Propelled by hot shooting during a trio of scoring runs, the Eastern Washington University men’s basketball team beat San Francisco for the second-straight year, winning 81-77 at War Memorial Gymnasium in San Francisco.
Eastern (4-3) used runs of 10-0 and 13-2 in the first half to forge a 17-point lead on sizzling 13-of-16 shooting from the field. The Eagles hit five-straight shots to regain a 17-point bulge in the second half with a 14-4 run, then held on for EWU’s fourth win of the season.
“The bottom line is we come out of here with a win, and get two out of three on the road,” said Eastern head coach Jim Hayford, whose team made 14-of-30 3-point shots and made 51 percent overall, plus turned 17 USF turnovers into 25 points. “I’m just really, really pleased with this win.”
A late 9-1 run by the Dons (4-3) cut the lead to three with 50 seconds to play, but USF missed its last three shots. Eastern’s Austin McBroom clinched the victory with a free throw with seven seconds to play, but six missed charity shots in the final 58 seconds made the Eagles sweat it out.
“Young teams have to learn how to close out wins on the road, and we went through about five chapters of that lesson,” said Hayford. “So we’ll learn from it. Obviously, if we make our free throws it doesn’t even get that way. We did a really job taking care of the ball with only nine turnovers. So it wasn’t turnovers during (their late run), it was us missing free throws and they were scoring.”
Junior Felix Von Hofe made 8-of-11 field goals, including 4-of-7 from the 3-point stripe, to finish with 20 points. Senior Austin McBroom scored 19, making 5-of-9 3-pointers. He also had five assists.
Senior Venky Jois finished with 11 points and a pair of blocked shots to give him 201 for his career. Sophomore Bogdan Bliznyuk was the fourth Eagle in double figures with 13, and also had four assists.
A year ago, the Eagles beat the Dons, 81-76. Coupled with EWU’s win over Pacific last Saturday, EWU has won its last three games against foes from the West Coast Conference.
The Eagles return home to face Great Falls on Sunday at 2 p.m.
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