Cody Benzel and Dalton Patchen turned Eastern Washington’s 92-73 dispatching of NAIA member Corban into a local basketball showcase.
Benzel, a Ferris graduate, drilled seven 3-pointers en route to a game-high 23 points for the Eagles (2-9), who ended a six-game skid Friday at Reese Court.
Patchen, a Colton and Community Colleges of Spokane product, led Corban with 20 points and seven rebounds.
A 6-foot-8 forward, Patchen connected on 3 of 4 3-point attempts for the Warriors, who shot 57 percent from behind the arc.
Jaxon Hughes’ 3-pointer cut EWU’s lead to 60-50 midway through the second half, but the Eagles went on a 13-4 run to put away the visitors from Salem, Oregon.
Benzel hit three 3-pointers in the final 4 minutes to douse the Warriors’ comeback hopes.
“The last couple games my shot has felt better,” said Benzel, who also had two games with seven 3-pointers last season. “My confidence is back up where it needs to be, which is great going to into Big Sky play.”
EWU led by as many 21 points in its final nonconference game. The Eagles begin Big Sky Conference play at home on Dec. 29 against Weber State (5-5).
Five players reached doubles in scoring for EWU, including Benzel, Jesse Hunt (14), Tyler Kidd (14), Austin Fadal (13) and Jacob Davison (11).
EWU welcomed back its top inside presence, 6-8 forward Mason Peatling, who missed the first 10 games of the season with an injury. Peatling, an all-Big Sky honorable mention last season, had a team-high seven rebounds, four assists, four points and a block in 18 minutes.
“Heading into Big Sky play, we want to be peaking and playing our best basketball during this stretch,” EWU head coach Shantay Legans said. “We have a lot of weapons we can use. I really like the guards we have, and getting Mason back helps us out on the perimeter.”
EWU shot 51.5 percent from the field but was outrebounded 37-32.
The game was an exhibition for Corban, which was picked sixth in the 11-team Cascade Conference’s preseason poll.
The Eagles, picked fourth in the Big Sky preseason polls, ended a brutal nonconference schedule that included Syracuse, Oregon, Washington, Stanford, midmajor power South Dakota State and upstart San Francisco.
“A win is a big win for us,” Legans said. “We played a lot of players tonight and not a lot of minutes – we wanted to get some guys some rest. We wanted to see what Mason looked like on the inside and outside.”
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