Men’s Basketball Clinches First-Round Bye and Wins 20th Game of Season in Final Homestand
March 2, 2017
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A bittersweet day that began with an emotional Senior Day ceremony ended with an extra dose of sweetness as EWU defeated Idaho State 89-77 to earn their 20th win of the season.
This is the third time in program history the team has reached 20 wins, joining the 1985-86 (20-8) and 2014-15 (26-9) squads.
“It’s huge,” said Jake Wiley. “This being my last season, [and] along the way you realize how hard it is to win games, especially in Division I basketball. So 20 wins with this group, and new guys coming in, I think it’s a testament to how hard we worked this year.”
Before Saturday’s game, seniors Wiley, Felix Von Hofe and the injured Julian Harrell were all honored in the team’s final home game of the season.
The win capped off a triumphant weekend, sweeping the two-game homestand after defeating Weber State earlier in the week 82-72.
The 20-9 overall Eagles are currently riding a four-game win streak, sitting in second place in the Big Sky Conference at 12-4 behind North Dakota (13-3).
On Saturday, Wiley, who watched from the stands at last year’s senior day, scored 38 points to accompany his 15 rebounds in his eighth double-double performance of the season.
“A year ago we were wondering how we were going to replace Venky Jois,” said head coach Jim Hayford. “[Wiley] came and worked his tail off all summer … He just keeps getting better each week, and he’s a big part of why we have such great chemistry.”
Bogdan Bliznyuk also had a double-double, his sixth of the year, with 24 points and 10 rebounds.
EWU has two games left on their regular season schedule, both on the road, starting with Southern Utah (3-13) on March 2 before the conference tournament tips off from Reno on March 7.