No. 22 Georgetown ends Eastern Washington's record-breaking season with 84-74 win over Eagles in the second round of the NCAA Tournament
The firepower of the Hoyas was hard to match by the Eagles.
The 13th-seeded Eastern Washington University men's basketball team was outscored 33-6 in a 12 1/2 minute stretch spanning the first and second halves and fell to fourth-seeded and 22nd-ranked Georgetown 84-74 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament Thursday (March 19) at the Moda Center in Portland, Ore.
Eastern, featuring the third-ranked offense in NCAA Division I, made only 2-of-15 shots in that game-deciding stretch as EWU was making its second NCAA Tournament appearance in school history – and third postseason appearance as a member of NCAA Division I.
"I just wish practice for next year could start tomorrow because I really, really love the heart and fight of the guys on my team," said Eastern head coach Jim Hayford. "We don't have just a good team, but we've built a good program."
The Eagles led by as many as seven in the first half, with the nation's leading scorer, Tyler Harvey, scoring 13 of his 27 points in the first half. He ended the game with the Big Sky record for season 3-pointers (128) and a school record for scoring (738). But Georgetown advances to play Utah in the third round in the South Region of the NCAA Tournament after the Utes beat Stephen F. Austin 57-50.
Eastern's season ended with a 26-9 record, the Big Sky Conference regular-season co-championship and the league's tournament title. Venky Jois finished with 19 points and eight rebounds for the Eagles, and also had a pair of blocked shots to set the school single season record (69).
Won-Lost Records . . .
* Eastern closed the year 26-9 on the season after finishing 14-4 in the league. EWU owns school records for overall and Big Sky victories in 32 seasons as a member of NCAA Division I.
* The Hoyas improved to 22-10 overall this season after finishing 12-6 in the Big East Conference. The Hoyas lost to Xavier 65-63 in the semifinals of the Big East Tournament on March 13. Earlier this season on Dec. 27, the Hoyas won 91-87 in overtime over Indiana, which fell to Eastern 88-86 on Nov. 24.
What It Means . . .
* Eastern's resume entering the game – featuring the 17th-most wins in NCAA Division I (24th in winning percentage at .765), a marquee win at Indiana and the nation's leading scorer -- made the Eagles a popular upset pick over the Hoyas. Georgetown has a storied past, but it had lost five of its last 12 games. Plus, since reaching the 2007 Final Four, Georgetown had lost to double-digit seeds in each tournament it has made. The Hoyas lost to No. 10 Davidson in 2008, No. 14 Ohio in 2010, No. 11 VCU in 2011, No. 11 N.C. State in 2012 and No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast in 2013.
What's Next . . .
* The Eagles had just three seniors and expect to contend in 2015-16 for the school's fourth national postseason appearance in school history. The 2014-15 squad joined the 2003-04 EWU squad in advancing to the NCAA Tournament. The 2002-03 team advanced to the NIT for EWU's only other national postseason appearance in 32 seasons as a member of NCAA Division I.
Tweets of the Game . . .
Keys to Game . . .
* Georgetown's starters had a total of eight inches of height on the Eagles (1.6 per player), plus, four Hoyas 6-foot-6 or taller came off the bench to contribute 37 points and 18 rebounds. The results of the size advantage were a 19-8 advantage in second-chance points, a 36-28 rebounding advantage and a bench contribution double that of EWU (45-21).
Top Performers . . .
* Junior Tyler Harvey led all scorers with 27 points, closing his junior season by making 6-of-12 3-pointers and 9-of-20 overall.
* Junior Venky Jois made 8-of-12 shots from the field and finished with 19 pointers, eight rebounds and two blocked shots.
* Bogdan Bliznyuk, the Big Sky Conference Freshman of the Year, scored 11 points and had six rebounds and a pair of assists.
Turning Point . . .
* After Georgetown opened a 23-point lead early in the second half, the Eagles went on a 10-0 run to cut into the lead, then held the Hoyas scoreless for more than seven minutes to cut the lead to 10. But the closest EWU could get down the stretch was seven, and the Hoyas iced the win by making 9-of-12 free throws in the final 1:21.
Key Stats . . .
* Eastern shot well below its season averages, while the Hoyas exceeded their season marks. The Eagles made 41 percent of its shots, including 9-of-28 3-pointers for 32 percent, compared to season percentages of 49 and 39 percent, respectively. Georgetown made 52 percent overall and sank 11-of-23 3-pointers for 48 percent. The Hoyas entered the game making 46 percent overall and 35 percent from the 3-point arc.
Team Highlights . . .
* The Eagles made just two of its first 12 shots, but an 8-0 run gave EWU a 12-7 advantage over the Hoyas on a 3-pointer by Tyler Harvey at the 12:16 mark. The Eagles followed with three more treys as part of a 7-of-9 stretch that gave EWU a 24-17 advantage with 8:12 to play. After a Harvey 3-pointer gave EWU a 29-25 lead at the 5:50 mark, Georgetown followed with an 18-2 run as EWU made just one of its last seven shots from the field while the Hoyas sank 10 of their last 13. Harvey had 13 in the first 20 minutes, but Georgetown made 57 percent of its shots and had 12 second-chance points. The Hoyas opened the second half on a 15-2 run to take its biggest lead of the game at 58-35 with 13:27 to play and complete it's 33-6 surge.
Notables . . .
• Tyler Harvey broke the school's single season record for points, with a total of 738 to move past two performances by current Indiana Pacer Rodney Stuckey (712 in 2007 and 726 in 2006). Harvey had six 3-pointers versus the Hoyas to give him 128 this season and break the Big Sky Conference record of 124 set by Stephen Sir of Northern Arizona in 2007. Harvey had 109 last season and is the first player in league history to have two single season performances of 100 treys. Earlier this season, Harvey broke the school record for career 3-pointers made, with a current total of 260 to eclipse the previous record of 184 set by Marc Axton (2002-05). Harvey is the 17th player in Big Sky Conference history to make at least 200 and is currently fifth in league history (three away from ranking fourth). Harvey has now had 43 performances in his career with at least 20 points and 11 with at least 30, and scored in double figures in 40-straight games until the streak was broken on March 13 (total of 68). He has a career total of 1,564 points, moving past EWU Hall of Famer Irv Leifer (1,550 from 1942-47) against the Hoyas to rank second in school history. The record holder is Ron Cox (1,741 from 1974-77), who is in the EWU Hall of Fame and had his jersey retired in 2014.
* Junior Venky Jois had a pair of blocked shots to break the single season school record of 68 set by Martin Seiferth in 2013. Jois owns three of the top five single season performances in school history, with 69 blocks this season, 49 last season (fifth) and 66 as a freshman (third). He 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 1,278 to rank 10th. He continues to add to his career record for blocked shots, and now has 184 in his career to rank sixth all-time in the Big Sky Conference (three from fifth). Jois has had 16 performances in his career with at least 20 points and two with at least 30, and has 26 career double-doubles (eight in the 2014-15 season).
* Eastern joined the 2003-04 EWU squad in advancing to the NCAA Tournament. The 2002-03 team advanced to the NIT for EWU's only other national postseason appearance in 32 seasons as a member of NCAA Division I. Eastern lost to Wyoming 78-71 in the first round of the NIT in 2003, and lost 75-56 to Oklahoma State in the NCAA Tournament a year later.
* This was the seventh NCAA Tournament Eastern head coach Jim Hayford has coached in, including the last six (2003, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011) at NCAA Division III Whitworth. He is now 6-7 in NCAA tourney games, including an Elite Eight appearance in his final season. Whitworth is located in nearby Spokane, Wash., which is also home to perennial NCAA Tournament participant Gonzaga. Hayford was selected as the 2014-15 Big Sky Conference Coach of the Year by the league's head coaches, and received the same honor from College Hoops Daily.
* The Big Sky Conference is 17-59 in the NCAA Tournament, with the last victory coming in 2006 when No. 12 seed Montana beat Nevada in Salt Lake City. In 1995, Weber State lost to Georgetown 53-51 on a last-second shot to advance to the Sweet 16.
More Comments from Head Coach Jim Hayford . . .
On His Team: "You saw my team has great character and great fight. We played it down until the end. I'm just really proud. That was a top 25 team that beat us and we gave them a really good game."
On Shooting Difference: "The difference tonight was how they shot the ball and how we shot the ball. We needed a really good shooting night to beat them. We didn't bring it. That probably needs to be a credit to them for their defense. Those are some long guys that you're shooting over, and they play very smart. I give them full credit. We didn't lose tonight; they beat us."
On Joshua Smith: "He's hard to get around. You have to leave the arena, get a ticket and come back in if you're going to go around him and get a rebound. That's tough. We would have loved to have him out on the court more. I think Venky did a great job of attacking him. We game planned him for playing about 20 minutes, not six. He's good."
On Bold Prediction of a Victory: "I wouldn't have wanted to play this team without my team having full confidence."
Comments from Tyler Harvey . . .
On Size of Hoyas: "Georgetown is a really big team -- we don't have those kind of teams in the Big Sky. They're really long and they're aggressive on defense. We got a couple open looks that just didn't go down for us. You've got to hit shots against them."
On Georgetown 3-Pointers: "We were trying to focus on inside-out defense against them. They can pound it inside. We were there and forced the kick outs, but they were knocking it down. They were tall guys shooting it over us. Credit to them, they were knocking them down."
Comments from Venky Jois . . .
On Size of Hoyas: "In the post, you're facing 6-10 athletic guys you don't see in the Big Sky. It's just a different look. Like coach said, it