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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Eastern’s loss muddles Big Sky outlook

UPDATED: Sat., Feb. 21, 2015

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Eastern Washington rallied from a 10-point deficit in the second half, but missed its final five shots and Northern Arizona scored the final five points of the game from the free-throw line for a 73-69 Big Sky Conference men’s basketball win Saturday at thWalkup Skydome. Tyler Harvey, Venky Jois and Bogdan Bliznyuk combined for 53 of EWU’s points, but Eastern couldn’t overcome 38.3 percent shooting from the field and 25 percent on 3-pointers (8 of 32). The Eagles took their final lead at 69-68 with 3:15 to play, but missed their last five shots, three of them open 3-pointers. “I’m really proud of our team for fighting and battling back to get the lead,” said coach Jim Hayford. “For this to be a one-possession game shows that we were able to battle. We had some key guys for us have a really, really hard night offensively.” There were 17 lead changes and 11 ties. The Lumberjacks (15-12 overall, 10-4 Big Sky), have won seven of their last eight games to pull within one game of the 11-3 Eagles. Montana defeated Weber State to improve to 12-3 in the conference and take over first place, a half-game ahead of Eastern. Eastern (20-7 overall) picked up its 20th win – equaling its most in 32 seasons at the NCAA Division I level – in a 78-75 win at Southern Utah two days earlier. Eastern came up short Saturday in its first attempt to equal a school record with its 12th Big Sky victory. “It was just a really, really great basketball game, and that’s why it came right down to the end,” added Hayford. “It was a great atmosphere – we just weren’t on the side we want to be on.”
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