A little resilience went a lot way for Eastern Washington on Thursday night at Portland State.
Star forward Venky Jois went down with an ankle injury 9 minutes in the Eagles' 92-85 win, but the Eagles (4-0 Big Sky, 13-4 overall) got another big game from their bench and from guard Parker Kelly, who hit a season-high 19 points while hitting 6 of 9 from 3-point range.
They may have to come through again: coach Jim Hayford said Jois' status is a game-time decision Saturday night at Sacramento State.
At PSU, Jois' right ankle came down on an opposing player's foot. "Fortunately he was wearing a brace," Hayford said of Jois, who missed part of last season with an ankle injury.
Unfazed, the Eagles built a 13-point halftime lead before the Vikings unleashed a barrage a 3-pointers and closed the gap to 5 before Hayford switched to a 1-2-2 zone that left PSU empty-handed on four of its next five possessions.
"We're playing some pretty entertaining basketball," said Hayford, who got a team-high 23 points from national scoring leader Tyler Harvey (23.3 ppg).
The trip gets tougher Saturday at Sac State (4-1 Big Sky, 10-6 Big Sky), which knocked off Idaho Thursday night to remain a game behind the Eagles.
"We just have to get enough stops," Hayford said.