Eagles Snap Losing Skid With Road Win at Denver - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Eagles Snap Losing Skid With Road Win at Denver

Von Hofe, Jois & McBroom combine for all but two of EWU points against Pioneers. (Photo: EWU Athletics) Von Hofe, Jois & McBroom combine for all but two of EWU points against Pioneers. (Photo: EWU Athletics)

by EWU Athletics

What three other Big Sky Conference teams couldn't do, Eastern Washington University did in resounding fashion.

Australians Felix Von Hofe and Venky Jois joined Austin McBroom to combine for 72 points, and the Eagles used hot 3-point shooting some great defense to register a huge 74-58 non-conference road win Sunday (Dec. 20) at Magness Arena in Denver, Colo.

Von Hofe scored 28 points and made eight 3-pointers, Jois had 26 points and equaled his career high with 16 rebounds and McBroom chipped in 18 points and four assists. That trio combined for all 26 of EWU's field goals, helping the Eagles sink 51 percent of their shots overall (26-of-51) and 12-of-25 3-pointers for 48 percent.

"Against Denver's zone, we had one play that involved those three players, and they didn't have an answer for it," said Eastern head coach Jim Hayford. "We rode that play to great performances inside and outside - we read the options well and that's why those guys scored all the points. About 95 percent of the night we ran the same play. I'm just really, really proud of our team."

Defensively, Eastern had a dominating 40-21 rebounding advantage over the Pioneers, who entered the game 3-0 against Big Sky Conference teams. Eastern held Denver scoreless for nearly seven minutes to open a 16-point lead early in the second half, then closed out the win by holding the Pioneers to just two field goals in the final nine minutes of the game.

"It was a really, really good win," added Hayford, whose home game scheduled for last Thursday (Nov. 17) was canceled when Morehead State had travel issues. "We just needed some practice time to get ourselves figured out, and it's really early in the process. But a little rest and a little practice really made a huge difference. Denver is a better team than some of the teams we've lost to, so it's a big, big win."

Eastern enters league play with a 6-6 record, including nine of its 12 games thus far on the road. Last Thursday's (Dec. 17) game against the Eagles of Morehead State would have been one of only two home games for the Eagles in a 12-game stretch from Nov. 23 to Jan. 2.

Denver is now 8-4 and had already defeated three Big Sky Conference members. Most recently, the Pioneers defeated rival Northern Colorado 81-77 on Dec. 15. The Pioneers previously defeated Idaho State (79-69) and Weber State (69-68) from the Big Sky.

Eastern heads into Big Sky Conference play with its biggest win of the season, and snapped a three-game losing streak in the process. More importantly, Eastern improved to 3-6 away from home, giving them confidence heading into a pair of difficult road games to start league play.

The Eagles will open Big Sky Conference play at Northern Colorado (Dec. 31) and North Dakota (Jan. 2). Eastern will have played 11 of its 14 games on the road by the time they play their conference home opener on Jan. 9 versus Idaho.

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