The first 20 minutes were a thing of beauty, like a Ferrari.
Thanks in part to 21 points apiece by Bogdan Bliznyuk and Jacob Wiley, the Eastern Washington University men's basketball team continue to be a part of the logjam at the top of the Big Sky Conference standings by beating Southern Utah 83-68 Saturday (Jan. 21) at Reese Court in Cheney, Wash.
Eight Eagles scored and four had 3-pointers as the Eagles were dominating in the first 20 minutes of the game and opened a 47-22 lead at halftime. Eastern led by as many as 30 points in the second half before settling for the 15-point victory.
"When we are clicking on all cylinders our team looks pretty good," said Eastern head coach Jim Hayford. "The 22 points we gave up in the first half shows what we can do defensively. We were shooting well from the outside and the drive game was going. But the second 20 minutes showed why we have to keep working hard at practice every day."
Eastern had a 52 percent shooting night and held Southern Utah to 36 percent while blocking 10 Thunderbird shots. In the first half alone, Eastern's defense held the Thunderbirds to 24 percent shooting and a 6:35 stretch without a field goal. The 22 points SUU scored equaled the second-fewest EWU has allowed in a half this season, while Eastern's 47 points equaled the sixth-most in a half.
Bliznyuk and Wiley stuffed the stat sheet, with Bliznyuk finishing with 21 points, nine rebounds and equaling a career high with five steals. Wiley also had nine rebounds to go along with five assists, four blocks and a steal.
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