The third time was the charm for first-year Eastern head coach Shantay Legans.
In just the third game of Legans' short head coaching career, the Eastern Washington University men's basketball team pulled off one of the biggest victories in school history by beating Stanford 67-61 Tuesday (Nov. 14) at famed Maples Pavilion in Stanford, Calif.
“It’s amazing,” said Legans. “Our guys deserve it. We have some terrific young men in our program, and our coaching staff did such a great job. It does a lot for our program. We are going to enjoy it and have a good time. It was a huge win for our program an great win for our school -- it gives us a little notoriety. It’s a great time to be an Eagle. We have everything rolling at Eastern.”
In the first-ever meeting between the two schools, Eastern made 11-of-25 3-point field goals compared to just 2-of-16 by the Cardinal. Runs of 12-0 in the before halftime and 9-0 after intermission helped the Eagles take the lead for good in the first half and hold a double-digit lead for most of the second half.
Senior Bogdan Bliznyuk scored 23 points to lead the Eagles in scoring, and had five rebounds and a pair of assists. Sophomore Ty Gibson sparked Eastern in the first half with 11 points, Jesse Hunt finished with 10 with eight boards and true freshman Jack Perry came off the bench to score seven.
It was the third game in five nights for both schools, but Eastern's last two were on the road and Stanford played all three of its games at home.
The last Eastern win against a Pac-12 foe came back on Dec. 14, 2002, in a 62-58 win over Washington. Eastern has also registered victories over 10th-ranked Saint Joseph's team in 2001 by a 68-57 score and Indiana 88-86 in the 2014-15 season. The victory over Indiana came in a season in which EWU beat Montana in the Big Sky Conference Championship game and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the second time.
Eastern continues its challenging stretch of road games by playing at UNLV on Friday (Nov. 17) at 7 p.m. Pacific time at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. That game is part of the "undercard" schedule for the fourth-annual MGM Resorts Main Event, which will take place Nov. 20-22 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.