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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

EWU men’s basketball opens season with exhibition against St. Martin’s

Forward Bogdan Bliznyuk (32) and his EWU teammates play St. Martin’s in an exhibition on Sunday. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

For Eastern Washington basketball fans who didn’t have the time or money to visit Australia last summer, Sunday will be their first chance to see this year’s Eagles.

The post-Venky Jois era begins Sunday at 2 p.m. at Reese Court, where the Eagles open the season with an exhibition against St. Martin’s.

The game also serves as a homecoming for former EWU assistant Alex Pribble, now the coach at St. Martin’s; and 7-foot-1 center Erik Jörg, a fan favorite who played in 31 games for the Eagles over two seasons.

Also on the St. Martin’s roster is Rico Nuño, who played 17 games for Eastern last year as a junior college transfer.

“We scheduled this game because we wanted a great challenge – that was No. 1,” Eastern coach Jim Hayford said.

“Secondly, we wanted to bring Fred back and honor him for his tremendous role in helping establish the culture of the Eastern basketball program. Thirdly, it’s always good to see Alex, who was a great part of our program for two seasons,” Hayford said.

The Eagles’ preseason began with a summer tour of Australia that included seven games and a scrimmage. The added games helped continuity after the graduation of Jois – the leading scorer in school history – and point guard Austin McBroom, the top scorer last season in the Big Sky Conference.

Eastern’s roster includes three returning starters, who were all selected to the College Sports Madness preseason All-Big Sky Conference squad. They include junior forward Bogdan Bliznyuk and seniors Felix Von Hofe and Julian Harrell.

Sunday’s game is free and open to the public. The Eagles open the regular season on Nov. 11 against Linfield in a Veterans Day matinee at noon at Reese Court.