EWU’s comeback falls just short in Missoula

By Michael Brock, Editor in Chief

Sometimes the ball simply doesn’t bounce your way.

The EWU men’s basketball team (8-15, 6-6) fully understands that fact after falling to Montana (17-6, 10-2) 75-74 on Saturday in Missoula.

With time ticking down, sophomore guard Jacob Davison drove in the lane and missed a runner over an outstretched Grizzlies’ defender. Davison, who finished with a game-high 23 points, told The Easterner that the play was drawn up for him.

“It was an isolation play for me,” Davison said. “I made that shot a hundred times before. I got the space and I let it go. It looked good and it just didn’t drop.”

Montana led for over 36 minutes of the game and by as many as 13 points, but EWU never went away.

After trailing 66-54 with 7:14 remaining, the Eagles tied it up with a 14-2 spurt capped by a cutting layup by Davison. Both teams traded blows from there until Montana senior guard Michael Oguine hit one of two free throws to set up EWU’s final play.

For the Eagles, senior forward Jesse Hunt had 14 points and 12 rebounds, while junior forward Mason Peatling notched 14 points and seven rebounds. Along with his 23 points, Davison chipped in four assists, three rebounds and two steals. The guard has now scored at least 20 points in six of the last seven games.

Montana’s Sayeed Pridgett led the team with 19 points and nine rebounds. Donaven Dorsey had 16 points, while Bobby Moorehead and Oguine also scored in double figures.

Despite the outcome, Davison said he won’t shy away from taking last-second shots in the future.

“I want the ball in that moment every single time,” Davison said. “I love the ball in my hands at the end of the game and I believe I can make those plays. Tonight just didn’t go my way.”

After winning five out of six games, the Eagles have now dropped two straight. They lost 74-66 on the road against Montana State on Feb. 7. EWU falls to sixth place in the Big Sky Conference; the top five teams gain a first-round bye in the March 13-16 conference tournament.

The game on Saturday was the Eagles’ fourth in the last eight days. They now have nearly a week off before playing Northern Colorado (16-8, 10-3) at home on Feb. 16. After the loss, head coach Shantay Legans told The Easterner that the team will be ready.

“We’ve got to go out and win a game,” Legans said. “Northern Colorado is really good. We’ve got to be smart with how we play them. Guys have to come very prepared and I think if we do that, we’ll be pretty good.”