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EOUís Anthony Brown lays the ball in as Warner Pacificís Jeremy Jones goes for a block during the Mountaineersí 61-59 victory Saturday night at Quinn Coliseum. CASEY KELLAS - The Observer
Mounties get by Knights despite poor night shooting
The No. 4-ranked Eastern Oregon University men’s basketball team was able to hold off an upset-minded Warner Pacific squad 61-59 Saturday night at Quinn Coliseum.
The win extends the Mountaineers season record to 14-0.
“We struggled tonight on offense with our execution,” head coach Isaac Williams said.
“We turned the ball over. We didn’t shoot it well — 35 percent. You have to credit Warner Pacific. They did a great job. Their zone was really good. We didn’t get a whole lot of open shots, and when we got them we didn’t make them.”
The Mountaineers looked good early, grabbing a 16-6 lead and stretched it to 29-13 with 6:40 to go in the first half.
But from there the Knights started to slowly chip away at the lead, cutting it to 10 points at 38-28 at halftime.
Warner Pacific continued to pressure EOU in the second half and tied the game for the first time at 54-54 with 5:09 remaining.
“(Warner Pacific) is No. 13 in the country for a reason,” Williams said.
“They’re very talented. They are tough defensively and rebound well.”
The Knights took their first lead of the game on a three-pointer by Coletun Tarr with 2:01 to play to put Warner Pacific on top 59-57.
After missing a pair of free throws that would have tied the game with 1:05 to play, EOU’s Kalvin Johanson converted a three-point play with 25.5 seconds left to put the Mountaineers in front, 60-59.
Warner Pacific turned the ball over with 6.9 seconds left on the ensuing possession and was forced to foul. Anthony Brown hit one of two free throws for EOU to make it 61-59 with 4.1 to play.
But once again the Knights didn’t execute on the following possession and were unable to get a shot off in time, sealing the win for the Mountaineers and keeping them undefeated.
“I was really happy for Kalvin. He had just missed the two free throws in a row that would have helped us. To get a chance to get the ball back, and for him to have the wherewithall to take a hard crab dribble to the middle and shoot his right-hand hook, make it and convert the free throw, that shows a lot of mental toughness for a 19-year-old freshman kid,” Williams said.
The Mountaineers had a big effort from Jason Mumm, who scored a game-high 24 points and grabbed eight rebounds.
“Jason was great. He’s just a tough cover on offense. He scored some inside, made a huge three toward the end. He was tough tonight,” Williams said.
Brown scored 10 points and had nine rebounds, while Trent Roos and Craig Tucker both added six.
Tarr finished with 18 points to lead the Knights. Stephen Harris had 17 points and Doug Thomas scored 13.
The Mountaineers will have some time to regroup after this win.
EOU doesn’t play again until a trip to Ashland Dec. 14 to play Southern Oregon.
No. 1-ranked Northwood (Florida) fell to No. 8 Embry-Riddle 78-74 Saturday, and No. 3 Dort (Iowa) lost to Midland (Nebraska) 97-89, so Eastern Oregon is expected to move up in next top-25 poll released this week.
Eastern downs Concordia
EOU opened conference play with a win over Concordia University Friday, 90-75.
Roos led EOU with 21 points and had two assists and two rebounds. Brown chipped in with 16 points and seven rebounds.
Concordia’s Adam Herman led all scorers with 28 points and eight rebounds. Anthony Holton added 12 points for the Cavailers.
The Mountaineers took a 55-41 halftime lead and shot 66 percent (22 of 33) from the field and 60 percent (nine of 15) from behind the arc. The Mountaineers led by as much as 17 in the second half en route to the victory.