Junior forward helps Eastern win a share of the league title after picking up double-doubles in wins over Idaho State and Weber State
In helping the Eastern Washington University men's basketball team capture a share of the league title, junior forward Venky Jois has been named Big Sky Conference Player of the Week for recording double-doubles in EWU's road sweep over Idaho State (85-81) and Weber State (79-71 in overtime).
It was the second time this season and third time in his career that the Australian has been honored as player of the week. Coupled with three honors won by point guard Drew Brandon and three by guard Tyler Harvey, the Eagles have been honored by the league eight times this season.
Besides the honor won by Jois, College Sports Madness named Harvey as its Big Sky player of the week after the leading scorer in NCAA Division I scored 24 points against both ISU and WSU.
It was just the second time since 2004 that the Eagles have registered a two-game road sweep in the league, having won on the road earlier this season at Montana and Montana State. The Eagles (23-8) enter this week's Big Sky Conference Tournament in Missoula as the No. 2 seed, and will face No. 7 Idaho (13-16) at 10 a.m. Pacific time Thursday (March 12) morning.
In the two games last week, Jois averaged 21.5 points and 13.0 rebounds while making 19-of-29 shots from the field for 65.5 percent. He had 21 points and 10 rebounds against Idaho State, then had 22 points and a career-high 16 boards versus Weber State.
In NCAA statistics through March 7, Jois is 79th in per game scoring (17.1), ninth in field goal percentage (60.4 percent), 32nd in blocked shots per game (2.41) and 101st in rebounding (7.6).
"We congratulate Venky -- he's put a string of four-straight double-doubles together, which is an indication he is getting healthier," said Eastern head coach Jim Hayford. "He is one of the premier Big Sky players in the league and he's playing like it. I expect him to have a great Big Sky Tournament."
In his last four games, he has averaged 20.0 points and 12.0 rebounds per game while making 66.0 percent of his shots (35-of-53). Jois, who was hampered in January and February with a sprained ankle, now has seven double-doubles on the season and 25 in his career.
Before this four-game stretch, he hadn't had a double-double since Dec. 11 against San Francisco. EWU's first two league losses this season came when Jois had been held out because of a sprained ankle. He missed the Portland State game on Feb. 14 after aggravating his injury in EWU's victory over Sacramento State two days earlier. He had missed the previous game in January versus Sac State as well as two other full games and parts of two others.