Bliznyuk Honored After Record-Breaking Weekend
CHENEY, Wash. — On a record-setting week when he became the school’s men’s basketball career scoring leader while also climbing into the top 10 on the Big Sky Conference scoring chart, the Eastern Washington University senior has been named the league’s Ready Nutrition Player of the Week announced Monday (Jan. 29).
He is the first Big Sky player this season to earn the weekly honor twice, having also been honored last Dec. 19 when he had a 30-point effort against Wyoming and a near triple-double versus CSUN. In addition, he was honored twice a year ago as a junior. He was also honored with the same award this week from College Sports Madness.
Bliznyuk led the Eagles to a weekend sweep over North Dakota (95-71) and Northern Colorado (67-65), averaging 27.0 points on a sizzling 65.7 shooting percentage (23-of-35) from the floor. He helped EWU improve to 11-11 overall and 6-3 in the league to sit in a tie for third place in the league standings.
“His historic accomplishment is a true testament to his character, drive and work ethic,” said Eastern head coach Shantay Legans . “And that’s not to mention he is also a great student, with a 3.31 GPA. As our team’s captain, he is a great role model and ambassador for the EWU men’s basketball program and our University. I couldn’t be more proud.”
Needing just two points to break the Eastern Washington career scoring record of 1,803 points set by former teammate Venky Jois (2013-16), Bliznyuk drained a three just 1:16 into Thursday’s contest against North Dakota en route to scoring 28 points. He nearly had the second triple-double in school history – he had the first as a sophomore – with eight rebounds and seven assists.
Bliznyuk followed up that performance with 26 points against UNC on Saturday, scoring 19 of his 26 points in the first half. He scored seven points in a pivotal 10-0 run in the second half to help the Eagles avenge a Dec. 29 loss to the Bears.
Bliznyuk reached 1,856 career points at the conclusion of the weekend, surpassing Montana State’s Tom Domako (1984-88) for No. 10 on the Big Sky career scoring list. The Lutsk, Ukraine native is just the third player since 2000 to crack the top 10, joining Weber State’s Jeremy Senglin (2013-17) and Damian Lillard (2008-12). Next on the list for Bliznyuk is Montana State’s Nate Holmstadt (1995-99), who recorded 1,864 points in his four-year career.
In addition to averaging 27 points on the week, Bliznyuk averaged 6.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game while going 4-of-7 from behind the arc and 4-of-4 from the charity stripe. He has now made 40 free throws in a row heading into this Thursday’s (Feb. 1) game at Sacramento State, followed by a Saturday visit to Portland State (Feb. 3).