Jois becomes all-time leading scorer, Eags fall to Bengals

Jois becomes all-time leading scorer, Eags fall to Bengals

The record was the bright spot on the night.

Eastern’s Venky Jois broke Eastern Washington University’s 39-year-old career scoring record, but the Eagles fell short at home against Idaho State in a Big Sky Conference men’s basketball game and fell to the Bengals 75-71 Thursday (March 3) at Reese Court in Cheney, Wash.

Jois finished with a team-high 21 points and 11 rebounds to register the 37th double-double of his career. He now has 1,754 points in his career to pass the previous school record of 1,741 set by Ron Cox from 1974-77. Cox was in attendance at Thursday’s game, and presented Jois with the game ball and two mementos to commemorate the historic night.

“It was a great crowd and I thank them for the support they gave me and our team tonight,” said Jois following the game.

Eastern had its worst shooting night of the year at home, and also had 12 turnovers that turned into 16 points for the Bengals. The Eagles made 43.5 percent from the field, 28.6 percent from the 3-point arc and 47 percent from the free throw line.

Eastern, which suffered its first loss at home this season in 11 games, has assured itself of having to play in the opening round of the upcoming Big Sky Conference Tournament. Eastern closes the regular season on Senior Day at Reese Court this Saturday (March 5) versus Big Sky Conference leader Weber State at 2:05 p.m. Pacific time, and will play on Tuesday (March 8) in the opening round of the tournament as either the fifth or sixth seed.

“Our team believes that they can beat anybody, but they also know they can lose to anybody,” said Eastern head coach Jim Hayford. “Because we have some players who have been there, I believe we are going to find another gear when we get to Reno. That’s what we’re going to bank on. They know what it’s about and they’ve had success in that tournament. I’m going to put my eggs in that basket.”

Won-Lost Records . . .

* The Eagles are now 16-13 overall and 10-7 in the league, with a 6-12 record on the road and 11-1 mark at home. In league games, EWU is 7-1 at Reese Court and 3-6 on the road.

* The Bengals are 16-13 overall and 11-6 in the league, and are now 5-9 on opponent home courts this season.

What It Means . . .

* The loss drops Eastern out of a third-place tie in the Big Sky Conference standings, and coupled with Idaho’s 62-58 victory over Weber State Thursday, now means the Eagles will finish either fifth or sixth in the final regular season standings. There are still six games to play in the league season on Saturday (March 5) – four of them at night. Those will determine seedings for the Big Sky Conference Tournament, which takes place March 8-12 in Reno, Nevada, and includes all 12 league teams. The top four seeds receive first-round byes, otherwise, the other eight teams will play on the first day of the tournament on Tuesday, March 8, and will need to win four games in five days to win the league title and the NCAA berth that goes with it.