EWU Sets School-Record 20 3's in Win Over Portland St. - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

EWU Sets School-Record 20 3's in Win Over Portland St.

Eastern's shooting was consistent the entire night, making 66 percent of its shots in the first half and 62 percent after halftime. Eastern's shooting was consistent the entire night, making 66 percent of its shots in the first half and 62 percent after halftime.


Even larger than the school-record 20 3-pointers was the total minutes the Eastern Washington University men's basketball team led by at least double digits.
The Eagles jumped out to a 21-4 lead and had a 10-point lead or larger for all but four minutes in an overwhelming 112-83 victory over Portland State in a Big Sky Conference game Thursday (Jan. 28) at Reese Court in Cheney, Wash.
Eastern sank 64 percent of its shots from the field, including 20-of-31 3-point attempts (62 percent). The Eagles broke the previous record of 18 3-pointers set against New Hope on Dec. 4, 2010. The Big Sky Conference record is 30 set by Montana State against UT Arlington on Nov. 28, 2014.
Six Eagles scored in double figures, led by the 25 of Austin McBroom and 23 by Venky Jois. Although Portland State's Cameron Forte had a monster game with 37 points and 13 rebounds, the Eagles held PSU to 34.3 percent shooting in the first half and led at intermission 56-32. Eastern's largest lead of 36 came with 15:11 left at 74-38 after a 18-6 run to open the second half.
"We had great balance and we saw our team really playing within their roles and off of each other," said Eastern head coach Jim Hayford. "As good as we were offensively, we were that good defensively in the first half. It's hard to keep the intensity in the second half, but we were really good in the first half.
Won-Lost Records . . .  
* The Eagles are now 10-10 overall and 4-4 in the league, with a perfect 7-0 mark at home. In league games, EWU is 4-0 at Reese Court and 0-4 on the road.
* Portland State is now 7-11 overall and 3-4 in the league, and was coming off an 81-63 victory over Sacramento State.
What It Means . . .
* The next two weeks – notably EWU's next game at home versus Sacramento State on Saturday -- will be extremely important toward EWU's goals of finishing the season with a winning record and, perhaps more importantly, earning one of four first-round byes in the Big Sky Conference Tournament March 8-12 in Reno. The Eagles are now 7-0 at home thus far, including a convincing 4-0 mark in Big Sky play. However, a year ago it was Portland State which handed EWU its first loss in 13 tries at Reese Court. The Eagles split in the regular season with both PSU and Sacramento State, but then roared past the Hornets 91-83 in the Big Sky Conference Tournament during EWU's 3-0 run that yielded the school its second NCAA berth.
What's Next . . .
* Eastern returns to Reese Court to face Sacramento State at 12:05 p.m. on Saturday (Jan. 30). Portland State beat Sacramento State 81-63 in Sacramento on Saturday. The Hornets won at Idaho 65-63 on Thursday. The Hornets are now 9-9 overall and 2-5 in the conference after entering league play with the Big Sky's top non-conference record at 7-4.
* Eastern then returns to the road to begin the second half of the league season on Feb. 4 when the Eagles play at Northern Arizona, followed by a game two nights later at Southern Utah. Eastern soundly defeated both of those foes earlier this season at home, knocking off the Thunderbirds 106-80 and NAU two days later by a 96-73 score.
Keys to Game . . .
* The Eagles led for 39:13 out of 40 minutes to continue a recent trend, and opened a double-digit lead it never relinquished at just 3:40 into the game. In its previous three-game homestand, EWU led 113:30 out of a total of 120 possible minutes, sank 57 percent of their shots (99-of-174) and had an average winning margin of 21.0 points per game. Eastern averaged 92 points per game while allowing an average of 71. Proving last week just how difficult it is to win on the road, Eastern led Montana for just 3:29 and two nights earlier led MSU for just 5:23.
Top Performers . .
* Sophomore Bogdan Bliznyuk was a box score stuffer, finishing with 11 points, seven re bounds, six assists, five steals and four blocked shots in 34 minutes. Just three games earlier versus Northern Arizona in EWU's last home game, the sophomore had EWU's first triple-double in school history.
* Senior graduate transfer Austin McBroom san 7-of-12 shots from the field, including 6-of-10 from the 3-point line, to record his seventh 20-point game of the season. His 25 points included a 5-of-6 free throw performance, and he also had five assists.
* Senior Venky Jois, who was ranked third in NCAA Division I entering the game with a .683 shooting percentage, sank 9-of-15 shots from the field and 5-of-7 free throws. He had nine rebounds, coming a single board from his 32nd double-double of his career.
* Junior Julian Harrell scored 16 points, sinking 5-of-7 from the field and 4-of-6 from the 3-point striple. He also had three assists and four rebounds.
* Junior Felix Von Hofe, who was averaging just 4.0 points in his previous four games, bounced back with a 5-of-7 shooting performance – all from the 3-point stripe – to finish with 16 points.
* Sophomore Sir Washington came off the bench to score 10 points in 16 minutes for Eastern, making all three of his shots from the field.
Turning Point . . .
* Eastern made seven of its first eight shots in the game and shot out to a quick 21-4 lead. The Eagles didn't led by less than 10 again in the first half, and led by as many as 27 at 50-23 with 2:39 left. Austin McBroom scored 17 points for the Eagles, with Julian Harrell and Bogdan Bliznyuk each scoring 11. Bliznyuk also had five rebounds, four assists, four blocked shots and four steals in the opening 20 minutes.
Key Stats . . .
* Eastern's shooting was consistent the entire night, making 66 percent of its shots in the first half and 62 percent after halftime. The 63.8 percent accuracy bettered Eastern's other two 60-percent shooting nights this season – 63.3 versus George Fox and 61.3 against Southern Utah. The Eagles have made 57 percent of its shots from the field at home this season (45 percent on 3-pointers) while averaging 99 points per game, but are just 46 percent from the field on the road (36 percent from the arc).
Team Highlights . . .
 * Eastern's 20 three-pointers made were by seven different players – six by Austin McBroom, five by Felix Von Hofe, four by Julian Harrell and one each by Bogdan Bliznyuk, Sir Washington, Bear Henderson, Will Ferris and Cody Benzel.
Notables . . .
* Eastern is now 8-0 this season when it has a better field goal percentage than its opponent, and 2-10 when it has been out-shot. The Eagles are also 6-1 when allowing 71 points or fewer, and 4-1 when their opponent makes 44.9 percent or less from the field.
* Eastern has now led at halftime in 14 of 20 games this season, and has a 10-4 record in those 14 games.
* Since Eastern became a member of NCAA Division I in the 1983-84 season, the Eagles are now 20-21 versus the Vikings. All of the meetings have come since the 1996-97 school year when PSU joined the Big Sky Conference, and Eastern is 13-8 in Cheney and 7-12 against PSU in Portland (0-1 on neutral courts) since then. The Vikings have a 24-21 edge in the overall series.
More Comments from Head Coach Jim Hayford . . .
On 3-Point Record: "I'm very happy for our team that they were able to set a school record. I don't know if I've ever coached a team that has made 20 threes – we've been close before. And we did it against a really good opponent. Portland State won its last two road games, but we were clicking on all cylinders."
On PSU: "Cameron Forte deserves recognition for how well he played for them tonight."

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