Eagles try to snap skid against Griz, Bobcats at Reese
EWU’s 0-2 start in Big Sky play part of five-game losing streak
Throwing down shots last Saturday night at Holt Arena in Pocatello was maybe especially tough for the Eastern Washington University men’s basketball team because most of the Eagles were throwing up.
Nagged by a bad case of food poisoning that affected the majority of the team, and likely led to their abysmal start in an 83-72 Big Sky Conference loss to Idaho State, Eastern finished their opening weekend of league play 0-2 after a 74-67 defeat Thursday at Weber State.
The Eagles (0-2 Big Sky, 5-8 overall) will try to put the stops to a five-game losing streak tonight (Jan. 9) when Montana (1-1, 6-5) visits for a 6:05 p.m. tip. Eastern faces Montana State (2-0, 7-6) Saturday at 2:05 p.m.
“The big stat was 8 of our 11 guys were throwing up from food poisoning during the day,” Eastern head coach Jim Hayford said following a 39 percent shooting night. “That might be why we missed our first seven 3-pointers.”
After a Parker Kelly jumper with 15 minutes, 13 seconds to play in the first half drew Eastern to within 10-8, the Bengals reeled off the next 12 points, part of a 20-5 run that earned ISU a 44-32 halftime lead.
The Eagles pulled within six at 52-46 on a 3-pointer by Kelly with 13:49 remaining. But over the next 6:23, Idaho State out-scored Eastern 15-5 to regain a 67-49 advantage to put the game out of reach.
Eastern made only three of its first 15 shots of the game to put the Eagles in a hole they could never climb out of. “When you are missing shots, that’s when your defense has to be at their best,” Hayford said. “Unfortunately, our lack of offensive success I thought stopped some of our defense.”
A pair of sophomores paced the Eagles. Tyler Harvey’s 19 points topped four Eastern players who scored in double figures. Venky Jois finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds for a double-double. Kelly added 16 and Drew Brandon 14.
After the dismal start the Eagles recovered to make a season-high 14 3s in 38 attempts.
Andre Hatchett scored 27 for the Bengals who snapped an eight game EWU winning streak.
Harvey scored 30 points – including 21 of EWU’s 33 points in the first half – to fuel EWU’s upset bid in Ogden. Jois scored all 15 of his points in the second half and was the only other Eagle in double-figures.
The Eagles jumped out to a 10-0 lead, but foul trouble in the first half helped Weber State make eight of its last nine shots of the half to lead 37-33 at intermission. The Wildcats opened the second half making 8-of-10 shots and opened an 11-point lead.
Eastern closed to within 70-67 on a Jois’ bucket with 1:42 to play but Weber closed things out making four straight free throws in the final 48 seconds.
EWU is now 4-29 all-time at the Dee Events Center. Weber enjoyed a slight 48-44 edge in field goal percentage but a 16-0 margin in bench points and 37-29 edge in rebounding. Jeremy Senglin led the Wildcats (2-0, 5-5) with 16 points.
Paul Delaney can be reached at email@example.com.