Eastern Washington continues to take down the Big Sky Conference’s best, and just about everyone else.
At home, anyway.
The Eagles needed an extra session Saturday to dispatch second-place Northern Colorado 88-78 at Reese Court, an overtime win fueled by a quartet of double-digit scorers and a key steal in the final seconds of regulation.
Mason Peatling (24 points), Jesse Hunt (21 points), Tyler Kidd (21 points) and Jacob Davison (13 points) paced the Eagles (9-17, 7-6 Big Sky), who used an 11-1 run in overtime to finally put away the Bears (17-9, 11-4).
EWU won its sixth straight in Cheney and has defeated four of the top five teams in the Big Sky standings at home, including first-place Montana.
“We’re shooting great at home and over 50 percent tonight,” said Hunt, who also had seven rebounds and six assists. “We’re just locked in. We knew the game plan. We (lost close games on the road at Montana and Montana State) last week we should have won, and those sting, but it’s great to be home and this was a big win.”
Kidd’s early 3-pointer in OT gave EWU a lead it didn’t relinquish, a shot that that came moments after a potential game-saving play on the defensive end of the floor.
Tied at 75 in the closing seconds of regulation, Northern Colorado standout guard Jordan Davis looked to take the potential winning shot. Kidd ripped the ball from Davis at the top of the key, however, and sprinted down the court for a winning try of his own that was defended, sending the game into OT.
EWU had a chance for the go-ahead bucket with 24 seconds left in regulation, but Kidd turned the ball over near Northern Colorado’s bench while attempting to break the Bears’ press.
“We’ve been in that position before a couple times, where we needed a stop at the end of a game or overtime, and we’ve done it,” EWU coach Shantay Legans said. “I think we have the smartest guys on the court most games, and they understand what’s going to happen.
“Kidd loses the ball, and he’s down, but his teammates brought him back and got him going in the right direction.”
The Eagles, who fell 75-63 at Northern Colorado last month, hit five of their first eight 3-pointers and shot nearly 55 percent from the field. Kidd hit 5 of 6 from 3-point range.
Hunt scored 13 points in the first half. EWU trailed 40-38 at halftime before leading most of the second half, despite its best scorer, Davison, going down with an ankle injury near the 10-minute mark.
Davison didn’t return and his status is uncertain for Monday’s game against Idaho. He was on crutches after the game.
Peatling’s two baskets and a 3-pointer by Kidd gave the Eagles a 75-67 lead late in the second half, but EWU went scoreless the next 3 minutes, opening the door for Northern Colorado.
The Bears went on a 7-0 run, capped off by Jordan Davis jumper that tied the game at 75 with 24 seconds left.
Peatling, who hit 11 of his 15 shots and had a game-high eight rebounds, said he was confident going into overtime.
“We’re running downhill with the wind at our back and the crowd is going crazy,” Peatling said.
“When we get to overtime we say, ‘Hell yeah, let’s do it.’ That’s the mindset we have.”
UNC shot 10 for 21 from 3-point range and had six players in double figures.
“In the overtime, we held them to 1-of-6 shooting and that was really big-time,” Legans said.
“We played pretty well in stretches. We just have to be better defensively, but I’m proud as heck of this team.”
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