of road games the Eagles remain in sole possession of third place in the Big Sky Conference. With a record of 10-5, EWU is a half-game ahead of Idaho State University (9-5) and one game in front of University of Idaho (9-6). The top four seeds in the standings will have first round byes in the conference tournament.

The Eagles will travel to Moscow, Idaho, to take on the Vandals Feb. 27 at 1:05 p.m.