Eastern Falls to Seattle 58-52 In Down to the Wire Rematch - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Eastern Falls to Seattle 58-52 In Down to the Wire Rematch

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Venky Jois and the Eagles fell in their rematch with Seattle U. (Photo: EWU) Venky Jois and the Eagles fell in their rematch with Seattle U. (Photo: EWU)

by EWU Athletics

It was a grinder that just didn't go EWU's way down the stretch.

Just five days after recording a 76-70 home victory, the Eastern Washington University men's basketball team went the final 2:57 without scoring and fell to Seattle 58-52 Monday (Nov. 23) in the rematch at Key Arena in Seattle, Wash.

Senior Venky Jois led three Eagles in double figures as he finished with 14 points, eight rebounds and five blocked shots.

The Eagles made only 9-of-28 3-point attempts after making 15-of-34 in the first meeting. Junior Felix Von Hofe scored a career-high 25 a week ago, but had only three in the rematch on 1-of-8 shooting from the 3-point stripe. Eastern entered the game ranked fifth in NCAA Division I in scoring offense with an average of 96.7 points per game.

The game featured 12 ties and eight lead changes.

"We are a work in progress," said Eastern head coach Jim Hayford. "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. Tonight we had a dose of humble pie. Our players know they can shoot the ball better, but we didn't do it tonight and Seattle got the win."

Eastern is now 2-2, having lost its opener Nov. 13 to Mississippi State in Starkville, Miss., and then setting school records for steals (23) and points (126) in a 62-point victory over George Fox (126-64) two days later.

The Redhawks are now 1-3, having opened the season with a 58-56 home loss to Arkansas-Pine Bluff and a 77-65 setback to Sacramento State.

The Eagles won't play any Big Sky Conference opponents in back-to-back games, but there will be rematches ahead for EWU. The Eagle-Redhawk series was quality NCAA Division I competition for both teams, which advanced to national postseason tournaments a year ago.

Eastern takes on the University of the Pacific and South Dakota this weekend in Sacramento, Calif., as part of the Sacramento State Basketball Invitational. There will be no tournament winner, as both EWU and the host Hornets take on non-conference foes. 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. 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).

Eastern had just seven turnovers in the first meeting, and entered the game 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.

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