Eagles take down Belmont in Cheney

Eagles take down Belmont in Cheney
Copyright 2019 KXLY.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without prior permission.

The Eastern Washington University men’s basketball team sank its final 10 free throws in the last 4 1/2 minutes to help the Eagles defeat a powerful Belmont University squad 87-82 on Tuesday (Nov. 26) at Reese Court in Cheney, Wash.

Playing at home for the first time since a 107-25 thrashing of Portland Bible College three weeks ago, Eastern led for just 8:40 of the game, but was able to take the lead for good with 3:58 to play with an 8-0 run. Kim Aiken Jr. , scored eight of EWU’s last 12 points on his way to his fourth double-double of the season with 11 points and 11 rebounds.

Six Eagles scored in double figures, as all nine players who saw action scored and had at least one rebound. The win helped EWU improve to 4-2, while the Bruins – a NCAA Tournament team a year ago – fell to 4-3.

“Our team came in and took advantage of our opportunity to play a team like that here at home,” said Eastern head coach Shantay Legans . “Belmont is a very well-coached team and a good basketball club. But tonight was our night – we played well and we played hard. We followed the game plan to a tee.”

Senior Mason Peatling led the Eagles with 17 points, and true freshman point guard Ellis Magnuson , redshirt freshman Casson Rouse , sophomore Tanner Groves and junior Jacob Davison also scored in double figures. Eastern sank 13-of-17 free throws in the game and had 10 3 pointers despite getting out-shot 53 percent to 51 percent and out-rebounded 35-32. Eastern held the Bruins to nine 3-pointers on 24 attempts for 37.5 percent in the game.

Eastern trailed early 7-0, but clawed back to knot the game at 40 just before halftime. Eastern took a 68-65 lead in the second half on a basket by Groves, then the game was tied at 75-all when Peatling made a pair of free throws.

That started an 8-0 run that included a basket by Aiken with 3:58 to play to take the lead for good. He also made two free throws with 3:18 left, two with 12 seconds remaining and the icing on the cake with a pair with 3.8 ticks on the clock. A missed front end of a one-plus-one free throw opportunity by the Bruins helped set-up the final four charity shots for Aiken.