EWU's Wiley named Co-Big Sky player of the week - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

EWU's Wiley named Co-Big Sky player of the week

Wiley Named Co-Big Sky Player Of The Week Wiley Named Co-Big Sky Player Of The Week

By EWU Athletics

Eastern Washington University senior graduate transfer Jacob Wiley had one of those weekends where nearly everything he shot went in – even a pair of 3-pointers.
 
After a weekend in which he scored a collective 63 points in two games, Wiley was named Tuesday (Jan. 17) as this week's co-Big Sky Conference men's basketball player of the week. He shared the award with Sacramento State's Nick Hornsby.
 
A 6-foot-7 forward from Newport, Wash., who formerly played at Montana and Lewis-Clark State, Wiley had career-high performances of 27 and 36 points for a combined 63 points in a victory over Idaho State on Jan. 12 and a three-point loss to Weber State two days later. He had only eight missed shots in 44 total attempts, sinking 78 percent of his shots from the field (25-of-32) and 92 percent of his free throws (11-of-12), while making both of his 3-point attempts. He also had 16 rebounds, seven assists, three blocked shots and a pair of steals. His performances included 36 points versus Weber State to equal the 16th-most in school history.
 
"Jake was unbelievable to go on the road and average over 30 points per game," said Eastern head coach Jim Hayford. "What a week."
 
Wiley is ranked in the top two in four different categories in the league thus far during what will be a one-year career at EWU. In league games only, he leads in field goal percentage (.671) and is second in scoring (24.2), rebounds (9.8) and blocked shots (2.2). He's also made 83.3 percent of his free throws in league play and has averaged 3.0 assists and 1.0 steals.
 
"He's getting more and more comfortable, and better and better," Hayford continued. "And it couldn't happen to a better person. He's a hard worker and even beats the coaches to practice. He's usually here at 6:15 in the morning and that's why he's one of the best free throw shooters in the country. He had to work really hard to get back here so his Division I dream could come true. He's making the most of the opportunity and I'm really happy for him."
 
Wiley has scored in double figures in 16 of 18 games this season, and is averaging 16.6 points per game overall on 62.1 percent shooting to rank 15th in the nation and third in the league. He has had four double figure rebounding performances, including a season-high 14 against Montana on Jan. 7, and is averaging 8.2 on the season to rank 86th nationally and third in the league. He's also averaging 2.9 blocked shots (first in the league and 10th nationally) and 2.3 assists per game, and has made 85.4 percent from the free throw line (fourth in the league and 64th nationally). As a team, Eastern is 40th nationally in blocks with an average of 5.1 per game.
 
He had only attempted one 3-pointer all year until Eastern designed a play to open the game with a 3-pointer for Wiley. He then hit his second attempt with 7:07 left in the half.
 
 "That was our plan because we thought they would leave him wide open for a three," explained Hayford. "Our bench was just going crazy because they knew we were going to start the game with that, and coach (Randy) Rahe just looked down the bench at me like, 'where did that come from?' I gave him the best poker smile I had, and at the next timeout we told Jake he made the first one so he gets another. He drilled the next one – 2-of-2 -- why didn't he get another one?"
 
His back-to-back performances were reminiscent of those of a trio of recent Eagles and one current NBA player. A year ago, Austin McBroom scored 73 points in back-to-back games – the third time in two years an Eagle has scored at least 72 points in back-to-back games. It was the most in back-to-back Big Sky Conference games in school history, besting the 70 Rodney Stuckey, now with the Indiana Pacers in the NBA, had late in the 2006-07 season against Weber State (34) and Portland State (36). In the 2014-15 season, Venky Jois had 38 each in back-to-back games versus Eastern Oregon and Seattle, then Tyler Harvey had a total of 73 in consecutive games versus L-C State (34) and Weber State (39). The most Harvey had in back-to-back league games was 61 as a senior against Northern Colorado (37) and North Dakota (24). The Big Sky record was set by Damian Lillard (now of the Portland Trailblazers), who had 75 in two games in Feb. of 2012 (40 vs. Portland State 2/2 and 35 vs. Northern Colorado 2/4).
 
Earlier in the season, Wiley had a near triple-double with what was then a career-high 25 points in an 82-64 win over Montana State by making 10-of-15 shots from the field and 5-of-7 free throws. He also had 10 rebounds, a career-high seven assists and three blocked shots. His scoring performance versus Montana State eclipsed his previous career high of 23 points one game earlier at Idaho when he sank 9-of-13 shots from the field and added nine rebounds and five blocked shots in the 69-62 win. He had 16 points, six rebounds, five blocks and four assists versus 17th-ranked Xavier on Dec. 20, then had 10 points, eight rebounds and two more blocks against Colorado two nights later. Prior to that he had back-to-back double-double performances, with 12 points and 12 rebounds against Morehead State on Dec. 13 and 14 points and 12 more boards against Northern Kentucky on Dec. 18.
 
Wiley was the MVP of the Legends Classic sub-regional round in Cheney, Wash, finishing with 20 points, nine rebounds, five blocked shots, five assists and a pair of steals in an 80-76 double-overtime victory over Seattle in the championship game. The previous night in an 81-77 win over Bryant, he scored 18 points and had a team-high nine rebounds, sinking 10-of-12 free throws and four of seven shots from the floor.
 
His numbers compare favorably with those of the forward he's replacing in the starting lineup – all-time leading scorer Venky Jois. Now playing professionally, Jois averaged 14.8 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.0 blocks and 2.3 assists in his 122-game career, and made 58.3 percent from the field. However, Wiley has a significant advantage at the free throw line where Jois made only 55.0 percent in his career.
 
Wiley capped a spectacular junior season for Lewis-Clark State in 2015-16 by earning first team NAIA All-America honors after averaging 14.9 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.4 blocked shots per game. He led L-C State to a 29-5 record and was the fourth-most accurate shooter (.604) in the NAIA, as well as ranking 20th in blocks per game and 43rd in rebounds per game. An Academic All-Frontier Conference selection while at L-C State, Wiley originally played 20 games at Montana in the 2012-13 season. He is 2012 graduate of nearby Newport (Wash.) High School.
 
As a true freshman for Montana in the 2012-13 season, Wiley played in 20 games and averaged 3.0 minutes, 0.9 points and 0.6 rebounds per game. In two regular season victories over EWU, he played one minute in each. Wiley scored two points in an 81-66 win in Missoula and had a rebound in a 65-46 triumph in Cheney. His career highlight came during Montana's 2013 NCAA Tournament round game against Syracuse when he scored five points and recorded one block in the 81-34 loss. After quitting the basketball team prior to his sophomore season, he joined the Montana track and field squad and competed in the 400 meters.

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