A 14-night/15-day road trip came to an end for the Eastern Washington University men's basketball team when it fell behind by 19 at halftime and lost to a hungry Utah squad 85-69 Friday (Nov. 24) at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Runs of 12-2 and 9-0 by Eastern in the second half – including a stretch in which EWU held Utah without a field goal for more than five minutes -- was too little too late. Utah used runs of 9-0 and 10-0 in the first half, and 14-2 to start the second half, to help open a 33-point lead. The Eagles made 12 of their last 18 shots, but at one point was just 14-of-48 (29 percent).
"I have a lot to learn, but our team played hard," said first-year head coach Shantay Legans. "We were down big, but we came back and kept fighting. I give them all the credit in the world.”
Senior Bogdan Bliznyk paced the Eagles with 17 points, while redshirt freshman Jacob Davison scored 13 in this third double figure scoring performance in his last four games. Sophomore Mason Peatling got hot in the second half and finished with 11 points, and sophomore Luka Vulikic added 10 with a career-high seven assists.
"We have good shooters, but we have gone up against some good competition," said Legans. "This is building toward the future for us. We could have scheduled other teams and our stats would look beautiful. But we took a test when we came on the road, and I thought we did a good job. We're 3-4 with one of the hardest schedules in the country. I'll take that all day. But we have to keep getting better and make some of these shots."
In the first-ever meeting against Utah, Eastern was out-shot 52 percent to 39 percent. Utah is now 5-1 on the season, having suffered its first loss of the season two nights earlier by an 85-58 score against UNLV, getting out-scored by the Runnin' Rebels by 10 in the first half and 17 in the second.
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