Trio of Eagles score 20-plus in 88-78 win

Trio of Eagles score 20-plus in 88-78 win

With Mr. 20 on the bench nursing an injury, a trio of other Eagles stepped up to hit the 20-point mark.

The Eastern Washington University men’s basketball team scored seven-straight points in overtime and defeated second-place Northern Colorado 88-78 on Saturday (Feb. 16) in a Big Sky Conference game at Reese Court in Cheney, Wash.

Mason Peatling scored 20 of his points after halftime to finish with a team-high 24, and Jesse Hunt and Tyler Kidd each scored 21 as EWU won for the sixth time in its last nine games. Jacob Davison had 13 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three steals before departing the game in the second half with an ankle sprain. He didn’t return after having scored at least 20 points in six of his last seven games.

“We had guys step up and make some plays,” said Eastern head coach Shantay Legans , whose team hosts Idaho on Monday at Reese Court. “Having multiple players score 20 points is huge. When we lose Jacob we are losing a leader, is somebody who is very, very active on the offensive glass and he gets downhill and gives us another player who can get us two-point baskets. We’ll make sure he gets healthy and we’re hoping he’ll be ready to go on Monday.”

Thanks to its second-best shooting night of the season at 54.5 percent, Eastern equaled the most points to be scored against the Bears in league play this season. Northern Colorado entered allowing 68.8 points per game overall, and had the best average in league games only at 64.9 per outing.

The game featured seven ties and eight lead changes. Eastern is just 1-12 on opponent home courts this season, but are now 8-3 at Reese Court with a six-game winning streak.

The first half included seven lead changes and three ties, as both teams had big scoring runs in the first half in which UNC led 40-38. The Eagles had a stretch of seven-straight made field goals early in the second half and ended up leading for most of the remainder of the game.

Kidd had five points and Peatling had four in the 12-2 run that opened a 53-46 lead with 14:48 to play. At that point, the Eagles were shooting a blistering 23-of-38 from the field for 61 percent.

The Bears would tie it at 61, but then Peatling scored six in an 11-3 run to regain a 72-64 advantage with 4:27 left. A 3-pointer by Kidd at the 3:35 mark maintained EWU’s eight-point lead, but those were the last points EWU would score in the half and UNC rallied to send the game into overtime tied at 75.

But it was all Eagles in the OT, as EWU scored seven-straight points to take command. Eastern made 3-of-5 shots in the extra period while holding UNC to 1-of-6 from the field.

Records . . .

* The Eagles are now 9-15 overall, and 7-6 in Big Sky Conference play, and moved into fifth place in the league standings pending results of tonight’s games. The Eagles are now 8-3 at home this season and 1-12 on the road, with the lone victory away from home coming at Sacramento State 94-92 in overtime on Jan. 26.

* The Bears fell to 11-4 in the Big Sky and 17-9 overall, and had beaten EWU 75-63 in Greeley on Jan. 7. The Bears had registered road wins at Idaho, Montana State, Idaho State and Northern Arizona since then. In fact, UNC is now 9-5 on the road this season and 8-2 at home (0-2 on neutral courts), and also beat Sacramento State and Portland State on the road to open league play. Entering Saturday, senior guard Jordan Davis leads the Big Sky in scoring, and has averages of 23.6 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game. He scored 20 against the Eagles, but needed 20 field goal attempts to do it (7-of-20).

* Both of EWU’s foes this week were at the opposite end of the league standings, and faced off against each other on Thursday (Feb. 14) in Moscow. The Bears won that game 75-47 to drop the Vandals to 1-12 in the Big Sky and 4-20 overall, and Idaho hasn’t won since beating EWU 74-71 on Jan. 3 in Moscow.

* Entering action Saturday night, Montana is in sole possession of first in the league standings at 11-2. Northern Colorado (11-4) is right behind the Grizzlies, followed by Weber State (9-5), MSU (9-5), EWU (now 7-6) and Southern Utah, with Sacramento State (5-8), Portland State (5-8), Idaho State (5-9) and Northern Arizona (5-9) close behind. Staying at the top of the league standings is important because the top five teams in the league gain a first-round bye in the Big Sky Conference Tournament March 13-16 in Boise, Idaho.

What’s Next . . .

* The Eagles face Idaho Monday (Feb. 18) in a President’s Day doubleheader with the Eagle and Vandal women’s teams. The women begin at 2:05 p.m., with the men’s game starting at approximately 4:15 p.m. or 30 minutes prior to the conclusion of the women’s contest. The Idaho double header will be televised live regionally on SWX. Idaho is led by guard Trevon Allen, who is averaging 14.1 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game. He scored 25 in the first meeting versus the Eagles. Idaho also has guard Cameron Tyson (13.0) averaging in double figures, with 6-8 forward Jared Rodriguez (9.9) close to it.

Top Performers . . .

* Junior Mason Peatling had just four points at halftime, but he finished the game with 24 points and eight rebounds on 11-of-15 shooting from the field. An honorable mention All-Big Sky selection a year ago, he now has 25 career games scoring in double figures, with eight rebounding in double figures and six double-doubles (one this season).