EWU knocks off Northern Colorado for another overtime victory

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Mckenzie Ford for The Easterner

EWU junior guard Jacob Davison attacks the perimeter. Davison scored 20 points in EWU's 89-84 victory over Northern Colorado Monday.

By Drew Lawson, Sports Editor

For the second time in as many games, the EWU men’s basketball team (6-2, 13-6) won in overtime Monday. The Eagles knocked off the Northern Colorado Bears (5-3, 12-7) 89-84 to gain sole possession of second place in the Big Sky Conference. 

Senior forward Mason Peatling had one of the best games of his career, pouring in 21 points and grabbing a career-high 22 rebounds. Peatling had two key offensive rebounds in overtime, finding sophomore guard/forward Kim Aiken Jr. for the go-ahead three-pointer with a minute left in the extra frame before following in a missed free throw himself to go up by five a possession later. 

Peatling missed several chip shots at the rim in the first half, but closed strong to finish with impressive stats. Peatling credited his teammates for continually feeding him the ball in the post.

“They’re the ones throwing it to me inside and telling me to score over and over and over,” Peatling said. “I’ve got great guys around me that give me a lot of confidence to score the ball inside.”

Mckenzie Ford for The Easterner
EWU senior forward Mason Peatling attempts a shot in the paint. Peatling scored 21 points and grabbed 22 rebounds in EWU’s 89-84 overtime victory over UNC Monday.

Aiken and junior guard Jacob Davison were also big Monday. Aiken had 23 points and eight rebounds while making key free throws down the stretch. Davison had 20 points and seemed to find his way to the basket whenever EWU needed an offensive spark. 

EWU head coach Shantay Legans said the leadership of his top three players was monumental toward the Eagles’ effort.

“They’re going to carry us for the rest of the season until (opposing) teams stop them,” Legans said. “I think when teams stop them, I think we got guys that can find players, and other guys can get shots.”

Mckenzie Ford for The Easterner
EWU sophomore guard/forward Kim Aiken Jr. controls possession. Aiken scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds in EWU’s 89-84 overtime victory over UNC Monday.

EWU also received a key performance from redshirt freshman guard Casson Rouse. Rouse came off the bench to score seven points, including three clutch free throws in the final minute of overtime. Rouse also played solid defense throughout the game and played all but 14 seconds of the overtime period. 

Legans said Rouse plays as hard as any other player on the court, which he appreciates. Legans noted that since junior guard Jack Perry has returned from injury, it has been an adjustment figuring out the rotation between Rouse, Perry and true freshman guard Ellis Magnuson. Legans also said that after EWU’s 90-63 loss to Montana on Jan. 9, the coaching staff realized Rouse needed more minutes. 

“There’s not one time he’s held his head,” Legans said. “Not one time he’s been upset. I’m on him a lot … but you get some great plays that you just can’t explain.”

Mckenzie Ford for The Easterner
EWU redshirt freshman guard Casson Rouse attempts a three-pointer. Rouse scored seven points and played key minutes down the stretch during EWU’s 89-84 overtime victory over UNC Monday.

EWU moved to 3-1 at home in Big Sky Conference play. The Eagles have faced a double-digit deficit at some point in each of those games. Tonight, EWU trailed by as many as 13 points in the first half, but cut UNC’s lead to three by halftime. 

EWU now heads on the road for three straight as the calendar flips to February. Next up for the Eagles is an interesting test at the Sacramento State Hornets on Saturday. Sac State is a perfect 9-0 at home this season, but is just 11-6 overall and sits in 7th place in the BSC. Tip-off from northern California is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.