SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Eastern Washington connected on 14 of its first 18 field goal attempts and raced to a 58-40 halftime lead before holding on late in a 93-88 victory over Sacramento State on Thursday evening at the Nest.
The Eagles converted on each of their first eight field goal attempts of the game and finished the first half shooting a blazing .647 (22-of-34) from the field and .533 (8-of-15) from the 3-point line to give the Hornets' their largest halftime deficit of the season. Sacramento State shot well in the first half (.500), but could not overcome the torrid start by the Eagles.
The Hornets outscored Eastern Washington in the second half by a 48-35 margin and made a late push, but never could trim the deficit to a one-possession game. In fact, the Hornets closed the final 1:51 on a 12-3 run to make things interesting.
A three-point play by Nick Hornsby with 37 seconds left trimmed EWU's lead to single digits (91-83) for the first time in over 24 minutes of game clock. A layup from Jiday Ugbaja (0:26) off a Grant Dressler steal, and a 3-pointer from Jeff Wu (0:17) got the Hornets within four points (92-88), but Sacramento State would get no closer.
Both teams shot well from the field (EWU .534, 31-of-58; SAC .500, 34-of-68), but the Eagles converted on six more 3-pointers and finished the game shooting .423 (11-of-26) from distance. Sacramento State had its third highest scoring output of the season, scored 23 fast break points, and had 21 assists compared to a season-low six turnovers. In fact, the Hornets had 12 assists and zero turnovers in the second half.
Sacramento State had big advantages in points in the paint (50-36), points off turnovers (23-9) and fast break points (23-6), but the Hornets' defense in the first half put the team in too big of a hole. Sacramento State also forced 14 EWU turnovers while finishing with six blocks and 11 steals (second largest output of the year).
The Hornets (10-14, 3-10) dropped their fourth straight game, the team's longest losing streak in four years. Sacramento State also had won each of the last three meetings at home against Eastern Washington prior to tonight's loss. With just five games remaining in the regular season, the Hornets sit in 10th place in the 12-team Big Sky standings. All 12 teams qualify for this year's Big Sky Tournament, which will take place in Reno on March 8-12. For tickets and hotel info, visit RoadToReno.com.
Meanwhile, Eastern Washington won its conference-high seventh straight game, and pulled off a season sweep of Sacramento State. During the Eagles' seven-game winning streak, five of those outcomes have come by 10 points or more. Both wins over the Hornets during the winning streak came by seven points or less, including a 74-67 victory in Cheney on Jan. 30.
The Hornets had four players finish with 14 points or better, including the sophomore combination of Justin Strings and Marcus Graves both dropping in 20 points. Strings posted his fifth double-double during conference play, finishing with 20 points on 8-of-16 shooting to go along with 10 rebounds and three steals. Graves played a team-high 38 minutes, posting 20 points, six assists and a steal. The two sophomores combined to finish with just two turnovers in 73 minutes of play.
Center Eric Stuteville had 14 points on 7-of-10 shooting, and guard Cody Demps had 14 points, eight assists, four rebounds and two steals in 32 minutes. Demps was playing his third straight game after missing nine straight with injury, and his 32 minutes were the most since his return. Nick Hornsby added eight points and a career-high 13 rebounds, and Wu finished with eight points, two assists and two steals. Hornsby, Wu and Ugbaja (4) combined to score 20 points off the bench for Sacramento State.
Eastern Washington had six players finish in double figures, comprised of the conference's leading scorer Austin McBroom (22 points, seven assists, eight turnovers), Venky Jois (18 points, 13 rebounds), Bogdan Bliznyuk (10 points, 12 rebounds), Felix Von Hofe (17 points, 4-of-7 from the 3-point line), Sir Washington (15 points before fouling out) and Julian Harrell (11). Those six players combined for all of the Eagles' 93 points as no other EWU player on the roster cracked the scoring column.
Eastern Washington, which leads the NCAA in offensive efficiency, ranks sixth in the nation in both field goal percentage and 3-point field goal percentage.
The Hornets return to action in two days when they host Idaho at 7:05 p.m. inside the Nest.
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February 19, 2016 MEN'S HOOPS HOSTS IDAHO ON SATURDAY NIGHT AT 7 P.M.
February 19, 2016 FORMER MEN'S BASKETBALL ASSISTANT COACH DWAYNE CANADA PASSES AWAY
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February 16, 2016 MEN'S HOOPS BACK AT THE NEST ON THURSDAY, HOSTS EASTERN WASHINGTON
February 13, 2016 MEN’S BASKETBALL’S LATE RUN FALL SHORT IN 66-64 ROAD LOSS AT IDAHO STATE
February 12, 2016 MEN'S HOOPS TRAVELS TO POCATELLO FOR SATURDAY GAME AT IDAHO STATE
February 11, 2016 MEN’S HOOPS HELD TO SEASON LOW IN POINTS IN 63-50 LOSS AT WEBER STATE
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February 4, 2016 HUGE 2ND HALF HELPS MEN’S BASKETBALL BEAT FIRST-PLACE MONTANA, 83-79
February 3, 2016 MEN'S HOOPS WELCOMES MONTANA TO THE NEST ON THURSDAY NIGHT
February 1, 2016 ANTICIPATION BUILDING ON THE ROAD TO RENO FOR BIG SKY TOURNAMENT
January 29, 2016 MEN'S HOOPS TRAVELS TO EASTERN WASHINGTON FOR SATURDAY MATINEE
January 28, 2016 MEN’S BASKETBALL GETS BIG ROAD WIN AT IDAHO, 65-63
January 27, 2016 MEN'S BASKETBALL TRAVELS TO IDAHO FOR THURSDAY EVENING MATCHUP
January 23, 2016 RED-HOT PORTLAND STATE RACES PAST MEN’S BASKETBALL
January 21, 2016 ROAD TO RENO PRIZE PACKAGE TO BE GIVEN AWAY AT SATURDAY'S MBB GAME
January 15, 2016 MEN'S HOOPS WELCOMES WEBER STATE TO THE NEST ON SATURDAY NIGHT
January 13, 2016 MEN'S BASKETBALL FINALLY BACK AT HOME ON THURSDAY VS. IDAHO STATE
January 9, 2016 MEN’S HOOPS FALLS ON THE ROAD AT MONTANA
January 8, 2016 MEN'S HOOPS WRAPS UP ROAD TRIP ON SATURDAY EVENING AT MONTANA
January 7, 2016 LATE MONTANA STATE RUN DOOMS MEN’S BASKETBALL IN 71-64 LOSS
December 30, 2015 MEN'S BASKETBALL OPENS BIG SKY PLAY SATURDAY AT PORTLAND STATE
December 28, 2015 MEN’S HOOPS IMPROVES TO 7-4 AFTER 78-49 VICTORY OVER PACIFIC UNION
December 27, 2015 MEN'S HOOPS HOSTS PACIFIC UNION ON MONDAY IN FINAL NON-LEAGUE GAME
December 21, 2015 LATE STANFORD RUN SPOILS MEN’S BASKETBALL’S UPSET BID
December 20, 2015 MBB PLAYS AT STANFORD ON MONDAY; 1ST GAME VS. CARDINAL SINCE 2007
December 12, 2015 MEN’S BASKETBALL FALLS TO 6-3 AFTER 81-73 LOSS AT PORTLAND
December 10, 2015 MEN'S HOOPS BEGINS ROAD STRETCH ON SATURDAY EVENING AT PORTLAND
December 8, 2015 JUSTIN STRINGS NAMED BIG SKY MEN’S BASKETBALL PLAYER OF THE WEEK
December 7, 2015 MEN'S BASKETBALL MAKES BIG PLAYS LATE IN WIN OVER INCARNATE WORD
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December 1, 2015 MEN'S BASKETBALL LOOKS FOR SEASON SWEEP OF UC DAVIS ON WEDNESDAY
November 29, 2015 MEN'S HOOPS PLAYS PACIFIC FOR 1ST TIME SINCE 2009 AT THE NEST TODAY
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November 28, 2015 MEN’S HOOPS DROPS FIRST GAME OF THE SEASON TO SOUTH DAKOTA, 96-90
November 27, 2015 MEN'S HOOPS OPENS HOME TOURNEY SATURDAY VS. SOUTH DAKOTA AT 3:30 PM
November 24, 2015 MEN’S BASKETBALL IMPROVES TO 4-0 WITH AN 84-79 WIN OVER UC DAVIS
November 23, 2015 MEN'S HOOPS AND UC DAVIS HOOK UP FOR 113TH TIME ON TUESDAY AT THE NEST
November 20, 2015 MEN’S HOOPS IMPROVES TO 3-0 AFTER A 96-56 VICTORY OVER HOLY NAMES
November 19, 2015 HOME OPENER FOR MEN'S HOOPS THIS FRIDAY VS. HOLY NAMES AT 7 PM
November 17, 2015 GRAVES NAMED BIG SKY MEN’S BASKETBALL PLAYER OF THE WEEK
November 16, 2015 NATIONAL WEEKLY AWARDS POURING IN FOR MEN'S HOOPS' MARCUS GRAVES
November 15, 2015 MEN'S HOOPS PLAYS 2ND ROAD GAME IN 3 DAYS ON SUNDAY AT SEATTLE
November 15, 2015 HUGE SECOND HALF PROPELS MEN’S HOOPS TO A 77-65 WIN AT SEATTLE
November 13, 2015 LATE RUN GIVES MEN’S BASKETBALL A 66-63 UPSET WIN AT ARIZONA STATE
November 11, 2015 MEN’S BASKETBALL SIGNS BEYER HIGH SCHOOL GUARD GEORGE DANCER
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November 6, 2015 MEN’S BASKETBALL CRUSHES SIMPSON, 103-63, IN EXHIBITION GAME
November 2, 2015 DICKSON BECOMES 2ND PLAYER IN SCHOOL HISTORY DRAFTED IN NBA D-LEAGUE
October 27, 2015 ERNEST TSCHANNEN DONATES $750,000 TO POWER OF 1,000 HORNETS
September 30, 2015 MEN’S HOOPS SEASON QUICKLY APPROACHING, 1ST OFFICIAL PRACTICE ON FRIDAY
September 3, 2015 HEAD COACH BRIAN KATZ RECEIVES FIVE-YEAR COMMITMENT THROUGH 2020
June 29, 2015 MEN’S BASKETBALL ANNOUNCES ITS 2015-16 SCHEDULE