Jacob Wiley named Mid-Major All-American, Bliznyuk also honored - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Jacob Wiley named Mid-Major All-American, Bliznyuk also honored

Wiley Named to Mid-Major All-American Team Wiley Named to Mid-Major All-American Team

By EWU Athletics

Senior graduate transfer Jacob Wiley has earned more postseason honors from a pair of national web sites, as the Eastern Washington University men's basketball team prepares for its Big Sky Conference quarterfinal matchup against Sacramento State on Thursday (March 9) at the Reno Events Center in Reno, Nevada.
 
Selected by league coaches as the MVP of the Big Sky, Wiley is a first team selection on the College Sports Madness All-Mid Major All-America team. In addition, HoopsHD.com picked him as its Big Sky's Defensive Player of the Year, and he also joined teammate Bogdan Bliznyuk as one of six players selected to that organization's All-Big Sky first team.
 
Wiley was named on Monday as a unanimous selection on the All-Big Sky first team as chosen by the league's coaches, and Bliznyuk was a second team choice. That duo and their second-seeded Eagle teammates play their tourney opener Thursday at 5:35 p.m. Pacific time against No. 7 Sacramento State, which beat Idaho State 91-76 Tuesday in the first round of the tournament. Eastern is 21-10 overall after a 13-5 finish in the Big Sky, and the Hornets are 12-17 overall and were 9-9 in the league.
 
Wiley enters Thursday's game averaging 20.0 points per game overall to rank 38th in NCAA Division I and sixth in the Big Sky, and has made 63.9 percent of his shots to rank seventh in the nation and second in the league. He leads the league in rebounding (9.2) and blocked shots (2.8).
 
As a defensive force, Wiley is also averaging 2.77 blocked shots (first in the league and eighth nationally), with a school-record total of 86 to break the previous record of 69 set by Venky Jois in 2015. He's also ranked third all-time in the league, just seven from second (93, Slim Millien, Idaho State, 2005-06) and nine from the record (95, Brian Qvale, Montana, 2010-11). Wiley has made 83.1 percent from the free throw line (eighth in the league and 105th nationally). In addition, he is averaging 9.2 rebounds on the season (first in the league and 40th nationally) and 2.3 assists per game.
 
In league-only statistics, he was tops in the Big Sky in with averages of 24.6 points, 10.3 rebounds and 2.5 blocked shots per game, while making a league-best 65.9 percent of his field goal attempts and 81.7 of his free throws. A 2012 graduate of Newport (Wash.) High School, the 6-foot-7 Wiley also averaged 2.6 assists and 0.6 steals in 18 league games.
 
Bliznyuk is from Lutsk, Ukraine, and graduated in 2014 from Todd Beamer High School in Federal Way, Wash. He is averaging 26.8 points, 9.0 rebounds and 3.6 assists in his last five games entering the Big Sky Conference Tournament.
 
He ranks in the top 10 in four different statistical categories in the league, ranking fifth in points (20.1 per game), eighth in rebounds (6.5), sixth in assists (4.0) and 10th in free throw percentage (.814). Southern Utah's Randy Onwuasor is the only other league player to rank in the top 10 in each of those four categories. Bliznyuk ranks 37th nationally in scoring and 165th in assists.
 
Wiley's 20.0 scoring average is currently 10th in EWU single season history, and he is just the seventh Eagle to score 600 points in a single season (he is currently eighth with 620). Bliznyuk's scoring average (20.06) is currently ninth in EWU single season history, and recently he became the eighth Eagle to score 600 points in a single season (he is currently seventh with 622).

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