Thursday, November 27, 2014

EWU Dominates Northern Kentucky 81-60, moves to 5-1 for the first time in 3 decades

Photo from @ewuathletics on instagram
The Eagles led this game wire to wire behind strong performances from the usual suspects of Venky Jois, Tyler HarveyDrew Brandon and Ognjen "OG" Miljkovic.

Northern Kentucky came into last night's contest 2-2 on the year.  They were on a two game winning streak which included beating DI North Carolina A&T as well as DII Ohio Midwestern.  The Norse featured a young line up that gave up some size to Eastern in exchange for speed and quickness.  Northern Kentucky used 14 different players last night, including 11 players with more than 10 minutes on the court in an effort to keep their legs fresh and presumably develop the depth of the program.

As Coach Hayford put it on twitter, "NKU is building a solid program.  I wish them the best of luck."

The Eagles impressive performance was keyed by offensive fireworks as they hit on 55.8% of the Field Goal attempts including 50% from beyond the three point line.  They won the rebounding battle 38-28 and had more assists 16-14.  Troubling stat of the night - they turned the ball over 14 times and only forced 12 from the Norse.  Against a more developed program that could be costly for the Eagles going forward.

Tyler Harvey led all scores with 20 points and added 4 rebounds and 3 assists on a night where he went 4 of 7 on threes and played just 28 minutes.

Venky Jois was two rebounds short of a double-double as he finished with 14 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 blocks and 1 steal.  Like Harvey his minutes were limited, 26 minutes, as Coach Hayford played the reserves for much of the second half.

Ognjen "OG" Miljkovic scored in double digits for the second time this season, the 12th time in his career.  He finished with 14 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 block in 25 minutes of game time.  He was shooting well going 5 of 8 overall including 4 of 6 from three point range.

Drew Brandon was his usual stat sheet stuffing self playing 33 minutes and finishing with 11 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals.  One area he didn't stuff the stat sheet, turn overs.  On a night when Eastern was seemingly turning the ball over all night Brandon had 0 turnovers.  That's the kind of performance you need from the Point Guard.

Parker Kelly had a bad night shooting the ball, hitting just 2 of 7 shots including 0 of 4 from long range.  He finished with 4 points and 2 rebounds in 22 minutes.  Parker's contributions are rarely about stats, he's grown into a key defensive player for this squad and most of the time can be relied upon to hit open looks from anywhere on the court.

The Eagles also got 18 points from their bench led by Felix Von Hofe with 9 and Bogdan Bliznyuk with 6.  Sir Washington was impressive again in his 8 minutes, flashing his athleticism with a big time two handed dunk late in the second half to put the Eagles up by 30.

Up next for the Eagles, their second to last non-conference home game of the season against DII Eastern Oregon on November 30th.  After that EWU will head to the road for 5 straight road games against DI opponents covering 3 states.  Their opponents include two Pac-10 school (Washington and California).  The Eagles will return home for their last non-conference game of the season against DII Lewis & Clark College on December 22nd.

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