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Eastern Washington basketball faces tough test in Montana State, high-scoring talent Tyler Hall

Montana State guard Tyler Hall, center, lets the ball go out of bounds in front of Indiana defenders Juwan Morgan, left, and Romeo Langford during the first half  in Bloomington, Ind., on Nov. 9. (AJ Mast / AP)
Montana State guard Tyler Hall, center, lets the ball go out of bounds in front of Indiana defenders Juwan Morgan, left, and Romeo Langford during the first half in Bloomington, Ind., on Nov. 9. (AJ Mast / AP)

It seems appropriate that Montana State’s Tyler Hall is all but guaranteed of breaking the Big Sky Conference men’s basketball career scoring record in Cheney.

The Bobcats’ high-scoring senior guard enters Saturday’s game at Eastern Washington with 2,168 career points. The record-holder is former EWU player Bogdan Bliznyuk, who scored 2,169 during a career that ended last season.

Hall is averaging 19.2 points per game this season for Montana State (7-9, 4-2 Big Sky), which is tied for third place in the conference behind Weber State and Northern Colorado (both 5-1).

The Eagles, who haven’t played since knocking off third-place Montana 78-71 on Jan. 10, are 4-12 overall and 2-3 in conference, just out of the tops six.

Eastern had a season-best shooting night against Montana by making 9 of 17 3-pointers and shooting 48 percent (24 for 50) from the floor. Junior Tyler Kidd scored 13 points in his first start at point guard.

Eastern is 4-0 this season when it makes at least 45 percent of its shots from the field and 0-12 when it doesn’t.

“We don’t have to coach energy or having them play harder – they are doing that on their own,” EWU head coach Shantay Legans said. “It takes a game like Montana for some shots to go in to get some confidence. I think our team may have turned a corner and I liked winning a game heading into an eight-game stretch with no game.”

After missing EWU’s first 10 games with an injury, Mason Peatling has led the team in scoring in five of six games since.

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