Tremayne Johnson has a way of beating himself up over missed free throws – in a good way.
“I hate ‘em; there’s just no reason for ‘em,” Eastern Washington’s junior forward said Wednesday night following the Eagles’ grinding 95-91 nonconference win over Seattle University at Reese Court.
And it was that kind of attitude that helped Johnson and his teammates persevere – even after giving away most of a 20-point second-half lead – and pick up their first win of the season over an NCAA Division I opponent.
With Seattle (4-9) fouling early and often in an attempt to scramble play and get back in the game, Eastern (3-6) went the final 8 minutes without a field goal but managed to get enough done at the foul line to survive.
The Eagles’ final 22 points came on free throws, and Johnson – after missing the second of two attempts with 2:53 left – made his last six to finish with a game-high 26 points.
The 6-foot-7, 200-pounder, also pulled down eight rebounds, blocked four shots and came up with a steal in what he called “huge win” and “big confidence builder,” coming off a disappointing 70-69 road loss to San Jose State on Sunday.
“We really needed this,” said Johnson, who was one of five Eagles to score in double figures.
Jeffrey Forbes finished with 20 points, Cliff Colimon had 18, Glen Dean – in only his second game of season – added 11 and Kevin Winford chipped in 10, leaving EWU head coach Kirk Earlywine feeling a little better about his team.
“Obviously, for 33-34 minutes, we played awfully well,” Earlywin said. “And then when things got scrambled, it got tougher for us. And they made some tough shots, so give Seattle some credit.
“But my biggest impression is how happy I am that we went to the free-throw line down the stretch and made our free throws.”
Eastern’s last bucket came on a violent, one-handed slam dunk by Johnson off a lob pass from Dean that produced a 73-54 lead with just over 8 minutes left. But Seattle limited the EWU to only one more field-goal try the rest of the way.
Fortunately, for the Eagles, they were able to convert at the foul line, where they made 22 of their last 27 attempts, including 15 of their last 16.
When asked about finally picking up a D-I victory, Earlywine said, “D-I, I-AA, 3, 6 – I don’t care what division it was, we needed a win.”
The Eagles head back on the road to face Nebraska (Dec. 18) and South Dakota (Dec. 20) before returning home to open Big Sky Conference play against Sacramento State on Dec. 29.
Eastern Washington 95, Seattle 91
Seattle (4-9)—Broussard 7-13 4-6 18, Rasmussen 3-5 0-0 8, Jones 6-13 4-4 16, Lever 1-2 0-0 3, Carter 7-21 2-3 19, Wilson 1-4 2-2 4, Stevens 4-7 0-0 11, Durham 3-4 2-2 8, McLaughlin 1-5 0-2 2, Gilmore 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 34-77 14-19 91.
Eastern Washington (3-6)—Ederaine 2-6 4-9 8, Griffin 1-4 0-0 2, Dean 3-8 4-6 11, Forbes 4-11 10-11 20, Winford 3-7 2-2 10, Colimon 6-13 3-4 18, McRae 0-0 0-0 0, Johnson 7-8 9-10 26, Henry 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-57 32-42 95.
Halftime—E. Washington 45-35. 3-Point Goals—Seattle 9-28 (Stevens 3-6, Carter 3-13, Rasmussen 2-4, Lever 1-1, Broussard 0-1, Jones 0-1, McLaughlin 0-2), E. Washington 11-23 (Johnson 3-3, Colimon 3-7, Winford 2-6, Forbes 2-6, Dean 1-1). Fouled Out—Broussard, Durham, Griffin. Rebounds—Seattle 42 (Jones 8), E. Washington 39 (Ederaine 13). Assists—Seattle 21 (Carter 13), E. Washington 15 (Dean, Forbes 4). Total Fouls—Seattle 23, E. Washington 19. Technical—Carter. A—1,015.
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