Eagles fall flat again on road
Miljkoic’s 32 wasted in defeat at Portland State
PORTLAND – Its first road victory still eludes the Eastern Washington men’s basketball team.
A 10-point halftime lead wasn’t good enough to get over the hump.
Nor were 32 points from freshman Ognjen Miljkoic, who scored 17 of his career-high total in the first half.
Andre Winston Jr. scored 23 for Portland State, which got hot in the second half and came back to defeat the Eagles 92-83 in Big Sky Conference action on Monday night at the Stott Center.
It was the 10th straight road defeat of the season for the Eagles, who are 8-11, 3-5 in the Big Sky.
Eastern started off hot, making 69.6 percent of its field goal attempts in the first half, and took a 40-30 halftime lead.
But the Eagles cooled to 36.1 percent in the second half, going nearly five minutes without a field goal to open the period, and let the Vikings back in the game. Portland State heated up to hit 65.5 percent after intermission.
Portland State’s 17-6 run in the first six minutes after the break pulled it ahead 46-44.
EWU battled back to close it to 59-58 following a 3-point shot by Tyler Harvey. But the Vikings answered with a 13-3 run for a 72-61 advantage with 4:52 remaining.
Tim Douglas had 17 points for the Vikings (9-8, 4-4 Big Sky), who made 14 of 16 free throws in the last 2:22.
EWU had a season-high 19 turnovers, leading to a 35-11 PSU advantage in points off turnovers.
“Give them credit,” said Eastern head coach Jim Hayford. “It’s hard, it’s really hard, so we’re here learning a lesson instead of celebrating a win.
“We have to hold the game plan for a full 40 minutes, and we’re not doing that right now.”
Miljkovic made 11 of 14 shots with four 3-pointers, and has averaged 18.7 points in the last three games he’s played.
His previous career high of 15 was set at Connecticut on Dec. 28, his last game before missing the next six because of an ankle sprain. He added five rebounds and a pair of assists, but also had seven turnovers.
“Obviously, O.G. is back and healthy with 32 points,” said Hayford. “I don’t like the seven turnovers too much, but that was because they got into him and pressured him.”
Harvey, a sophomore and the leading scorer in the Big Sky Conference with an average of 21.2 points entering the game, scored 18 for the Eagles. He also made 4 of 9 3-point attempts, but was just 1 of 7 from inside the arc.
Sophomore Venky Jois chipped in 11 points and 10 rebounds, giving him his seventh double-double of the season and 16th in his career.