EWU stays hot at home in high-scoring blowout over Omaha


Mckenzie Ford for The Easterner

EWU sophomore guard/forward Kim Aiken Jr. shoots a fadeaway jumper. Aiken recorded his seventh double-double of the season Tuesday against Omaha.

By Drew Lawson, Sports Editor

The EWU men’s basketball team was on a 13-1 run as the first half of Tuesday’s game against the Omaha Mavericks wound to a close. That run was extended as EWU sophomore guard/forward Kim Aiken Jr. capped a personal 8-0 run and 16-1 team run with a 28-foot three-pointer that banked in at the halftime buzzer.  The shot was indicative of EWU’s performance this season at home, as the Eagles (7-3) remained perfect at Reese Court on the year (5-0) with a 97-56 win.

“Great performance from the team,” EWU head coach Shantay Legans said. “I just liked that the guys kept the pedal to the metal for 40 minutes.”

Aiken said his buzzer-beater was a shot that he sometimes works on after practice.

“It just so happened to be a bank,” Aiken said. “It was a good play call.”

EWU has scored over 85 points in every home game this season and has won all but one of those games by over 15 points.

The Eagles were led by a balanced offensive attack that featured four players scoring in double figures.

Aiken led the way with his seventh double-double of the season, pouring in 23 points and snaring 10 rebounds. Senior forward Mason Peatling also had a double-double with 19 points and 12 boards, while junior guard Jacob Davison had 12 points and five assists and freshman guard Ellis Magnuson had 10 points and six assists.

“All the guys in that first group are really starting to gel together,” Legans said. “They call a lot of the plays. … They’re on the court, and they understand what’s going on.”

Legans has said over the past few home games that the team looks at a matchup they can exploit going into its next game. Legans said tonight, the team saw that Omaha would give up three-point looks and thought that Aiken would receive some open shots against his man. EWU hit 13 three-pointers and Aiken was 9-14 from the field.

“(We knew) off-ball screen action we’d be able to find some looks and kick out,” Legans said. “When you’ve got five guys on the court that can hit shots, it’s really hard to defend.”

EWU’s rotation was smaller than in past games Tuesday. Senior point guard Tyler Kidd and freshman forward Tyler Robertson, who are often some of the first players off the bench, didn’t see action until garbage time against Omaha.

Legans said the team is still figuring out its best rotation as Big Sky Conference play approaches.

“You just have to keep working,” Legans said. “You never know when your number is going to be called.”

EWU’s competition level will get significantly tougher in the nonconference finale, as the Eagles head to The Kennel in Spokane to take on the Gonzaga Bulldogs on Dec. 21. GU is ranked No. 2 in the country and has beaten opponents such as Washington, Arizona, Oregon and Texas A&M.

“(For) a lot of guys from Washington, Gonzaga is where they want to go to school,” Legans said. “It’s everybody’s dream school when you talk to recruits in the state of Washington. … When you get to go to one of those schools, it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

EWU at Gonzaga tips off at 2 p.m. on Dec. 21 from Spokane.