EWU Eagles

Eagles improve to 2-0 in Big Sky play

Eagles improve to 2-0 in Big Sky play

Tyler Hall got his points, but the Eastern Washington University men's basketball team made up for it with another big night on offense and defense to improve to 8-0 at home this season.
 
Senior graduate transfer Jacob Wiley scored a career-high 25 points with a near triple-double, and two big scoring runs fueled by defense helped EWU improve to 2-0 in the Big Sky Conference with an 82-64 victory over Montana State Thursday (Jan. 5) at Reese Court in Cheney, Wash.
 
Senior Felix Von Hofe added 19 points with five three-pointers and Jesse Hunt came off the bench to score a career-high 13 points in the 10th win of the season for the Eagles. Eastern made a season-best 60.4 percent from the field, but it was its defense that made the difference as MSU made only 38 percent in the game – the third-best performance this season for the Eagles.
 
Montana State missed 11-straight shots at one point and went 11:23 without a field goal as EWU used a 21-3 run to turn an 8-4 deficit into a 25-11 lead in the first half. Eastern held the Bobcats to 27 percent shooting and just 22 points in the first half for the second-best defensive half of the season for EWU.   
 
In the second half after Hall led MSU's rally, a 9-0 Eagle run and a four-minute stretch without a field goal for the Bobcats helped Eastern turn a one-point lead into a double-digit advantage. Eastern led by no less than eight the rest of the way, despite a game-high 33 points by Hall, who at one point scored 17-straight MSU points.
 
"I'm obviously pleased to open our home conference schedule with a win," said Eastern head coach Jim Hayford. "They heated up at the beginning of the second half, but our guys showed great composure and were resilient. They didn't give up the lead and we got re-grouped. We had a nice little two-minute run to take the lead back and made sure nothing crazy happened."
 
The game was a match-up of two of the top scoring teams in the league and NCAA Division I, with the Bobcats averaging 81.3 to rank second in the league and 39th nationally. Eastern entered with an average of 75.8 to rank sixth and 139th, respectively.


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