A little resilience went a long way for Eastern Washington on Thursday night at Portland State.
The Eagles may need even more tonight, as star forward Venky Jois suffered an ankle injury early in EWU’s 92-85 win over the Vikings.
Coach Jim Hayford said Jois’ status will be a game-time decision tonight, when the Eagles face Sacramento State.
At PSU, Jois’ right ankle came down on a PSU player’s foot. “Fortunately he was wearing a brace,” Hayford said of Jois, who averages 18 points and a team-high 7.5 rebounds.
In Jois’ absence, the Eagles (13-4, 4-0 Big Sky) got another big game from their bench and from guard Parker Kelly, who had a season-high 19 points while hitting 6 of 9 from 3-point range.
They may have to come through again at Sac State.
Following a 79-76 win against Idaho on Thursday, the Hornets are 4-1 in the conference and 10-6 overall.
The two teams have already combined for 23 victories, including eight Big Sky wins. Just two seasons ago, both missed the conference tournament and were a collective 24-36, including 15-25 in the Big Sky.
While Eastern guard Tyler Harvey continues to lead NCAA Division I in scoring (23.4 per game), Sac State has two guards ranked in the top 10 in the Big Sky. Mikh McKinney is third (17.9) and Dylan Garrity is 10th (14.7), and both are averaging 18.2 points in conference games.
“McKinney and Garrity are really good and they are a very well-coached team,” Hayford said. “I have a lot of respect for them, and there is respect between both teams. It will be a physical game but it will be a clean game. Two good teams will be playing against each other.”
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