GRAND FORKS, N.D. – Bogdan Bliznyuk went on a tear in the second half, scored 29 points on 12-for-18 shooting and Eastern Washington defeated North Dakota 77-64 on Sunday.
The win was the first time Eastern Washington (6-9, 1-1 Big Sky) has won in Grand Forks.
“It is great to win here,” said first-year Eastern head coach Shantay Legans in a team release. “It was our last conference game here, so the seniors and new players were excited to play this game.”
The win also snapped a seven-game losing streak on the road for Eastern. Its last win away from Cheney came on Nov. 14 against Stanford. The Eagles are 2-8 on the road.
The Eagles led 42-26 at halftime but North Dakota (4-9, 0-2) steadily worked the lead down to 50-47 when Tray Buchanan hit from 3 with 10:38 remaining.
Then came a Bliznyuk blitz. He scored the next eight points in about two minutes with a 3, a three-point play and a jump shot, driving the lead back to 11 and forcing a North Dakota timeout at 6:59. After the timeout, Bliznyuk scored six more for a 14-point, one-man outburst before Cody Benzel launched a 3-pointer that gave Eastern a 67-49 lead with 3:20 to play.
“Gee, can you say anything else about Bogdan?” said Legans. “He played a great game today. He took the ball and just played. After that, other guys followed his lead and made plays.”
Jesse Hunt scored 16 points and Sir Washington 12 for EWU, while Dale Jones led North Dakota with 20 points and 11 rebounds.
The two teams will meet again on Jan. 25 in Cheney.