Big Plays Down the Stretch Guide Eastern Past Northern Colorado 67-65
CHENEY, Wash. — On a night the 3-point shot didn’t fal as much as usuall, the Eagles had other answers.
A trio of Eagles combined for 52 points and came up with key plays down the stretch as the Eastern Washington University men’s basketball team beat Northern Colorado 67-65 on Saturday (Jan. 27) at Reese Court in Cheney, Wash.
Senior Sir Washington sank a pair of free throws with eight seconds left to break a 65-all tie, as UNC missed six of its last eight shots. Washington, who finished with nine points, also came up with the key rebound with 13 seconds remaining on a potential go-ahead attempt by UNC’s Andre Spight, who also missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer that could have won it.
All-time EWU leading scorer Bogdan Bliznyuk led the way with 26 points as he moved into the top 10 in Big Sky Conference history. He scored seven points in a 10-0 run midway through the second half that turned a deficit – EWU’s last of the game – into a seven-point advantage with 8:11 to play.
Sophomore Mason Peatling had this third-straight double-double, finishing with 17 points, a career-high 15 rebounds and two blocked shots. He also took a key charge with 1:10 with the game knotted at 65.
The game was a battle for at least third place in the conference standings, as the Big Sky Conference schedule reached the halfway point for both schools. Eastern won its sixth Big Sky game in nine tries, while UNC slipped to 5-4.
“Mason had a monster game,” said Eastern head coach Shantay Legans . “He’s the reason we won tonight – he kicked everybody’s butt on the boards. He tried to outrebound them by himself.”
The Eagles sank just 4-of-13 shots from the 3-point stripe, but scored 42 points in the paint – its second-best performance of the season and best against a NCAA Division I foe. The Eagles made only 34.5 percent of their shots in the second half and 43.9 percent in the game, but held UNC to 31 percent after intermission and 37 percent for the game.
“We missed some of the shots we usually make, but we were right there the whole game,” Legans said of the contest that featured 11 ties and six lead changes. “I’ve been harping on our guys that defense is going to win games at the end, and to hold that team to 65 points is really good.”
With his 26 points – giving him 54 in a weekend sweep — Big Sky Conference Player of the Year candidate Bogdan Bliznyuk moved into the top 10 in career scoring in the 55-year history of the Big Sky Conference. Bliznyuk now has 1,856 career points in 125 career games, moving past the 1,841 Tom Domako from Montana State had from 1985-88. Next on the list at No. 9 is Nate Holmstadt from Montana State with 1,864 points from 1995-99.
Earlier this season in Greeley, the Bears led from start to finish and opened Big Sky Conference play with an 88-75 victory over EWU on Dec. 29. The Bears led by as many as 16 and never trailed, and out-shot Eastern 55 percent to 45 percent.
Eastern goes back out on the road next week to face Sacramento State on Thursday (Feb. 1) before playing at Portland State on Saturday (Feb. 3). Eastern swept those two schools at home in early January.