Despite Career-High 25 by Peatling, Eastern Falls to Weber State 84-72 as League Play is Underway

Despite Career-High 25 by Peatling, Eastern Falls to Weber State 84-72 as League Play is Underway

The start to the start of league play couldn’t have gone any better.

Despite an early 16-2 run and 21-8 lead in the first half, the Eastern Washington University men’s basketball team couldn’t sustain the fast start and opened Big Sky Conference play with an 84-72 loss to Weber State on Saturday (Dec. 29) at Reese Court in Cheney, Wash.

The Wildcats, picked to finish second behind pre-season league favorite Montana, used a 20-3 run to open the second half to pull away from EWU. Eastern opened the game making 10 of its first 17 shots, but suffered through a 4-of-25 (16 percent) stretch spanning halftime to fall behind by 21.

Junior Mason Peatling scored a career-high 25 points to lead the Eagles on 9-of-17 shooting from the field in just his second game back. Underclassmen Jacob Davison (13) , Luka Vulikic (12) and. Tyler Kidd (12) combined for another 37. The Eagles will continue league play at 1:05 p.m. on New Year’s Eve (Dec. 31) versus Idaho State.

“Mason did a great job in his first full game back,” said Eastern head coach Shantay Legans . “You could see he was gassed and tired at times, but he was battling and did a great job down low. He’s going to get other players open looks and open shots, but we have to make sure we’re ready and smart when we get him rolling.”

Eastern held Weber State to just one field goal in a 7:33 stretch in the first half for a collective total of 1-of-10 shooting. The Eagles made 6-of-10 in that stretch and led 21-8 with 10:07 to play. The Wildcats used a 12-0 run to cut into the lead, then led 37-33 at halftime.

The Eagles missed their first 10 shots of the second half and the Wildcats used a 12-0 run to take a 57-36 advantage with 13 minutes remaining. Weber State led by as many as 23 and no fewer than 12 the rest of the way.

“We were playing against one of the premier teams in the league, but at the same time I think we are one of the premier teams in the league too,” added Legans. “That’s what we hold our standard to.”

Records . . .

* The Eagles are 2-10, and 0-1 in Big Sky Conference play. Eastern started league play in full health after Mason Peatling made his season debut as a starter versus Corban in a 92-73 Eagle win on Dec. 21. That improved EWU’s record to 2-9 for the season and snapped a six-game losing streak with the first five on the road.

* Weber State won its first road game of the year and is now 7-5 overall, having closed out its preseason schedule with an 83-69 home win over Delaware State on Dec. 22. The Wildcats are 4-1 at home and 1-2 on the road this season, plus are 2-2 on neutral courts.

What’s Next . . .

* Eastern hosts Idaho State on Monday (Dec. 31) in a game that begins at 1:05 p.m. Eastern was picked to finish fourth in the league in both the coaches and media polls, while Weber State was picked second behind defending regular season and tournament champion Montana. Idaho State was eighth in both polls. A year ago, Weber State and EWU tied for third in the league with 13-5 records, but it was Eastern which advanced to the Big Sky Tournament championship game where it lost to the Grizzlies. Idaho State finished 9-9 in the league last season, as EWU picked up a key late-season road sweep over the Wildcats and Bengals in the lone meetings against those two schools in the 2017-18 season.

* Heading into tonight’s game at Idaho, Idaho State is 4-5 overall. The Bengals fell to UC Santa Barbara 84-65 on Dec. 22. They are 2-1 at home and 2-4 on the road thus far, and are led by the 15.6 scoring average of junior guard Brandon Boyd.

Top Performers . . .

* In just his second game back, Mason Peatling scored a career-high 25 points on 9-of-17 shooting from the field with a trio of 3-pointers made in four attempts. He also had six rebounds – five on the offensive end – and a pair of assists. He eclipsed his previous high of 19 versus South Dakota and Montana State in the 2017-18 season.
* Sophomore Jacob Davison had 13 points with three assists, three blocked shots, a pair of steals and two rebounds. He made 7-of-8 free throws but was just 3-of-12 from the field and missed all three of his 3-point attempts.
* Junior Tyler Kidd had a season-high 12 points, sinking 5-of-6 shots from the field and making both of his 3-point attempts. He also had a pair of assists and three rebounds in 17 minutes of playing time. His point total eclipsed his previous best of nine versus Corban in EWU’s’ last game and against Syracuse in EWU’s season opener.
* Sophomore Luka Vulikic scored all 12 of his points in the first half and finished 6-of-11 from the field.
* Senior Jesse Hunt scored just seven points, but he also contributed 11 reeoubnds, three assists and a pair of steals.. Hunt entered the game with four double-doubles on the season and five in his career. He has now had 16 career double-figure scoring performances in his career to go along with eight performances with 10 or more rebounds.