2-2 Eastern Heads for Sacramento to Face Pacific & South Dakota

2-2 Eastern Heads for Sacramento to Face Pacific & South Dakota

Big Sky rival Hornets will entertain non-conference foes, then it will be Eastern's turn to host in 2016

Complete Release in .PDF Format

Upcoming Games

Sacramento State Basketball Invitational

Saturday, Nov. 28 - The Nest (1,012) - Sacramento, Calif.
6:35 p.m. Pacific (approximate) - Eastern Washington (2-2) vs. Univ. of the Pacific (1-3)

Sunday, Nov. 29 - The Nest (1,012) - Sacramento, Calif.
2:35 p.m. Pacific - Eastern Washington vs. South Dakota (1-3 entering 11/24 game) 

Coverage

TV: None.
Webcast:
All Sac State Basketball Invitational games, Eastern home games and non-conference Big Sky Conference road games are carried at http://www.watchbigsky.com
Radio: All Eastern games are on 700-AM ESPN in Spokane. Larry Weir returns for his 23rd season calling the play-by-play, starting 30 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: http://stats.statbroadcast.com/broadcast/?id=108542 (Pacific); http://stats.statbroadcast.com/broadcast/?id=108543 (South Dakota); ewustats.com for EWU home games.


Jim Hayford and Brian Katz are coaching colleagues and good friends who both shared the Big Sky Coach of the Year a year ago in breakout seasons for their schools. Now they are sharing a tournament.

The Eastern Washington University men's basketball team heads for Sacramento, Calif., this week, but it won't be to play Sacramento State in "The Nest." Instead, the Eagles and Hornets will both play the University of the Pacific and South Dakota at the post-Thanksgiving Sacramento State Basketball Invitational.

There will be no tournament winner, as Eastern plays Pacific at approximately 6:35 p.m. on Saturday (Nov. 28) followed by a 2:35 p.m. game on Sunday (Nov. 29) against South Dakota. Sac State takes on South Dakota in Saturday's first game, then plays the final tournament game on Sunday.

Fans can listen to the games on 700-AM ESPN and via the web at www.700espn.com. Pre-game coverage starts a half-hour prior to tipoff, with Larry Weir providing the play-by-play. The games will also be broadcast on www.watchbigky.com.

The Tigers of the West Coast Conference are currently 1-3 after a 79-44 victory over Notre Dame de Namur on Monday night, while the Coyotes are 1-3 heading into a game Tuesday versus South Dakota Mines & Technology. Pacific opened the season with losses to Arizona (79-61), Cal State Fullerton (77-76) and Nevada (85-82). South Dakota from the Summit League has lost to Wright State (77-69), Northern Illinois (72-65) and Kansas State (93-72), with a win over Cal State Northridge (76-72).

"We are playing two teams that play at a level near the top teams in our conference," said Eastern head coach Jim Hayford, whose team is 2-2 following a home win over Seattle (70-66) and a road loss (58-52) in the rematch five days later. "We need to be on our A game in every facet of play."

Next year, the tournament is expected to be played in Cheney, with the Eagles and Hornets hosting two non-conference opponents from the same leagues (Denver from the Summit and San Francisco from the WCC are the tentative opponents).

"This is a two-year agreement where we will host two teams next year," said Hayford of the cooperative effort. "Sac State will join us again to play teams from the WCC and the Summit Conferences next Thanksgiving weekend here in Cheney."

 Last year, Katz led Sac State to a 21-12 record overall and 13-5 finish in the Big Sky to place third. Eastern, the regular season co-champion, knocked off the Hornets in the semifinals of the Big Sky Conference Tournament 91-83. Sac State has begun the 2015-16 season 3-0 heading into a rivalry game with UC Davis on Tuesday.

The Eagles are 2-2 following a 58-52 loss at Seattle on Nov. 23, just five days after EWU won at home against the Redhawks by a 70-66 score. Eastern played its first three games in a six-day stretch to open the year. Eastern lost its opener on Nov. 13 to Mississippi State in Starkville, Miss., and then set school records for steals (23) and points (126) in a 62-point victory over George Fox (126-64) on Nov. 15.

 
 

Link to Fact Book

The complete version of the 2015-16 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
2015-16 Season Outlook -- http://goeags.com/sports/m-baskbl/2015-16/releases/16mbSEASONOUTLOOK.docx

Link to Ticket Information -- http://www.goeags.com/tickets
Spokesman-Review EWU Basketball Page -- http://www.spokesman.com/ewuhoops
Story on Eagle Head Coach Jim Hayford -- http://www.inlander.com/spokane/the-man-in-the-red-blazer/Content?oid=2603878

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
Tyler Harvey NBA D-League Page -- http://dleague.nba.com/player/tyler-harvey/

Rodney Stuckey NBA Page -- http://www.nba.com/playerfile/rodney_stuckey/index.html
More Information and Links are Available at: HTTP://WWW.GOEAGS.COM

 

Opponent/Series Notes 

* Eastern has faced South Dakota twice before, losing on Dec. 20, 2012, by a 78-72 score at the DakotaDome. Eastern won 70-61 the following year (11/15/11) in Cheney. The Coyotes were 17-16 a year ago overall and 9-7 to place fourth in the Summit League, with 6-1 guard Casey Kasperbauer the team's top returning player after averaging 9.9 points a year ago. Through four games this season, he is averaging 13.3 points on 12-of-30 shooting from the 3-point stripe. Guard Tre Burnette has a team-leading 15.3 scoring average.

* Eastern has never faced the University of the Pacific, which was 12-19 a year ago overall and finished ninth in the West Coast Conference with a 4-14 mark. Guard T.J. Wallace is the top returning player for the Tigers, averaging 13.3 points and 5.6 rebounds per game a year ago, and 15.0 and 5.3, respectively, so far this season. Forward Ray Bowles leads the team thus far with averages of 16.5 points and 6.8 rebounds per game.

 

Game Notes 

* With a season-high 18 turnovers, Eastern able to get only 51 shots off in its last outing against Seattle in a 58-52 road loss on Nov. 23. The Eagles had entered the game ranked 20th in NCAA Division I with a plus 5.7 turnover margin per game. Compounded by 39 percent shooting overall and 31 percent from the 3-point stripe (9-of-29), the 52 points dropped Eastern's scoring average for the season to 85.5 (47th in NCAA Division I through games of 11/23). Eastern had scored 290 points in its first three games for an average of 96.7 points per game to rank fifth nationally. Last year's team set a school record with 2,820 points scored and averaged 80.6 per game to rank third in NCAA Division I.

* With Seattle playing zone defense most of the game, Eastern made 15-of-34 3-pointers for 44 percent against the Redhawks in a 70-66 win in Cheney on Nov. 18. Eastern's school records in those two categories are 18 and 44, respectively. But five days later, Eastern managed to make only 9-of-29 3-pointers. A year ago, the Eagles were fifth in NCAA Division I with an average of 9.8 treys per game, and their .400 percentage was eighth. Through four games this season, the Eagles have made 39-of-110 for 36 percent. Eastern is 37th in NCAA Division I (through 11/23) with an average of 9.8 makes per game, but its accuracy of 35.5 percent is just 130th.

* Fresh off its best season in the school's NCAA Division I history, Eastern will play teams from 11 different conferences in the 2015-16 season. The Eagles will play nine games versus six teams who appeared in national postseason tournaments a year ago. Seattle, which advanced to the semifinals of the College Basketball Insider (CBS) Tournament, accounted for two of those games. The next opponent Eastern will play that was in the postseason last year comes on Dec. 9 when EWU plays at NCAA Tournament participant Davidson. Two days later on Dec. 11, the Eagles play at NIT qualifier Pittsburgh. Davidson was 24-8 overall and 14-4 in the Atlantic-10 Conference a year ago, and lost 83-52 to Iowa in Seattle in the NCAA Tournament. Pitt was 19-15 overall and 8-10 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, and lost to George Washington 60-54 in the NIT.

* In what could again be a tightly-contested race in the Big Sky Conference, the defending champion Eastern men's basketball team has been picked to finish third by both the coaches and media in preseason polls released Oct. 1 by the league. Eastern had 99 points in the coaches poll to trail preseason favorites Weber State (114) and Montana (113). Both the Wildcats and Grizzlies received six first-place votes. With 183 points in the media poll, EWU trailed preseason favorite Montana (220) and WSU (194). Montana captured 14 of the 19 first-place votes, with the Eagles receiving one and the Wildcats two.

* The Eagles closed a monumental 2014-15 campaign with a 26-9 record overall after finishing 14-4 in the Big Sky Conference to share the regular season title with Montana. Eastern swept through three games in the Big Sky Conference Tournament to garner the school's second NCAA Tournament appearance in school history. The Eagles finished with program bests for victories overall (26), in the Big Sky (14), on the road (11) and in non-conference play (9) in 32 seasons as a member of NCAA Division I. Eastern's national resume featured the 25th-most wins in NCAA Division I and 28th in winning percentage at .743, the fourth-most victories in the 50+ year history of the Big Sky Conference, a marquee win at Indiana and the nation's leading scorer in Tyler Harvey.

* Entering the 2015-16 season, head coach Jim Hayford was selected by College Sports Madness as its preseason Big Sky Conference Coach of the Year. Additionally, Sam Vecenie of CBS Sports rated him as one of the top 21 offensive coaches in all of NCAA Division I.

* Head coach Jim Hayford – the 2014-15 Big Sky Conference Coach of the Year -- took over an Eastern team four years ago that had been to the Big Sky Conference Tournament just once in five seasons, but in the 2014-15 season he took the Eagles to new heights. The Eagles entered the 2015-16 season with 66 victories overall, 39 league wins and four Big Sky Tournament game triumphs under Hayford, and the 26 victories last season are the fourth-most in the more than 50-year history of the league. In fact, a local newspaper dubbed Hayford the "Wizard in Cheney" in a feature article in November 2015. On July 8, 2015, Hayford signed a new five-year agreement which extends his contract at EWU through the 2019-20 season. The new five-year agreement replaced the contract he signed a year prior.

* Eastern's triumphs in 2014-15 included victories over six different NCAA Division I conferences, including road wins at Indiana, San Francisco and Seattle. Eastern was ranked as high as 12th in the national mid-major poll, and as high as 50th in the RPI. The Eagles concluded their home schedule with a crowd of 4,621 against Montana to rank as the fourth-most in school history and the most in 15 years.

* For the second year in a row, EWU was honored with the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Team Academic Excellence Award. Eastern's 3.27 team grade point average was the best in the Big Sky Conference in the 2014-15 season, and .20 better than the team's 3.07 average of a year ago.

* The Eagles continue to be a part of the C.H.A.M.P.S (College Headed and Making Progress) program at Whitman Elementary School in Spokane. Eastern student-athletes spend part of their time at Whitman with the entire student body, but a majority of their time is spent one-on-one with a fifth-grade student. The unique program follows each Whitman student for eight years through middle school and high school. Once an EWU student-athlete graduates, an incoming player will begin mentoring their student.

* Active within the last year in the pro ranks are 14 former Eagles, including Tyler Harvey and Drew Brandon from last year's Eagle team. Harvey is now with the Erie Bay Hawks of the NBA's Developmental League after getting drafted in the second round (51st overall) by the Orlando Magic in the 2015 NBA Draft. Harvey averaged 10.6 points, 2.0 assists and 1.4 rebounds for the Magic's "Blue" summer squad. Brandon is in his first year with the Bayer Giants in the Germany ProA League. Eastern's professional players are headlined by NBA veteran Rodney Stuckey, who is in his second season with Indiana after seven seasons with the Detroit Pistons. In 2014-15 – his eighth season as a pro and first with the Indiana Pacers – Stuckey averaged 12.6 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 0.8 steals per game in 71 games (36 starts). He made a career-best 39.0 percent of his 3-point attempts, sinking 55-of-141. Stuckey signed a new 3-year, $21 million contract with the Pacers on July 21, 2015.

 
 

Player Notes 

* Six Eagles have already made their college basketball debuts this season, and five of them have played in all four Eastern games. Redshirt freshman Will Ferris, who came off the bench to play 23 minutes against Seattle on Nov. 23 and score a career-high nine points, is averaging 4.0 points and 10.8 minutes on the season. Ty Gibson has seen significant action as a true freshman, averaging 8.8 minutes per game. Redshirt freshman Bear Henderson has averaged 6.5 minutes and 2.5 points thus far, and started his first career game against George Fox on Nov. 15. Freshman redshirt Cody Benzel has averaged 4.0 points in an average of 4.3 minutes off the bench. Also making his debut at Mississippi State on Nov. 13 was true freshman Jesse Hunt, and true freshman Michael Wearne made his versus George Fox. Making his NCAA Division I debut against MSU and playing all four games thus far is junior college transfer. Rico Nuno. Senior graduate transfer Austin McBroom made his Eagle debut against the Bulldogs, and junior transfer Julian Harrell is out indefinitely with a hand injury. Three Eagles – transfer Geremy McKay, transfer Mario Soto and freshman Grant Gibb – will redshirt.

* The Eagles lost a pair of All-Big Sky guards from last year's NCAA Tournament team, but senior graduate transfer Austin McBroom has provided an instant solution for the Eagles. The former starter at Saint Louis has a team-leading 145 minutes thus far (36.2 per game), with averages of 15.3 points and 5.0 assists, and just five total turnovers. He has made 10-of-32 3-pointers for 31.3 percent while making 40.4 percent from the field overall, and has sank 9-of-10 free throws. He had a 16-point effort against Seattle on Nov. 18 in which he only had three assists, but had only one turnover to help EWU to a season-low of seven. He had 11 points, a pair of assists and only one turnover in 40 minutes in the rematch on Nov. 23.

* Two major cogs in Eastern's roll to the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament last season – Venky Jois and Bogdan Bliznyuk -- have been selected to the preseason All-Big Sky Conference team as selected by a panel of sportswriters, broadcasters and sports information directors in the league. Jois, a senior 6-foot-8 forward, is EWU's lone returning starter this season and was selected as the league's preseason MVP. A year ago, Eastern's Tyler Harvey won the award and went on to lead NCAA Division I in scoring and was eventually drafted in the second round of the NBA Draft by Orlando. Besides Jois, Bliznyuk was also selected to the seven-player team and was the only underclassmen chosen. The others honored included Montana's Martin Breunig, Montana State's Marcus Colbert, Northern Arizona's Kris Yanku and Weber State's Joel Bolomboy and Jeremy Senglin.

* Senior Venky Jois continues to climb the Big Sky Conference career leaders list for blocked shots. His school-record total of 195 currently ranks fifth, just one from moving into fourth and 52 from the league record. His 1,338 total points ranks eighth in school history and his 768 rebounds are fourth, and he also ranks on leaders lists for scoring average (14.20, 12th), rebounding average (8.2, eighth), field goals attempted (945, 10th), field goals made (525, fifth), free throws made (284, fourth) and free throws attempted (493, second -- just six from the school record). Jois was on the All-Big Sky Conference first team as a junior in the 2014-15 season, and then was named to the Big Sky Conference All-Tournament team. He was the Big Sky Conference Freshman of the Year in the 2013-14 season, and earned honorable mention All-Big Sky accolades as a freshman and sophomore. Jois averaged 16.7 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.2 blocked shots per game as a junior, and so far as a senior has averages of 15.0 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.8 blocks. His field goal percentage thus far of .730 currently ranks eighth in NCAA Division I (through 11/23). Jois is from Boronia, Australia, and has a 3.51 grade point average as an interdisciplinary studies major (biology/pre-med emphasis). He is a three-time member of the Big Sky All-Academic team and was a member of the NABC Honors Court as a junior.

* Sophomore forward Bogdan Bliznyuk has been used frequently at bringing the ball up the court, and is averaging 15.3 points per game with a deft ability to get to the rim. He has made 5-of-14 3-pointers thus far for 36 percent, and is 17-of-33 inside the stripe (52 percent) with an overall percentage of 47 percent. He has also made 12-of-15 free throws, has a team-high 10 steals and is averaging 5.8 rebounds. He was the Big Sky Conference Freshman of the Year after coming off the bench to average 8.7 points and 4.0 rebounds for the Eagles. It's an honor now won six times in the past 14 seasons by Eastern players, including current Eagle Venky Jois in the 2012-13 season. Bliznyuk, who also earned Big Sky All-Academic honors, averaged 12.0 points in league play to rank 24th in the Big Sky -- tops among all freshmen. He was also fifth in field goal shooting (58.0 percent) and 12th in rebounding (5.6) while also averaging 24.3 minutes and 1.4 assists. He made 58.0 percent of his shots (80-of-138) in those 18 league games and converted 39-of-51 free throws (76.6 percent). Bliznyuk is formerly from Lutsk, Ukraine, but graduated from Todd Beamer High School in Federal Way, Wash., in 2014. He was less than 2 years old when his father, a truck driver, died in an accident. Their mother moved them to Federal Way five years later to be closer to family. Born with a gap in his upper jaw, he has had multiple surgeries after moving to the United States, included transferring bone from his hip.

* Junior Felix Von Hofe had a breakthrough game in the Big Sky Conference Tournament last March, and he topped that with a career-high 25 points against Seattle on Nov. 18 when he made 7-of-12 shots from the 3-point stripe. That bested his previous high of 23 points when he made 8-of-10 from the field and 7-of-8 from the 3-point stripe in a 91-83 victory over Sacramento State in the semifinals of the league tournament on March 14, 2015. Much like the 15-point lead he helped open against Seattle, his sizzling shooting helped EWU open a 26-point lead against the Hornets. With an average of 16.3 points on 13-of-30 3-point shooting, he currently ranks eighth in NCAA Division I in 3-pointers per game (4.33) through games of 11/23.

* Guard sophomore Sir Washington had a career-high 11 points in the team's opener at Mississippi State, and has started all four games thus far. He is averaging 8.5 points on 48 percent shooting from the field, and is also averaging 3.5 rebounds with five assists and five steals.

 
 

Quoting Coach Hayford

On Loss to Seattle: "We are a work in progress. It's a lot more fun to learn lessons developing a team when they win games. But sometimes you need to eat humble pie because it builds strong muscles. Against Seattle we had a dose of humble pie. Our players know they can shoot the ball better, but we didn't do it and Seattle got the win."

On Lessons Learned at Seattle: "We are just going to have to learn from it. When we aren't making the outside shots, people can really gear up against our drive game. We need to shoot the ball well, and that's going to throw a lot of pressure on Austin, Felix and others. It was nice to see Will come off the bench and give us that."

On Jois & Bliznyuk Earning Preseason Honors: "Preseason honors set up expectations. We are comfortable with that, as our team has great expectations for the upcoming season. On preseason lists that I've seen, Venky is listed as one of the top 20 forwards in college basketball. It's pretty special to lose the nation's leading scorer, but you still welcome back one of the top forwards in college basketball."

On Venky Jois: "Venky is a threat to have a double-double every night out. He plays with great passion and energy, and is a captain of our team. Venky has been a foundation in the building of our program -- he is an outstanding student, a great leader, and committed to developing into the best basketball player he can be. I join all Eagle fans in anticipating a great senior year for Venky. " 

On Bogdan Bliznyuk: "Bogdan had a great freshman year and has a great career ahead of him. He's a very coachable player and he plays hard. He has a great drive game and rebounds with tenacity. He is efficient as a player and has great shot selection. I think he has a great career ahead of him because of his determination to be the best that he can be."

On Being Picked Third in Big Sky Preseason Poll: "Being picked in the top third of the conference is a good place to be. That shows we are earning the respect of our peers. This year there are many great players returning in the Big Sky Conference and the league has so many great coaches. We have our work cut out for us."

 
 

Recent Game Recaps

* Just five days after recording a home victory over Seattle, Eastern went the final 2:57 without scoring and fell to the Redhawks 58-52 Nov. 23 in the rematch at Key Arena in Seattle, Wash. In a game that featured 12 ties and eight lead changes, the Eagles made only 9-of-28 3-point attempts after making 15-of-34 in the first meeting. Eastern entered the second game with Seattle ranked fifth in NCAA Division I in scoring offense with an average of 96.7 points per game. Eastern had just seven turnovers in the first meeting, and entered the rematch ranked 20th in NCAA Division I with a plus 5.7 turnover margin per game. However, the Eagles were guilty of a season-high 18 turnovers, while Seattle had 13. The Eagles led most of the game, but Seattle forged its first lead of the game at 43-42 with 6:14 left to play. But the Eagles could manage only four baskets after that. Eastern tied it at 52 on a 3-pointer by Bogdan Bliznyuk with 2:57 left, but closed the game by missing its last four shots and committing two turnovers. Senior Venky Jois had just five points in the first meeting, but contributed 14 points and eight rebounds in the second meeting. He made a huge difference for the Eagles defensively with five second-half blocked shots, helping EWU hold Seattle to 45 percent shooting from the field. Senior graduate transfer Austin McBroom scored 11 points, after contributing 16 in the first meeting. He also had a pair of assists. Sophomore Bogdan Bliznyuk scored 11 points and added seven rebounds and five assists. Redshirt freshman Will Ferris came off the bench to score a career-high nine points with a trio of 3-pointers. 

* Junior sharpshooter Felix Von Hofe made seven of EWU's 15 3-pointers on his way to a career-high 25 points for the Eagles in a 76-70 victory Nov. 18 at Reese Court in Cheney, Wash. The game was postponed by 18 1/2 hours after a massive wind storm slammed the Inland Northwest the night before. The storm, with sustained winds of 40-miles per hour and gusts of up to 70 creating widespread power outages and unsafe travel conditions, forced the delay. Power was restored to campus early Wednesday morning, and with both teams and officials waiting out the storm, the decision was made to play. The Eagles built a 15-point lead with 5:27 left, then survived a late 12-0 Seattle run to register the win. Von Hofe's performance included a 7-of-12 effort from the 3-point line, and 8-of-15 overall against Seattle's zone defense. Senior graduate transfer Austin McBroom contributed 16 points on 4-of-10 shooting from the 3-point stripe, and made four clutch free throws in the final 43 seconds. He also had three assists and a key steal late in the contest. Sophomore Bogdan Bliznyuk scored 10 points in just 28 minutes because of foul trouble, and sophomore guard Sir Washington was the fourth Eagle in double figures with 11 points. En route to making 15-of-34 as a team, the Eagles hit six 3-pointers in the opening 7:15, including three by McBroom and a pair by Von Hofe. That helped Eastern open a 20-7 lead, and the Eagles hit 10 total treys in the first half en route to a 38-30 halftime advantage. Early in the second half, Von Hofe ignited the Eagles with a steal and assist to Bliznyuk on a layin that were the first fastbreak points of the game for the Eagles. Von Hofe followed with a driving layin himself, and a 3-pointer with 11:46 left that gave EWU a 51-38 advantage. His seventh trey of the game at the 5:27 mark gave EWU a 68-53 advantage.

* On a day a historic season was honored, Eastern set a little more history by breaking a nearly 47-year scoring record. With its ball-hawking defense leading the way with a school-record 23 steals, the Eagles rolled past George Fox 126-64 on Nov. 15 in the first-ever meeting between the two non-conference foes at Reese Court in Cheney, Wash. The afternoon matinee featured the presentation of championship rings to the 2014-15 squad and unveiling of Big Sky championship and NCAA Tournament banners at Reese Court. Led by the 29 points of senior Venky Jois, the Eagles broke the previous scoring record recorded in a 124-94 win over Eastern Montana on Jan. 20, 1969. Two Eagles had double-doubles – Bogdan Bliznyuk with 19 points and 12 rebounds, and Austin McBroom with 15 points and 10 assists. Eastern forced 12 George Fox turnovers in the first half, and had steals on all 12 of them, led by four for Sir Washington. The Eagles only scored eight points directly off the turnovers, but finished with 18 second-chance points and 19 fast-break points in the half. Eastern led by 30 at intermission. Jois made 13-of-15 shots from the field and also had seven rebounds, three blocked shots, three assists and a pair of steals. Bliznyuk led the team with five steals, and Sir Washington had four steals, eight points, four rebounds and a pair of assists. Redshirt freshman Cody Benzel played seven minutes off the bench and hit all four of his shots to finish with 12 points. Redshirt freshman Bear Henderson was the fifth Eagle in double figures with 10 points to go along with three steals.

 * It was a promising first 25 minutes to the 2015-16 season for EWU, but Mississippi State came alive in the final 15 to win 106-88 in a non-conference game Nov. 13 in Starkville, Miss. The Eagles of the Big Sky Conference led the Bulldogs of the Southeastern Conference 60-50 with 18:35 left in the second half, and 68-62 at the 14:49 mark. But EWU went 8 1/2 minutes without a field goal as MSU went on a 33-6 run, including one stretch of 18 unanswered points. The Eagles made 28 of their first 46 shots from the field for 61 percent, but missed their next 11 during MSU's big run. The Eagles finished the game making 42 percent in the second half after a 59-percent performance in the first 20 minutes. With sophomore Bogdan Bliznyuk and junior Felix Von Hofe each having 21-point nights for the Eagles, the game also marked the EWU debut for point guard Austin McBroom. The graduate transfer from Saint Louis finished with 15 points, and also had five assists -- all in the first 25 minutes. Senior Venky Jois added 12 points and a team-leading seven rebounds. Sophomore guard Sir Washington made 5-of-7 shots from the field to finish with a career-high 11 points in just his second start as an Eagle.

 

 
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