Eastern Washington did some good things in Tuesday night’s non-conference men’s basketball game against Boise State.
Shooting and defending – especially early on, were not among them, however. And the Broncos took advantage of those deficiencies to run the Eagles out of Reese Court, 82-69.
Ike Okoye finished with 21 points, a career-high 17 rebounds and six blocked shots that matched another career high to lead BSU (3-2), which blistered the Eagles (2-3) with an early barrage of fast-break buckets and never trailed in the contest.
“That’s what they do,” Eastern coach Kirk Earlywine said of the Broncos, who seemed to startle the Eagles with their early speed in scoring the first 10 points of the game – most of them on run-out baskets following EWU misses. “The first five minutes of the game were the game.
“We got down by double digits, and we never were able to recover.”
The Eagles, despite shooting only 34.2 percent (25 of 73) from the field, did manage to close to within 54-53 midway through the second half, but seemed to run out of energy in letting Boise loose on a 9-0 run that pretty much settled the issue.
Senior guard Benny Valentine scored 11 straight points to help Eastern slice into the Broncos’ lead, but did not score again and finished with 16. Senior center Brandon Moore led the Eagles’ scoring with 18 points, while also pulling down nine rebounds.
But EWU’s freshman guard trio of Glen Dean, Jeffrey Forbes and Kevin Winford was virtually invisible in shooting a combined 6 for 27 from the floor and scoring just 18 points.
Earlywine admitted he was disappointed in his team’s inability to slow Boise’s break early, but explained that the Eagles – because of injuries to Winford (concussion), Matt Brunell (ankle) and Abebe Demissie (hamstring) – were unable to practice full speed since returning from last Saturday’s road win over Texas-Arlington.
“Because we were so shorthanded, we couldn’t work on conversion defense live in practice,” he said. “There were a variety of factors – five games in 11 days, being shorthanded – I could start making a list. But you know what? Every team can, and no one is feeling sorry for us.
“We’ve just got to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”
Boise shot 59.4 percent (19 of 32) in building a seemingly comfortable 44-30 halftime lead that included 14 points off the break. And the Broncos were able to weather Eastern’s second-half comeback in impressive fashion.
“You just use up so much energy doing that,” Earlywine said of his team’s failed attempt to reel in BSU. “And you know what? Their top nine guys are juniors and seniors, so I didn’t expect them to panic and go in the tank.
“And they didn’t.”
Boise State 82, E. Washington 69
Boise State (3-2)—Okoye 8-14 5-6 21, Arnold 8-13 2-2 18, Cunningham 5-7 0-0 10, Perryman 1-3 0-2 2, Anderson 3-9 4-4 10, Montreal 2-4 4-6 9, Thomas 0-1 0-0 0, Noonan 4-7 2-3 10, Moritz 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 32-60 17-23 82.
Eastern Washington (2-3)—Gibbs 0-3 2-2 2, Dunn 4-6 0-0 8, Moore 7-15 4-4 18, Dean 3-14 3-3 12, Forbes 2-8 0-0 4, Valentine 5-15 3-3 16, Griffin 3-7 1-2 7, Winford 1-5 0-0 2. Totals 25-73 13-14 69. Halftime—Boise St. 44-30. 3-Point Goals—Boise St. 1-7 (Montreal 1-1, Okoye 0-1, Arnold 0-1, Anderson 0-2, Noonan 0-2), E. Washington 6-20 (Dean 3-7, Valentine 3-10, Forbes 0-1, Dunn 0-1, Winford 0-1). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Boise St. 45 (Okoye 17), E. Washington 36 (Moore 9). Assists—Boise St. 19 (Anderson 6), E. Washington 15 (Dean 6). Total Fouls—Boise St. 14, E. Washington 18. Technical—E. Washington Bench. A—1,412.
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