Arrow-right Camera
Subscribe now
Eastern Washington University Basketball

Eastern Washington men regain offensive rhythm to beat Montana 78-65

From staff reports

MISSOULA – Jake Kyman scored 21 points, Casey Jones made a season-high 12 of 16 free throws and the Eastern Washington men’s basketball team beat Montana 78-65 on Saturday at Dahlberg Arena.

It was a notable bounce-back win for the Eagles (14-8, 8-1 Big Sky), who scored a season-low 60 points in a loss Thursday to Montana State.

Against the Grizzlies (15-8, 6-4), the Eagles were more physical than they were two nights before, setting season highs at the free-throw line, where they went 27 of 34. Montana was called for 27 fouls, more than any other EWU opponent this season.

“The big thing is (that) champions respond, and the season isn’t going to be defined by that Montana State loss,” EWU head coach David Riley said in a postgame radio interview. “It’s going to be defined by how we respond to it.”

Riley said he was impressed with the Eagles’ work on the defensive end: Montana shot 34% overall and had its worst 3-point-shooting night (23%) in its past 11 games.

“We had a really, really good effort from these guys to just individually sit down and play some defense,” Riley said.

Kyman’s 21 points were the senior’s most since he scored 25 in back-to-back games on Nov. 29 and Dec. 9. He made 6 of 9 shots from the field (3 of 4 on 3-pointers) and all six free-throw attempts.

Like his teammate Jones, junior Cedric Coward scored 16 points. Coward also grabbed 10 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season.

Eastern never trailed after halftime. Dane Erikstrup’s 3-pointer gave the Eagles a 69-58 lead with a 6:27 left, and Montana never again got closer than eight points.

Senior Dischon Thomas led Montana with 18 points. Senior Aanen Moody, the Grizzlies’ leading scorer, was held to 11 points on 4-of-11 shooting from the floor. Moody, who is also Montana’s top 3-point shooter, made just 1 of 7 such attempts.

Montana had a season-low four turnovers and attempted 16 more shots than the Eagles, but Eastern grabbed 10 more rebounds and was more efficient on offense, shooting 47.9% from the field and 5 of 15 from 3-point range.

Montana and Montana State (11-12, 6-4) are tied for third place in the conference standings behind first-place Eastern Washington and second-place Northern Colorado (13-9, 6-3).

Eastern plays again Monday – its third game in five days – at Portland State (14-8, 5-4). The Eagles beat the Vikings 91-57 at Reese Court on Dec. 28.