WALLA WALLA — Max McCullough scored 27 points Saturday to lead the way as the Eastern Oregon University men’s basketball team held off Walla Walla on the road in a Cascade Collegiate Conference matchup, 86-80.
EOU led the entire second half and went up by as much as 20 on McCullough’s 4-point play with 7:37 to go, but the Wolves found a way to get back in the game, cutting the deficit to 10 with 5:22 left and getting as close as 80-77 on Zayne Browning’s layup with 36 seconds to play. Eastern, though, hit six free throws in the final 26 seconds to escape.
The Wolves scored the game’s first 11 points and held as much as an 18-5 lead less than five minutes into the game on Browning’s jumper. EOU clawed back and eventually took the lead when Zane Wright and Brock Johnson hit back-to-back 3-pointers that put EOU ahead 26-25. The treys were part of a 10-0 run that gave the Mountaineers the lead for good, as Eastern went into the half leading 39-29.
Jarek Schetzle added 17 points and Wright had 10 for the Mountaineers, who shot 52% from the 3-point line.
EOU had no issues with the Wolves Sunday, routing Walla Walla 81-53 to complete a sweep of the weekend set.
McCullough led Eastern for the second night in a row as he finished with 24 points. Jamal Heckard scored 15 points and Brock Johnson added 11 points.
Unlike Saturday, when EOU had to bounce back from an early 13-point deficit, the Mountaineers never trailed Sunday. Walla Walla got as close as 23-22 late in the first half, but Eastern scored 14 straight points to go up 37-22 on a trey by McCullough and went into the break leading 37-25.
Eastern broke the game open with a 15-0 run early in the second half, with Justin Jeske’s 3-point play putting the Mountaineers ahead 54-28 with 13:18 to play. Walla Walla got no closer than 22 the rest of the way.
Eastern (13-12 overall, 7-9 CCC) hosts Northwest Friday.