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Sacramento State takes over first place from EWU

From News Services

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – It’s hard to make a statement when you’re missing one of your standouts.

Playing without leading rebounder, and second-leading scorer Venky Jois, Eastern Washington’s reign as the top team in the Big Sky Conference came to an end after a 90-77 defeat to Sacramento State Saturday night.

“Sacramento State played a really good game,” said Eastern head coach Jim Hayford. “Everybody says you have to defend your home court, but you have to do it with spirit, passion and toughness, and they did that.”

Cody Demps scored 14 of his career-high 22 in the final 7:31, and the Hornets shot a blistering 73 percent in the second half, and 63 percent for the game. The point total and shooting percentage were the best against Eastern this season.

“You know you are going to take everybody’s best shot,” Hayford added. “Yes, they shot the ball well, but we should have given them more resistance.”

With the victory, the Hornets took over sole possession of first place in the conference.

The Eagles were led by 21 points from Tyler Harvey.

Harvey hit a pair of free throws to cut Eastern Washington’s deficit to 77-73 with 3:54 remaining, but the Eagles missed their next four field-goal attempts during a 7-0 run which pushed the Sacramento State lead into double figures with 1:07 to play.

Filling in for the injured Jois, sitting out with an ankle sprain suffered in the first half of Thursday’s win over Portland State, freshman Bogdan Bliznyuk helped the Eagles, adding a season-high 19 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.

The loss snapped Eastern’s five-game winning streak.

The Eagles will look to bounce back at home on Thursday versus Northern Colorado.

Big SkyOverall
Sacramento State51116
Eastern Washington41135
Northern Colorado4197
Northern Arizona32810
Portland State3397
Weber State3389
Southern Utah23511
North Dakota14511
Idaho State15414
Montana State05314
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