Eastern Oregon used its home contest against Northwest Indian as an opportunity to build confidence following a big loss in an exhibition game against Boise State.
Brock Johnson had 17 points to lead six players in double figures as EOU topped the visiting Eagles, 113-74, Saturday night at Quinn Coliseum.
“Our energy was great because they were having fun on the bench,” head coach Carlito Labarda Jr. said. “That’s where it starts from. Offensively, we’ve got shooters, we just have to learn to get them open. Obviously with a team like this it’s easier to get them open than like Boise State where we had a little trouble because i think their length bothered us.”
EOU was not only getting open against Northwest Indian, but was knocking down the shots. The Mountaineers, who never trailed and led by as many as 41 points, shot 60.3 percent (47-for-78) for the game, and were also hot from beyond the arc at 54.5 percent (12-for-22).
“We just wanted to go play with energy, have fun and try to play the right way,” Johnson said.
Johnson was joined in double figures by Jordan May, who had 15 points, while both Peter Eke and Max McCullough dropped in 13 points and Blake O’Donnell and Cole Ashby added 10 apiece.
“Against a (Division I) team it’s harder to get shots,” May said. “We weren’t getting the looks we wanted to. Coming back tonight we wanted to focus on moving the ball, being unselfish, getting the looks and then knocking down the looks.”
EOU did so with efficiency. All 12 players who saw the floor scored, nine of them shot 50 percent or better and six hit at least one 3-pointer.
Eastern charged ahead early, but allowed the Eagles to hang around during the first half. The Mountaineers held just a 35-26 lead before ending the half on a 19-7 run. Johnson hit two 3s during the stretch, May had a pair of 3s and a layup and Eke had a 3-point play.
EOU went into the break up, 54-33, and pushed the lead over 30 for the first time when Said Hersi hit a 3 for an 88-57 lead midway through the half. Eke later pushed the Mountaineers to the century mark with an alley-oop and a nice post move.
While the gap wasn’t quite as wide as EOU’s 103-53 win over Northwest Indian a week earlier, there were a lot of similarities.
“I think we had five in double digits last time we played them. I could tell guys were having fun tonight,” May said. “We were moving the ball around, being unselfish. We were geting to try out things we might not get to try in conference. Tonight was a good night.”
McCullough scored 38 points, Blake O’Donnell added 25 and the Mountaineers topped the Eagles for the third time, 113-98, Sunday afternoon.
McCullough shot 14-for 17 from the field and also had five assists, while O’Donnell was 12-for-19 and added 10 rebounds for a double-double. Hersi added 18 points and Brennan Pope scored 10.
The contest, unlike Saturday’s where EOU pulled away early, saw nine ties and 20 lead changes. Eastern led 55-50 at the break, but EOU didn’t take the lead for good until a Peter Eke free throw made it 83-82 with 8:42 to play. That started a 20-5 run, which ended with a jumper by Pope for a 103-87 lead with 3:49 to go.
Eastern (6-0 overall) visits New Hope Christian Friday in Eugene.
Boise State 104, EOU 65 (exhibition): McCullough scored 13 points and O’Donnell added 11 points and seven boards in the Mountaineers’ exhibition game against the NCAA Division I Broncos in Boise, Idaho.
Pope and Hersi each added eight points, and Austin Winegar had seven.