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Northern Colorado tops Eastern Washington in Big Sky Conference men’s opener

UPDATED: Fri., Dec. 29, 2017, 9:40 p.m.

GREELEY, Colo. – Andre Spight had 21 points and 10 rebounds to help Northern Colorado beat Eastern Washington 88-75 in the Big Sky Conference men’s basketball opener for both teams on Friday night.

The Bears (10-4) led from start to finish, but the Eagles (5-9) closed within seven points with a late 9-3 run.

The Bears pushed the lead into double digits for good during an 8-2 run that ended at 74-61. They followed with an 11-4 run that extended their lead to 85-67 with 1:21 to play.

“Road wins are hard to come by in the Big Sky,” Eastern head coach Shantay Legans said. “I felt like we were prepared and ready for the Northern Colorado game. Our preseason schedule set us up for these types of road games. We just didn’t come out and execute and do what we were supposed to do.”

Jordan Davis added 17 points and Tanner Morgan had a career-high 13 points for Northern Colorado. Anthony Johnson and Jonah Radebaugh added 11 each and Jalen Sanders scored 10.

“I think (Spight and Davis) are maybe the best tandem at guard in the league,” Legans said.

Senior Bogdan Bliznyuk had 23 points, seven rebounds and six assists to lead the Eagles. Bliznyuk has 1,683 points for his career, 120 from the school record.

Junior Jesse Hunt, who equaled his career high with his second consecutive 16-point game, added eight rebounds and four blocks.

The Bears led by as many as 13 in the first half before the Eagles closed to 35-30 with 1:17 left in the period. That was as close as it would get.

The Bears shot 55 percent from the field for the best shooting effort against the Eagles this season. EWU shot 45 percent from the floor.

“They shot 55 percent overall and we have to be better than that,” Legans said. “We gave up layups and open 3s – especially timely 3s – and that hurt. We have to make sure we are in good positions and doing the right things.”

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