Eastern Washington made a run at upsetting Washington, but the Huskies made the runs that mattered most in a 92-80 nonconference basketball win Sunday night in Seattle.
After leading by as many as 13 points early in the second half, Eastern finally wilted against a five-guard Husky lineup that scored 53 points in the second half, feasted off 10 second-half turnovers and put on a clinic at the foul line.
“To beat a good team on their home floor you need to play a complete game,” said Eastern coach Jim Hayford, whose team was just 11 of 23 at the line compared with a 31-of-34 effort by the Huskies.
The loss dropped the Eagles to 1-1 going into Tuesday’s 6 p.m. home game against Walla Walla. Washington is 2-1.
Point guard Drew Brandon, a junior-college transfer playing just his second game as an Eagle, turned in a double-double for the Eagles with 13 points, 14 rebounds and six assists. Sophomore guard Tyler Harvey had a career-high 28 points, including 20 in the first half when the Eagles opened up a double-digit lead.
“We had them on the ropes, but we just have to finish games,” Brandon said. “It’s a good learning experience for us coming to UW. We just need to control the ball and limit our turnovers.”
Eastern led 48-39 at halftime as Harvey scored 20 of his points in the first half. He made 5 of 8 3-pointers – including a four-point play – as EWU finished 7 of 15 in the half as a team.
“Tyler was unbelievable that first half,” Hayford said. “Then they did a great job of making life really, really hard on Tyler.
The Eagles built the lead to 54-41 early in the second half thanks to a pair of baskets by Martin Seiferth and a layup by Parker Kelly at the 18:10 mark. But Seiferth picked up his fourth foul with 16:31 to play and EWU leading 67-57.
“Martin was in foul trouble the whole game, but I thought he played well in the minutes he had,” Hayford said.
With fouls mounting and Washington’s free-throw total soaring, the Eagles held a 70-63 lead with 10:17 to play on a 3-pointer by Harvey. But UW followed with its 12-0 run to take a 75-70 lead.
Nigel Williams-Gross scored seven of his team-high 22 points in the run, which saw the Eagles twice miss the front ends of one-and-one free-throw opportunities.
Eastern trailed just 81-79 after a layup by Harvey with 4:32 to play, but was outscored 11-1 the rest of the way.
“We need to improve as a foul-shooting team and we need to take advantage of that,” Hayford said. “You know they are going to answer with a run, but if we’re making all of our free throws it’s a one-possession game at the end. That played against us,” Hayford said.