BOZEMAN – Almost single-handedly, Glen Dean ended Eastern’s road woes.
The Eastern Washington University freshman guard hit a running 6-foot bank shot with 3.8 seconds remaining to lift the Eagles to a 75-73 Big Sky Conference men’s basketball upset over Montana State on Sunday at Worthington Arena.
Dean scored 23 points, and also led the team with seven assists and six rebounds as Eastern recorded just its second road win in 11 tries this season. Eastern is now 6-11 overall and 2-2 in the Big Sky.
“He was outstanding,” Eastern head coach Kirk Earlywine said of the 2008 graduate of Roosevelt High School in Seattle. “Maybe more than anything else, what decided this game was good recruiting as it often does. He gets a little better and we get a little better. We give him a little bit more each week and he’s just a sponge – he absorbs it. He never lets down with his level of competiveness.”
Tied at 73 with 21.8 seconds remaining, Eastern put the ball in the hands of its rapidly-improving point guard. After Dean’s game-winning shot, MSU’s Will Bynum missed a shot at the buzzer that could have sent it to overtime.
“The plan was to put the ball in Glen Dean’s hands – I am smart enough to figure that out,” Earlywine said of the game-winner. “In a perfect world he would have done that at the buzzer. We told him to go at eight (seconds), but he got a little antsy like a freshman does early. It was a tad early and gave them a little more time than I had liked, but he made a heck of a shot.”
The victory was Eastern’s first in six tries in Bozeman since a 64-61 triumph Feb. 5, 2004. Eastern is now 7-25 all-time in Bozeman against the Bobcats. Montana State fell out of a three-way tie for first in the Big Sky, and is now 9-7 overall and 4-2 in the league.
“I’ll tell you what, the six-hour drive back is going to feel a lot nicer this year than the last two,” the third-year Eastern head coach said.
Senior Mark Dunn hit 7 of 12 shots from the field to finish with 16 points. Sophomore Laron Griffin sparked Eastern in the second half with 10 points. Griffin also had four rebounds, with three of them coming on the offensive end.
Freshman Kevin Winford hit all three of his shots – all 3-pointers – to finish with nine points. Dean made 8 of 12 as Eastern made 46 percent of its shots for the second-straight game.