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Eastern Washington basketball continues high-scoring ways in rout of Omaha

UPDATED: Tue., Dec. 17, 2019

Kim Aiken Jr. called bank.

Eastern Washington’s sophomore pulled up 7 feet behind the 3-point line before the halftime buzzer sounded, releasing from an angle that allowed his long attempt to drop in off the backboard.

He was right about the call and the Eagles got hot in a 97-56 nonconference win over Omaha on Tuesday at Reese Court.

The buzzer-beating bank highlighted a game-changing 19-0 run that saw Aiken score 11 in a long-range burst, giving EWU a 51-28 cushion that only widened.

EWU (7-3) connected on 13 of 36 3-pointers against the Mavericks (6-8), a program that won 21 games a season ago and reached the Summit League Conference Tournament title game.

Omaha, picked fourth in the Summit League preseason coaches poll, was held to 21 of 63 from the field.

The Big Sky Conference preseason favorite Eagles – who lead Division I in scoring (90.7 points per game) – had four players reach double figures in scoring, including Aiken (23 points, 10 rebounds) Jacob Davison (12 points, six assists), Mason Peatling (19 points, 12 rebounds) and Ellis Magnuson (10 points, seven assists).

It was Aiken’s seventh double-double of the season.

“It was a great play call,” Aiken said of the final shot of the first half, his third 3-pointer in the key run. “Mason was supposed to look to the other side but handed the ball to me. So I just shot it.”

A month after beating Washington State 85-77 in the Cayman Islands, Omaha appeared ready to push the Eagles, cutting their lead to 26-23 after Matt Pile scored inside with 6 minutes left.

Davison answered with a 3-pointer and EWU began its surge.

Davison, EWU’s leading scorer, started the second half with a putback jam that fueled the Eagles the rest of the way.

“We wanted to play fast and push the ball up the court to make sure they had to run back,” EWU coach Shantay Legans said. “As the game wore on, they were getting tired. We have a smart basketball team and they are going to do what’s best for our team. We have some great leaders out there and they played really well.”

EWU is 2-0 against Summit League opponents, downing North Dakota 98-82 in Cheney two weeks ago.

Omaha, which has dropped five of its last six games, was led by Pile’s nine points and four rebounds.

Twelve players reached the scoring column for EWU, which is off its best start since the 2015-2016 season.

EWU faces neighbor and second-ranked Gonzaga for the first time since 2011 on Saturday at McCarthey Athletic Center.

“They’re definitely the big dogs around here, so we’re looking forward to the challenge,” Peatling said.

Peatling earns Big Sky Player of Week honors

For the second time in as many weeks, EWU had a player earn Big Sky Player of the Week distinction.

After scoring 54 points in 24 minutes against NAIA Division II Multnomah on Friday, Peatling, a 6-foot-9 forward, was honored Tuesday.

Last week, Davison was the player of the week, scoring 39 in a win against North Dakota.

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