EWU men’s basketball earns overtime road win at Sacramento State

EWU men’s basketball earns overtime road win at Sacramento State

After leading for 39 minutes of action, the Eastern Washington University men’s basketball team picked up a 94-92 overtime victory over Sacramento State on Saturday (Jan. 26) in a Big Sky Conference game at The Nest in Sacramento, Calif.

Eastern Washington had four players in double figures, led by Jesse Hunt who had a double-double of 22 points and a career-high 17 rebounds. Tyler Kidd followed with a career-best 20 points while Jacob Davison added 19. Mason Peatling also turned in a double-double with 17 points and 13 rebounds.

The first tie of the game came with one second left in regulation when Sacramento State made the game-tying three-pointer to send the contest into overtime. The overtime period was a back-and-forth affair, but the Eagles prevailed.

“For the team to be up 10 with two minutes to go and eventually go to overtime, the player’s characters to shined through to get a two-point win after all of the momentum.

We told them in the locker room that the hardest one to win is your first road win, and tonight the guys came out there and they deserved it, they played hard,” said head coach Shantay Legans . “We stuck with it and were mentally tough. It was a fun game, Sacramento State stuck with it and fought and battled.”

Eastern Washington, now 1-10 on the road this season, shot lights out to begin the first, opening on a 17-2 run. The Eagles scored nine unanswered points to begin the game and held the Hornets without a field goal until the 15:59 mark, exploding for eight more unanswered points after Sacramento State got on the board. The explosive start included the Eagles making 6-of-11 (54.5%) and was highlighted by two three-pointers from Jesse Hunt and six points from Mason Peatling .

The Eagles held Sacramento State to 32.3 percent from the field on just 10-for-31 shooting. The Hornets used an 11-2 run to come within six points, but a Peatling three-pointer gave Eastern its largest lead of the half, 30-13, and capped an 11-0 run.

Sacramento State closed on a 7-0 run to keep the Eagles off the board for the final two minutes of action, but EWU held the 36-26 advantage.

Eastern Washington shot 41.7 percent in the first half, making 15-of-36 from the field with six three-pointers. Jesse Hunt garnered his sixth double-double of the season in the first half of the game as he headed into the locker room with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Mason Peatling added 11 points.

The Eagles were steady in the second half, knocking down 12-of-23 from the field (52.2%). And after not taking a single free throw attempt in the first half, they were 13-of-15 from the charity stripe. Sacramento State also hit half of its attempts on 17-of-35 from the field.

Eastern held a lead of at least eight points for the majority of the second half, using a stretch of making six out of seven shots to lead 58-44. Later, EWU made five straight attempts including back-to-back three-pointers from Cody Benzel and Hunt.

Eastern Washington led 70-60 when Sacramento State made it interesting. The Hornets used a 6-0 spurt to cut Eastern’s lead to 70-66 with 36 seconds remaining. Both teams would begin exchanging free throw attempts. Kidd headed to line with a one-point lead, 74-73 and made both free throw attempts.

With one second on the clock, Sacramento State’s Marcus Graves tied the game with a three-pointer, sending the game into overtime with a score of 76-76. The tie marked the first time all game that Eastern Washington did not hold the lead.

Tyler Kidd made both free throw attempts to give the Eagles an 85-81 lead in overtime when Sacramento State used a 6-0 run to take an 87-85 lead with 1:46 remaining.

With 13 seconds left, Davison sunk two free throws to give EWU a 93-90 advantage. After Sacramento State responded with two free throws of their own, Kidd headed to the line with four seconds remaining. He would make 1-of-2, but it was enough as the Hornets’ final shot attempt fell short and Eastern Washington held off Sacramento State for the 94-92 overtime victory.

Records . . .

* The Eagles are 6-13, and 4-4 in Big Sky Conference play. Besides beating pre-season favorite Montana 78-71 on Jan. 10 and then knocking off Montana State 85-81 on Jan. 19, Eastern beat Idaho State 65-55 on Dec. 31 for its other league win thus far.

* The Hornets are now 2-6 in the league and 8-9 on the season. Sacramento State lost its first four league games, but won two of its next three – including a 69-48 win over Idaho on Jan. 24 which evened its overall record at 8-8.

What’s Next . . .

* The Eagles will return to Reese Court to face Southern Utah (Feb. 2) and Northern Arizona (Feb. 4). Those two teams will play each other on Monday, Feb. 4 in Flagstaff, Ariz. The Thunderbirds are currently 4-4 in the Big Sky and 9-8 overall, while NAU is 3-5 in the league and 5-13 on the season after Saturday’s 63-48 loss at home to Northern Colorado.

Top Performers . . .

* Senior Jesse Hunt led the Eagles with 22 points (8-12) and a career-high 17 rebounds. He now has six double-doubles on the season and seven in his career. He has had 21 career double-figure scoring performances in his career to go along with 10 performances with 10 or more rebounds. Hunt also made four out of six three-point attempts while leading the team with six assists.

* Jacob Davison , coming off a pair of 20-point performances, scored 19 points in the outing. He was 6-of-12 from the field with three assists while making 7-of-9 from the free throw line. Davison added six points in overtime, including an old-fashioned three-point play.

* Junior guard Tyler Kidd had a career-high 20 points, 12 of which came in the second half, in the fifth start of his EWU career after coming off the bench in the first 12 games he played this season. He has now scored in double figures seven times, all coming in EWU’s last nine games. Kidd was 4-for-13 from the field and made 11 of 12 free throw attempts to lead the Eagles.

* Junior Mason Peatling had 17 points and 13 rebounds for a double-double before fouling out in the second half . He now has 23 career games scoring in double figures, with seven rebounding in double figures and six double-doubles.

Key Stats . . .

* Eastern Washington shot 47.7 percent from the field on 31-of-65 shooting. They made 11 of 24 three-point attempts (45.8%) and were 21-for-26 from the free throw line, all coming in the second half.

* Sacramento State shot 41.9 percent from the field (31-74). They were held to just 29.4 percent (5-17) behind the arc and were 25-for-33 from the free throw line (75.8%).

* The Eagles scored 32 points in the paint and 15 steals to Sacramento State’s 12.

* Eastern is now 6-0 this season when it makes at least 45 percent of its shots from the field (1-0 at 50 percent or better) and 0-13 when it doesn’t.

* Eastern had out-rebounded its last three opponents after having just two rebounding advantages in their first 16 games. Tonight, they out-rebounded the Hornets 44-to-41.

* One game earlier, Eastern allowed Portland State to sink 60.4 percent in a 78-65 loss at PSU on Jan. 24.

Notables . . .

* Senior guard Cody Benzel continues to climb Eastern’s career 3-pointers made list, ranking fifth in school history with 181. Benzel is now just one 3-pointer away from moving into a tie with Marc Axton on EWU’s all-time leaders list (184 from 2002-05). Senior teammate Ty Gibson is 11th with 134. Both of them have played in more than 100 games for the Eagles, with current totals of 120 (seventh in school history) and 116 (11th) games of experience, respectively. Jesse Hunt is right behind with 102 games played.

* Since Eastern became a member of NCAA Division I in the 1983-84 season, the Eagles are now 36-14 versus Sacramento State, and the two schools did not play against each other prior to that. The Eagles have won 29 of their last 39 games against the Hornets with a nine-game winning streak, and have a 21-3 record versus Sacramento State in Cheney, are 13-11 in Sacramento and 2-0 on a neutral court. Eastern is 2-0 versus Sac State in the Big Sky Conference Tournament, winning 89-70 in the 2017 quarterfinals in Reno, Nevada, and 91-83 in the 2015 quarterfinals in Missoula.

* Eastern improved to 5-3 at Reese Court this season with the wins over Montana and Montana State. The Eagles are 51-9 overall there in the last four-plus seasons (85 percent). In the previous four seasons, EWU has gone 46-6 at Reese Court, including an 11-1 mark last season and 15-1 record in 2016-17.

More Comments from Head Coach Shantay Legans . . .

On Overcoming Adversity: “It’s huge, we’ve been on the other side of that this year. To do this on the road is hard, the crowd was nice with a lot of fans, so we had to stick with it and be tough, mentally and physically. We beat them on the glass and they beat teams on the glass all the time, so to see that was huge. When you’re able to have those guys play the way that they did, I couldn’t be a prouder coach.”

On Second Chance Points & Point off Turnovers: “It’s tough, we do have to be better on the glass. We didn’t shoot a free throw in the first half and to make 21 of 26 free throws in the second half is huge. Coming into this game, we were confident and playing great. We didn’t play great last game, but our offense was there and tonight we needed our defense to step up. When it counted the most, we got big time stops and I’m proud of the guys.”