Eastern Washington’s men’s basketball team couldn’t overcome 17 turnovers in a 75-64 nonconference loss to Mississippi on Friday at the Sandy and John Black Pavilion in Oxford, Mississippi.
The Eagles (0-2) shot 43.1% from the field and had a lead in the second half – there were 15 lead changes in the game – but Ole Miss had an eight-point advantage in points off turnovers that EWU head coach David Riley said was significant.
“We’re going to be a good enough team to withstand a bad shooting night,” Riley said in a postgame radio interview. “Take away five turnovers, that probably takes away four or five of their points.”
That, along with a number of 50-50 plays that went Ole Miss’ way, made a big difference, Riley said.
Six minutes into the second half, Eastern led 47-44 before Ole Miss (2-0) separated itself with an 18-5 run.
Junior Cedric Coward led the Eagles with 16 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the floor. He also grabbed six rebounds, tied with senior Jake Kyman for the team high.
Kyman had 10 points, as did junior Casey Jones. Dane Erikstrup added 12 points, including a 6-for-7 effort at the free-throw line.
The Eagles made just 4 of 22 3-point attempts but outrebounded the Rebels 38-29. Ole Miss’ Allen Flanigan led all scorers with 29 points on 11-of-22 shooting from the field.
“We have a really physical team that takes pride in that, and it really hurt us on Monday when we were not the more physical team,” Riley said in reference to Eastern’s 101-66 loss at Utah. “We knew that rebounding and winning that paint game was going to be the key to this, and the guys bought into that.”
Eastern will stay on the road with a game at Cincinnati (2-0) at 9 a.m. Sunday.