POCATELLO – Tremayne Johnson scored five of his seven points on the night during the final 33 seconds, converting 5 of 6 free throws, to secure Eastern Washington’s 85-78 win over Idaho State and ensure a berth in the Big Sky tournament.
The win for the Eagles (13-15, 7-7) also puts them in a position to land a home game during the first round.
There were five lead changes during the first half as Idaho State (9-18, 7-7) went toe-to-toe with Eastern Washington. With 2 minutes left the Eagles took the lead for good, and led at halftime 42-39.
The Bengals battled, twice pulling two points in the final 2:30 and with just 25 seconds left, trailed by a point. But Johnson’s success at the free-throw line sealed the win.
Melvin Morgan led the Bengals with 18 points while Eagles guard Cliff Colimon led all scorers with 21.
Freshman Parker Kelly came off the bench to score 17 points, hitting five out of six 3-point attempts.
Eastern made 9 of 21 3-point attempts in the first half and finished 10 of 26.
Colimon had three 3-pointers. Laron Griffin scored four baskets early in the second half, and finished with a season-high 15 points to go along with seven rebounds. Jeffrey Forbes chipped in 13 points.
Eastern’s leading scorer this season, Colin Chiverton, played just 3 minutes because of a back injury suffered early in the game.
Colimon, Griffin and Kevin Winford all fouled out, but a trio of Eagles came through from the line in the clutch. Cliff Ederaine made a pair with 41 seconds left, and Johnson made one with 31 seconds to play. After ISU cut the lead to one, Forbes hit a pair before a potential game-tying 3-pointer was missed by ISU. Johnson closed out the win with four free throws in the final 12 seconds.
Eastern plays at Portland State on Saturday and is host to Idaho State on Tuesday.
The Big Sky tournament begins on March 3 at campus sites with the third and fourth seeds hosting game.
Either Weber State (14-1) or Montana (13-1) will be the site of the semifinal and championship games.
E. Washington (13-15, 7-7)—Griffin 5-8 5-11 15, Chiverton 0-2 0-0 0, Ederaine 2-3 3-4 7, Kelly 5-8 2-3 17, Forbes 4-8 4-4 13, Colimon 7-15 4-6 21, Johnson 1-2 5-6 7, Winford 0-2 0-0 0, Hickert 2-6 0-0 5. Totals 26-54 23-34 85.
Idaho St. (9-18, 7-7)—Hatchett 6-11 5-7 17, Moreira 5-6 0-1 10, Grabau 4-4 0-0 9, Morgan 5-15 7-9 18, McGowen 4-8 3-4 12, Baldwin 3-6 0-2 6, Mason 1-2 0-0 2, Kusmieruk 1-1 2-4 4, Martin 0-0 0-0 0, Swanson 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 29-55 17-27 78.
Halftime—E. Washington 42-39. 3-Point Goals—E. Washington 10-26 (Kelly 5-7, Colimon 3-8, Forbes 1-3, Hickert 1-5, Chiverton 0-1, Winford 0-1, Johnson 0-1), Idaho St. 3-15 (Grabau 1-1, McGowen 1-5, Morgan 1-6, Swanson 0-1, Baldwin 0-1, Mason 0-1). Fouled Out—Colimon, Grabau, Griffin, McGowen, Moreira, Winford. Rebounds—E. Washington 33 (Griffin 7), Idaho St. 34 (Hatchett 9). Assists—E. Washington 13 (Ederaine 6), Idaho St. 15 (Morgan 4). Total Fouls—E. Washington 25, Idaho St. 30. Technical—E. Washington Bench. A—2,175.
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