Eagles Seek 18-Win Milestone and Rare Road Sweep in Montana Saturday versus MSU

Eagles Seek 18-Win Milestone and Rare Road Sweep in Montana Saturday versus MSU

Victory for 8-1 Eagles over 1-9 Bobcats could match 18 wins of NIT team of 2003, but Eagles expect hard-fought game versus Bobcats

Complete Release in .PDF Format

Upcoming Games

Saturday, February 7 - Worthington Arena (4,500) - Bozeman, Montana
1:35 p.m. Pacific - Eastern Washington (17-5/8-1) Big Sky at Montana State (4-18/1-9 Big Sky)

Thursday, February 12 - Reese Court (5,000) - Cheney, Wash.
6:05 p.m. Pacific - Eastern Washington versus Sacramento State (15-6/9-1 Big Sky - host PSU 2/7)

 


Coverage

TV: None.
Webcast:
All Big Sky games are carried at http://www.watchbigsky.com and via the new iphone/android app "Watch Big Sky"
Radio:
All Eastern games are on 700-AM ESPN in Spokane. Larry Weir returns for his 22nd season calling the play-by-play, starting 20 minutes prior to tipoff.
Internet Radio:
www.700espn.com or www.tunein.com
Radio iPhone App:
Search for "Spokane Radio" and download app. An app is also available for tunein radio.
Live Stats: Montana CLICK HERE; Montana State CLICK HEREewustats.com (EWU home games).

 


 

Jim Hayford has seen a dangerous Big Sky Conference team like this before. His own from two seasons ago.

The Eastern Washington University head men's basketball coach takes his team to Bozeman, Mont., on Saturday (Feb. 7) in hopes of achieving a milestone victory for his Eagles against a young, but talented Montana State team. Tipoff at Worthington Arena is 1:35 p.m. Pacific time in a game that may be heard live via radio on 700-AM ESPN and via the web at www.700espon.com. They may also be viewed via www.watchbigsky.com and via "Watch Big Sky" mobile phone apps.

Eastern, 17-5 overall and 8-1 in the Big Sky Conference, will be trying to match EWU's 2002-03 National Invitation Tournament squad with 18 victories. Eastern's NCAA Tournament team of 2003-04 had 17 wins, and the school record for NCAA Division wins is 20 set in 1985-86 by EWU's independent squad.

The Eagles will also be trying to sweep in Montana for only the fourth time in 28 seasons a member of the Big Sky Conference, and first since 2004. If both the EWU men's and women's teams sweep the Bobcats, it will be Eastern's first-ever 4-0 weekend in school history.

The Bobcats, under first-year head coach Brian Fish, are just 4-18 overall and 1-9 in the Big Sky Conference, reminds Hayford of his freshman-laden team of two seasons ago, which finished the year 10-21 overall and 7-13 in the league. Montana State is averaging 8.1 3-pointers per game to rank third in the league and 30th in NCAA Division I. The Bobcats have hoisted 504 treys – second only to EWU's 542.

"They can shoot the three, and when you look back at when we were a younger team, there were a couple of nights we shot the stink out of the basketball when nothing else was working," Hayford said. "And we got wins out of it. So we have to respect them as a 3-point shooting team."

The Bobcats are 4-5 at home and 0-12 on the road this season, and have lost three games by seven points or less. Montana State's lone league win was a 79-65 home victory on Jan. 22 versus Southern Utah, and MSU is coming off an 80-71 loss to Idaho when they led by as many as 11 in the second half.

 "They are right there in all of their games for about 35 minutes – they just seem to run out of gas and aren't finishing games," explained Hayford. "They keep getting better every week because they are well-coached. On their home court, we expect to see a better Montana State team than we've seen all year against other opponents. We'll go there and show them our respect."

Despite NCAA scoring leader Tyler Harvey being left home to receive treatment for a quadriceps contusion, Eastern won at Montana 75-69 on Thursday (Feb. 5). Now with nine victories in their last 11 games, the Eagles improved to 17-5 on the season. Last year, the Eagles were 15-16 overall and missed the Big Sky Conference Tournament with a 10-10 league mark.

The Eagles were ranked a season-high 12th in this week's Collegeinsider.com mid-major poll, and are a Big Sky-best and season-high 57th nationally in the RPI rankings. The Eagles are now 6-5 on the road and a perfect 11-0 at home at Reese Court.

 

Link to Fact Book

The complete version of the 2014-15 EWU men's basketball fact book may be found at:
http://goeags.com/trads/ewas-factbooks.html

 

More Eagle Basketball Links

Eastern Basketball -- http://goeags.com/sports/m-baskbl/index
Link to Ticket Information: http://www.goeags.com/tickets
Spokesman-Review EWU Basketball Page: http://www.spokesman.com/ewuhoops
Story on EWU Becoming America's Favorite Team: http://www.sbnation.com/college-basketball/2015/1/27/7922505/eastern-washington-basketball-2014-15-ncaa-tournament-tyler-harvey
Story on Tyler Harvey by Yahoo! Sports: http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/ncaab-the-dagger/how-tyler-harvey-went-from-zero-scholarships-to-the-nation-s-leading-scorer-184409702.html
Story on Tyler Harvey Listed as the Top 3-Point Shooter in the Nation: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2340158-ranking-the-deadliest-3-point-assassins-in-college-basketball-in-2014-15/page/12
Story on Tyler Harvey in SLAM! Magazine: http://www.slamonline.com/college-hs/college/tyler-harvey-eastern-washington/
Story on Tyler Harvey by Lindsay Joy from SWX/KHQ TV: http://www.swxrightnow.com/story/27853836/from-unknown-to-unmistakable-the-story-of-ewus-tyler-harvey
Australian "Flag Flyers" Interview of Venky Jois: https://soundcloud.com/sen1116/the-flag-flyers-venky-jois
Story on EWU Men's Basketball "Champs Program" at Whitman Elementary: http://www.swxrightnow.com/story/27610128/ewu-mens-basketball-taking-time-to-build-champs
Big Sky Conference Basketball -- http://www.bigskyconf.com/index.aspx?tab=basketball&path=mbball
NCAA Basketball -- http://www.ncaa.com/sports/m-baskbl/ncaa-m-baskbl-body.html
ESPN College Scoreboard -- http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/scoreboard
Rodney Stuckey NBA Page -- http://www.nba.com/playerfile/rodney_stuckey/index.html
More Information and Links are Available at: HTTP://WWW.GOEAGS.COM

 

Upcoming Opponents 

* Following the MSU game, the Eagles return home to face first-place Sacramento State (9-1, 15-6 overall) on Feb. 12 at Reese Court and then host Portland State (5-5, 11-9) on Valentine's Day on Feb. 14. The league schedule continues through early March, with the top eight teams qualifying for the Big Sky Conference Tournament on March 12-14 at the site of the regular season champion.

 
 

EWU vs. Montana State Series Notes

* Eastern has won five of the last six meetings against MSU, including a sweep last season with a 77-72 home win followed by a 79-50 road romp. Since Eastern became a member of NCAA Division I in the 1983-84 season, the Eagles are 27-35 against Montana State (includes two MSU forfeits in the 1993-94 season). Since 1983-84, Eastern is 8-23 in Bozeman and 19-12 in Cheney against the Bobcats. EWU trails in the all-time series 34-43 (21-12 in Cheney, 10-28 in Bozeman, 3-3 neutral).

* In the 2011-12 season, Eastern recorded a huge 82-66 road victory over the Bobcats in the first Big Sky Conference game in the head coaching career of Jim Hayford, then later in the year won in Cheney 69-52.

* Eastern has won 16 of the last 29 after winning just once in the previous 13 games (not counting two MSU forfeits). However, Eastern is just 8-10 against the Bobcats in the last 18 meetings, including losses in Bozeman in seven of the last nine meetings. Until a 75-73 triumph on Jan. 10, 2010, in Bozeman, the Eagles hadn't won in Bozeman since Feb. 5, 2004, in a 64-61 triumph. Later in the season on Feb. 12, 2010, Eastern won at home against the Bobcats 74-69 to complete EWU's first sweep over MSU since 2004.

 
 

Eagle Tip-Ins 

* The Eagles will be trying to register a sweep of the Montana schools for only the fourth time in 28 seasons as a member of the Big Sky Conference. The only such sweeps came in 1990, 2002 and 2004, which was the last time the Eagles had defeated Montana in Missoula. Only 10 previous times – of a possible 54 weekends of action – has EWU swept the Montana schools home or away.

* Coupled with its women's win versus Montana, Eastern will now be trying for its first-ever men's/women's 4-0 weekend sweep on Saturday against Montana State. Thursday's 65-64 women's win versus the Griz was only the third time in school history in 28 tries both the men's and women's teams have defeated Montana on the same weekend.

* Eastern is a perfect 3-0 thus far in football and men's basketball games against the Bobcats and Grizzlies. Last season, EWU was 5-for-5 until suffering an 82-77 road loss to Montana. Until last season, Eastern had never won more than four of the six meetings in any previous season, and the only time EWU has gone 4-0 against UM and MSU on the court came in 1990. Twice in school history, EWU has defeated Montana and Montana State in football, then followed with a home sweep of the Grizzlies and Bobcats in men's basketball. Besides 2013-14, the other time it happened was in 1992-93.

* With the football team setting school and Big Sky Conference records in scoring at "The Inferno" at Roos Field this past fall, the hoops team is just as prolific on offense. The Eagles are averaging 83.0 points per game to rank third in NCAA Division I, led by the nation's top individual scorer in junior Tyler Harvey (23.4 per game). Eastern's season average is just off the school's Division I record of 84.2 set in the 2006-07 season, and quite a ways from the all-time mark of 90.2 set in 1971-72.

* Eastern's 8-1 start in the league equals the school's best after eight games in EWU's 28-year history as a member of the Big Sky Conference, and EWU will try to be just the second to improve to 9-1. The 2003-04 team – EWU's only squad to advance to the NCAA Tournament -- lost its league opener, then won 11 straight before finishing 11-3. The 1989-90 squad was also 6-1, then lost a pair of games en route to an 11-5 finish. Eastern's school record for league wins in a season was set in 1999-00 when the Eagles were 12-4, which included a 5-2 start followed by six-straight victories.

* In NCAA Division I statistics through games of Feb. 5, the Eagles are ranked a season-high third in scoring offense (83.0 per game), eighth in field goal percentage (49.4 percent), fourth in 3-pointers made per game (10.3), 27th in blocked shots (5.2 per game) and 37th in assist-to-turnover ratio (+1.29 per game). Eastern leads the league in all five categories. The Eagles are also 20th nationally and second in the league in free throw percentage (74.3 percent), third/second in 3-point field goal percentage (41.9 percent), and are 24th/2nd in fewest turnovers per game (10.8).

* Eastern was ranked a season-high 12th in the Collegeinsider.com mid-major poll released Feb. 2. EWU was 13th on Jan. 26, 14th on Jan. 19 and 13th on Jan. 12, and in the three previous weeks (Jan. 6, Dec. 29 and Dec. 22) was 19th. The next poll will be announced the afternoon of Feb. 9.

* Eastern's 17 victories already exceed the total of 15 the Eagles had all of last season, as the Eagles continue to chase the school record for NCAA Division I victories. Eastern has now been a DI member for 32 seasons, and the high-water mark was a 20-8 record as an independent in the 1985-86 season. The Eagles won their 10th game of the season on Jan. 1, the fastest the school has hit that mark since the 1945-46 season when that Eastern Hall of Fame team finished 31-4. In the 1985-86 season, the Eagles recorded their 10th win on Jan. 6 against Western Illinois (their 17th was on Feb. 10 and their 18th was on Feb. 12). By comparison, last year's team won its 10th game on Feb. 6 and in 2012-13 the Eagles won their 10th and final game on March 7.

* The Eagles are a perfect 11-0 at Reese Court and have won those games by a combined 203 points (18.5 per game). Eastern opened the season with a pair of impressive victories over NCAA Division I teams who participated in the postseason a year ago. The Eagles beat NCAA Tourney team Texas Southern (86-62) before defeating NIT participant Utah Valley (75-50), then romped past Walla Walla 95-34. The fourth victory at Reese Court was a 21-point victory over Northern Kentucky (81-60) and the fifth was a 104-87 win over Eastern Oregon. The sixth was an 87-81 victory against Lewis-Clark State, which rallied late after falling behind by 20 in the second half. In league play, Eastern defeated defending Big Sky Champion and preseason favorite Weber State (84-78) and Idaho State (65-57) at home, then knocked off Northern Colorado 95-85 after building a 31-point lead. The team's 10th home win was a 102-80 victory over North Dakota in which the Eagles scored 67 second-half points. The 11th was a 98-95 overtime win over Idaho after the Eagles rallied from 17 down in the second half and 11 with 1:13 to play, with a driving layin at the buzzer by Drew Brandon sending it to overtime.

* Eastern's marksmanship in league play from the free throw line has been impressive, with a current league-leading percentage of .805. Among those with enough attempts to qualify, Tyler Harvey (93.1 percent), Drew Brandon (82.9) and Bogdan Bliznyuk (79.4) are 1-7-12 in the league. Overall, Eastern is second in the league and 20th in NCAA Division I at 74.3 percent, with Harvey ranking 37th nationally and second in the league (86.1). Brandon (seventh, 82.5), Bliznyuk (81.4) and Parker Kelly (79.4) also have impressive season percentages.

* Eastern is now 15-0 when it has a better shooting percentage than its opponent, 15-1 when making at least 45 percent of its shots and 8-0 when holding the opponent to less than 45 percent. The Eagles are also 10-1 when they out-rebound or equal opponents, 11-0 when they have at least 36 rebounds and 11-1 when they hold opponents to 35 or less. In addition, Eastern is 11-2 when forcing more/equal turnovers and 10-1 when it has 10 or less turnovers. The Eagles are also 16-2 when scoring 71 points or more and 6-0 when allowing 70 or less.

* The Eagles have won games against teams from six different NCAA Division I conferences. In the preseason, Eastern won six games versus D-I opponents from the Big Ten, West Coast, Western Athletic, Atlantic Sun and Southwestern conferences.

* A 104-87 victory over Eastern Oregon on Nov. 30 gave EWU head coach Jim Hayford an even 300 victories in 16 seasons as a collegiate head coach. He currently is 311-143 in 15-plus seasons as a head coach for a .685 winning percentage. He is 57-59 in 3+ seasons at EWU, was 217-57 at Whitworth and was 37-27 in two seasons at Sioux Falls.

 

Eagle Player Notes 

* Senior point guard Drew Brandon, who has played much of the season with back ailments – as well as a recently-disclosed broken finger – attempted a career-high 20 shots from the field and equaled his career high with 27 points in EWU's 75-69 win over Montana (2/5/15) when EWU had to play without leading scorer Tyler Harvey. That eclipsed the 16 he had attempted in games versus Washington (11/17/13) and Indiana (11/24/14). He made 10 of them, equaling his high set versus the Hoosiers when he also finished with 27 points. Brandon was named co-Big Sky Conference Player of the Week on Feb. 2 for nearly finishing with a triple-double in EWU's 98-95 overtime victory over Idaho on Jan. 31. It was the second time this season the league honored Brandon, who was also named the league's player of the week by College Sports Madness. With Tyler Harvey out of the game for the final 7:31, Brandon helped replace the lost offense and finished with 18 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds. He also had just one turnover in 44 minutes of action. He had a steal with 1:11 left that resulted in a basket that cut Idaho's lead to five, and also made a pair of free throws down the stretch before his game-tying driving layin at the buzzer sent the game into overtime. One game earlier, he had a career-high 13 assists, 11 points and eight rebounds in EWU's 102-80 victory over North Dakota on Jan. 24. One other time in his career he's come one stat away from a triple-double, and one other occasion he was two rebounds from a triple-double. Brandon has now had three-straight double-doubles, having finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds (and four assists) against Northern Colorado on Jan. 22. He now has five double-doubles this season and 10 in his career. Brandon has the second-best assist average in school history, a mark of 5.3 that trails the 8.4 average of Ed Waters (1974-77).

* On the watch list for the Lou Henson Award given to the nation's top mid-major player, junior Tyler Harvey suffered a quadriceps contusion in the first half against Idaho on Jan. 31 and sat out the Montana game on Feb. 5. He had a season-low 13 points in 28 minutes after missing the last 7:31 of regulation and overtime in the 98-95 come-from-behind Eagle win. In EWU's first two games of its 3-0 home stand, Harvey scored 61 points to earn co-Big Sky Conference Player of the Week honors from the league office, as well as the same honor by himself from Collegeinsider.com. His performances included a 35-point outing against Northern Colorado on Jan. 22, which was his fourth of at least 30 this season and 10th of his career (three versus UNC). In late January, Harvey was also picked as the "deadliest 3-point assassin" in the nation by bleacherreport.com, and he and the Eagles have also been featured this winter by Yahoo! Sports, Slam! Magazine and SB Nation.

* In NCAA statistics through Feb. 5, Tyler Harvey leads NCAA Division I in both scoring offense (23.4 points per game) and 3-pointers per game (4.33). The junior guard is also fifth in 3-point shooting percentage (47.6 percent) and 37th in free throw percentage (.861). Venky Jois, who has missed three full games and parts of two others with a sprained ankle, is 83rd in per game scoring (17.1), 10th in field goal percentage (60.1 percent) and 21st in blocked shots per game (2.74). Drew Brandon is 29th in assists (5.5) and 31st in assist-to-turnover ratio (+2.70 per game).

* True freshman Bogdan Bliznyuk has provided a boost off the bench during league play, and in the process has established himself as the frontrunner for the Big Sky Conference Freshman of the Year honor won two seasons ago by Eagle Venky Jois. Bliznyuk is averaging 26.2 minutes, 14.9 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.9 assists during the team's 8-1 start to league play. He's made a team-best 61 percent of his shots (48-of-79) in those nine games and has converted 27-of-34 free throws (79 percent). Four times in those nine games he eclipsed his career high for scoring, and three times for rebounding. He had 19 points and 10 rebounds at Sacramento State when he had the first double-double of his Eastern career. At one point he had seven-straight double-figure scoring performance. For the season, Bliznyuk is averaging 8.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 17.0 minutes.

* Three Eagles – all underclassmen -- are averaging at least 11.0 points per game this season, paced by the 23.4 average of junior guard Tyler Harvey and the 17.1 average of junior forward Venky Jois. Jois is also averaging 7.3 rebounds, 2.8 blocked shots, 2.2 assists and 1.5 steals per game, and sophomore forward Ognjen Miljkovic is averaging 11.0 points and 3.3 rebounds. Also, senior point guard Drew Brandon is averaging 9.6 points, 5.5 assists and 7.1 rebounds per outing while battling a broken finger and a season-long bout with back spasms, and has an assist-to-turnover ratio of 116-to-43. Harvey is averaging 18.1 points, 2.4 assists and 3.6 rebounds per game in his 73-game career thus far (56 as a starter), making 223-of-496 3-point attempts for 45.0 percent. Jois  now has 21 double-doubles in his 78-game career (76 as a starter), and is averaging 13.9 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.1 blocked shots per game in his career. Brandon is averaging 5.3 assists, 10.1 points and 6.7 rebounds per game in his 51-game career (50 as a starter) with 10 career double-doubles thus far.

* Senior Parker Kelly is the top 3-point shooter in EWU history not named Tyler Harvey. Kelly has 192 triples in his career, more than the 184 by former record holder Marc Axton (2002-05), who was passed by Harvey earlier this season. Kelly could set the school record for games played when his four-year career ends later this season (the record is 121). In his 113-game career (67 as a starter), he is averaging 8.2 points and an impressive free throw percentage of .840. Also EWU's top defender, he averaged 10.0 points and 34.5 minutes per game in the 2013-14 season and is averaging 8.6 points and 32.2 minutes this year while battling nagging foot and groin injuries.

* Junior Tyler Harvey has now averaged 21.7 points per game in his last 60 games as an Eagle after averaging 1.3 points in his first 13 outings. In fact, his one-year improvement of 14.1 points per game from his freshman to sophomore seasons ranked third in the nation. In EWU's last eight games of the 2012-13 season, he scored 132 points (16.5 average) on 55 percent shooting from the field (52-of-94, including 20-of-44 3-point attempts). In the first 13 games he played as a freshman, Harvey scored just 17 points (by contrast, in the first 13 games in the 2013-14 season he scored 261 with an average of 20.1 per game). In his freshman season, he played in 21 of EWU's 31 games and averaged 14.0 minutes and 7.1 points per game. As a sophomore, he averaged 21.9 points and 37.4 minutes in starting all 31 EWU games.

* In a three-game stretch from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11, Venky Jois made 23-of-27 free throws for 85.1 percent, but in the other games he's played, he's made 37-of-80 (46.3 percent), including just 12 of his first 33 (36 percent). He made 71.2 percent from the line as a freshman (89-of-125), 52.8 percent as a sophomore (94-of-178) and thus far is at 56.1 percent (60-of-107) as a junior. He sank all eight of his shots from the charity line against Eastern Oregon on Nov. 30 and then made 12-of-15 at Seattle on Dec. 6 and 3-of-4 against San Francisco on Dec. 11.

 
 

Eagle Records Watch 

* Tyler Harvey is climbing EWU's single season 3-pointers list, with 91 already this season to rank third in school history. Harvey holds the school record with 109 a year ago (second in league history), and Shannon Taylor made 103 in the 1998-99 season. Earlier this season, Harvey broke the school record for career 3-pointers made, with a current total of 223 to eclipse the previous record of 184 set by Marc Axton (2002-05). He is the 17th player in Big Sky Conference history to make at least 200 and is currently 12th in league history (12 away from ranking 11th). He is currently the school record holder for career free throw percentage (84.9 percent), and is third for career scoring average (18.1) and second in 3-point shooting accuracy (45.0 percent). Harvey has had 35 performances in his career with at least 20 points and 10 with at least 30, and has scored in double figures in 32-straight games (total of 58).

* Parker Kelly is now just 77 points from becoming the 19th player in EWU history – and third this season – to go over the 1,000-point mark in his career. With 923 career points, he is eighth in school history in 3-point percentage (41.0 percent), second in 3-pointers made (192) and third in attempts (468). Kelly could set the school record for games played when his four-year career ends later this season (he has 113 to rank eighth in school history and the record is 121). Kelly's 83.9 percent shooting from the free throw line in his career would rank third in school history (the record is 84.9) if he had enough attempts to qualify (he has 194 and needs 226).

* Junior Venky Jois became the 18th player in EWU history to go over the 1,000-point mark in his career (versus Lewis-Clark State on Dec. 22), and has a current total of 1,085 to rank 15th. He continues to add to his career record for blocked shots, and now has 167 in his career to rank sixth all-time in the Big Sky Conference. He owns three of the top five single season performances in school history, with 52 blocks this season (third), 49 last season (fifth) and 66 as a freshman (second). His 13.90 scoring average is currently 12th and his 8.2 rebounding average is eighth. Jois has had 12 performances in his career with at least 20 points two with at least 30.

 
 

Recent Game Recap

* With Tyler Harvey left home to receive treatment for a quadriceps contusion, senior point guard Drew Brandon equaled his career high with 27 points to lead EWU to a 75-69 victory over the Grizzlies in a Big Sky Feb. 5 at Dahlberg Arena in Missoula Mont.  Winning the game with defense, the Eagles led for 36:10 of the game – compared to just 2:22 for the Grizzlies -- en route to ending a 12-game losing streak to the Grizzlies in Missoula. Junior Venky Jois, who has been hobbled recently with an ankle sprain, finished with 12 points, nine rebounds, two blocked shots and equaled his career highs with seven assists and four steals. Taking over the starting position of Tyler Harvey, sophomore Felix Von Hofe made his second start of the season and second of his career. He finished with 12 points, just two off of his previous career high set against a non-Division I opponent. Eastern held the Grizzlies scoreless for stretches of 3:06, 3:19 and 3:50 during the contest. The Eagles used a pair of scoring runs and seven first-half 3-pointers to take a 33-29 lead at halftime, with Parker Kelly leading the way with a trio of 3-pointers and nine points. Eastern led early 9-0, then were ahead 22-17. After Eastern went 2:50 without scoring and fell behind 26-22, the Eagles responded with an 8-0 run to end the half in holding Montana without a point in the final 3:19.  Tied at 52, Eastern held Montana scoreless for a 3:50 stretch to take a 59-52 lead. Shortly after that, Drew Brandon followed a steal and layin with a dunk down the middle of the key to give the Eagles a 63-54 advantage with 6:42 to play. The Eagles and Grizzlies combined for 24 3-pointers after entering the game with the most in the league. Eastern was 11-of-24 while the Grizzlies were 13-of-24. The Eagles are fifth in NCAA Division I in treys per game (10.3), while the Grizzlies were second in the league and 27th nationally (8.3).Eastern made 51 percent of its shots from the field and held Montana to 46 percent. Most notably, the Eagles held Montana's two leading scorers – Martin Breunig and Jordan Gregory – to a combined 21 points on 6-of-24 shooting (25 percent). They both entered the game averaging more than 17 points per game.

 

 

Quoting Coach Hayford

On Montana Win: "Without Tyler, the team said we were going to take on this challenge on the road, and we were going to win this game with defense. We wanted to show Montana that we can guard too. We did what we have to do to win a big game on the road – we did it with great defense. It is a great win and I'm really happy for our team. There were some Eastern fans who made the drive over to Missoula and it is great to send them back with a win."

On Defense: "Our players studied all week so hard with everything we gave them, and that's why we forced 16 turnovers. It wasn't crazy pressure – we knew their plays. Our players did a really good job of holding the scouting report. We didn't want Breunig and Gregory to get 24 shots between them – they did but we were on them. Between them they made 25 percent."

On Drew Brandon: "This was a good night to show who the true Drew Brandon was. We figured they would leave him alone. His shooting percentage was low because he had a broken finger for the first 10-12 games. He took advantage of it. When we were doing a good job burning the clock in the second half, the terminations came to him and he finished. His dunk at the end was amazing – it was right down the middle. He had 20 shots and didn't take a bad shot the whole night."

On Von Hofe and Kelly: "Felix and Parker combined for 6-of-11 from three, and that kept them spread out. That opened it up for some of our other players. It was just a really good team win."

Jim Hayford on Absence of Tyler Harvey (quadriceps contusion): "We made a decision that the best thing for Tyler and our team is to get him healed as soon as possible. By leaving him with the medical attention that is available at home, that can expedite his recovery even more. The issue is not real complicated. There is a lot of swelling in his thigh, and all that blood needs to work its way out – gravity needs to have its way. Once that clears out he can start moving around. There is no reason to stick him on the bus all weekend when we can have that treatment being done around the clock back home. Everybody is going to have to do a little more. We essentially beat Idaho by 20 with this group of guys. Our players have confidence, but it takes everybody. We responded to Venky's absence, and now we are going to respond to Tyler's absence. We're being put through a lot of adversity, but that is what is going to build depth in our program and help us going into the postseason."

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