With Underclassmen Leading the Way, Eastern Picks Up Fifth Victo - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

With Underclassmen Leading the Way, Eastern Picks Up Fifth Victory With 104-64 Romp


by EWU Athletics

The youth movement was in full force Sunday afternoon at Reese Court.

With eight of its 10 players who played consisting of either freshmen or sophomores, the Eastern Washington University men's basketball team tuned up for a difficult upcoming road trip to the East Coast by romping past Great Falls 104-64 in a non-conference game in Cheney, Wash.

Redshirt freshman Cody Benzel scored a career-high 23 points to lead seven Eagles in double figures. Eastern used a 14-4 run at the end of the first half to lead by 14 at halftime, then led by as many as the final margin in out-scoring the Argos 56-30 in the second half.

The Eagles made 17 3-pointers - one short of the school record - in the game against the NAIA foe from Great Falls, Montana. Eastern improved to 5-3 with the win, while the game counted as an exhibition for the Argos (also 5-3 in games that count).

"We wanted to use today as an opportunity to develop depth and get some guys game experience," said Eastern head coach Jim Hayford, who rested senior starters Venky Jois and Austin McBroom. "I was really pleased with what those players did with the opportunity, and it made us a better team."

The Eagles are now 5-3, and have played teams from six different conferences thus far, picking up victories against four of them. Eastern has won two games in a row after winning two of three games in a four-day stretch in Northern California. Eastern held off San Francisco 81-77 on Dec. 1, beating the Dons on the road for the second-straight season and giving EWU a three-game winning streak versus foes from the West Coast Conference. Prior to that, Eastern had a split at the Sacramento State Invitational, defeating the University of the Pacific from the West Coast Conference 70-63 on Nov. 28, then falling to South Dakota from the Summit League 77-71 the next afternoon in the "pseudo" title game.

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