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EWU Men’s basketball defeats Montana State but falls to Montana in weekend play

Senior Jake Wiley finishes off a dunk in EWU's 82-64 rout against Montana State of Jan. 5

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Senior Jake Wiley finishes off a dunk in EWU's 82-64 rout against Montana State of Jan. 5

By Riley Baker, Staff Reporter

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The Eagles matched up against both Montana and Montana State over the weekend, going 1-1 in the two games while putting up an impressive showing on defense.

EWU allowed 64 points to MSU and 65 to UM while totaling 57 defensive rebounds and seven blocked shots between the two games. The defense also held MSU to 37.9 percent from the field and UM to 42.3 percent.

EWU’s offense was able to chip away at MSU, making 60.4 percent of their shots from the field. But UM countered the Eagle defense with a strong showing of their own, holding EWU to 40.4 percent from the field.

In the matchup between two rivals, it was ultimately the fouls and resulting free throws that led to the Eagle loss against Montana. UM had 24 shots from the free throw line, while EWU had only eight, leading Montana to outscore EWU 16-7 from the line.

With under a minute left to play in the game, EWU was called for a defensive foul on what appeared to have been a travel against Montana guard Walter Wright. After Wright sunk both free throw shots, Bogdan Bliznyuk and Felix Von Hofe each had looks from the 3-point line but failed to execute, missing both of them.

“We thought we played some really good defense and forced a travel but it wasn’t and was a foul on us,” said Hayford. “The Big Sky officiating has been really good this year and those guys are under a lot of stress. They’re going to look at that tape more than anyone else.”

Aside from the foul calls, the Eagles as an offensive unit did not have an overwhelming performance.

“We can shoot better – Bogdan and Felix can shoot better than that from three,” said Hayford. “At the end of the day, credit Montana’s defense – we have to make more baskets.”

Senior Jake Wiley went 3-for-10 from the field while Von Hofe went 1-for-7.

“That’s on the players,” said Bliznyuk. “We have to get better.”

The Eagles’ first home loss of the season bumps EWU out of the first place spot in the Big Sky Conference and into a tie for third. The team’s next game is today at Idaho State at 6:05 p.m. and can be heard live on 700-AM ESPN.

 

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EWU Men’s basketball defeats Montana State but falls to Montana in weekend play