After an outstanding first half, the switch was flipped in the second half for the Eastern Washington University men’s basketball team.
Montana State went from 30 percent shooting in the first half to 73 percent after intermission to register a 71-59 Big Sky Conference victory Sunday over the Eagles in Bozeman, Mont.
Sophomore point guard Glen Dean paced the Eagles (4-13, 1-4 Big Sky) with 17 points, four assists and a pair of steals. Sophomore guard Kevin Winford made 4 of 10 3-point attempts and finished with 14 points.
“I don’t understand how that can happen after how well we played defensively in the first half, which was just outstanding,” said Eastern coach Kirk Earlywine. “I was pleased with our level of competitiveness in the first half – other than some missed block-outs that caused us to be outrebounded by nine. We guarded our butts off and had only four turnovers.”
The loss extended EWU’s losing streak on the road to 16 games – 10 games this year and six to end the 2009-10 season.
The Eagles led 34-31 early in the second half but a 15-1 Montana State run helped the Bobcats open a double-digit lead as EWU went from 16:32 to 9:22 without a field goal. The closest Eastern came after that was seven points.
“In the second half it almost looked like we flipped a switch,” said Earlywine. “Our team played well and got ourselves a three-point lead, but the way we were getting it done apparently wasn’t pretty enough for us. It looked like we were trying to outscore them 50-48 in the second half. When you struggle to score the ball in the paint, that’s hard to do.”
Erik Rush, Rod Singleton and Bobby Howard each scored 14 points to lead five players in double figures for the Bobcats (11-7, 5-1).