Unless you were rooting for Montana State, there was a lot to like about Eastern's 92-68 win last night over the Bobcats.
Sure, the win kept the Eagles in first place in the Big Sky Conference standings and in contention to host the conference tournament. Bit it did something else: it gave them a chance to have some fun.
With the game sewn up midway through the second half, coach Jim Hayford's biggest decision wasn't whether he'd empty the bench, but when. The students helped him along. "We want Frederik," they chanted, and a few minutes later, the 7-foot-1 Frederik Jorg loped onto the court. A few minutes later, Jorg loped onto the court. He finished four points and two boards.
Likewise, backup forward Kyle Reid played for seven minutes and contributed 6 points and a nice slam dunk as the lead swelled to 30 points at one point. Point guard Daniel Hill came on too, scoring two points.
The game was a nice change of pace for the Eagles, who'd played in one nail-biter after another for the past month.
Said Hayford after the game, "We got to play together tonight and were able to keep heavy minutes off the guys -- no one played more than 30 minutes. It’s been a long time since we were able to do that, so this is just what the doctor ordered.”
That's right, the Eagles are healthy again, and just when it matters most.
Next up: Montana, whose loss at Idaho only slightly dampened the excitement for Saturday's game. There's a lot on the line, and on Senior Day, to boot.
Will it be as much fun? I can't wait to find out.