Duo combine for 55 points as Eastern builds pair of 16-point leads and defeats Hornets 79-75
Freshman Glen Dean and senior Mark Dunn combined for 55 points as Eastern Washington University held-off Sacramento State 79-75 Thursday (Dec. 31) in a Big Sky Conference men's basketball game at Reese Court in Cheney, Wash.
Eastern opened the game with a 13-0 run, and had led by as many as 16 points in each half as it snapped a five-game losing streak and won its first league game of the year.
"I'm not sure if it was a must-win, but it was a really, really important win for us," said Eastern head coach Kirk Earlywine.
Dean scored 29 points as he made 8-of-17 shots from the field and 6-of-7 free throws, and has seven assists and just two turnovers in 34 minutes of action. He tied the school record with seven three-pointers in 12 attempts, equaling the mark set on 11 previous occasions by five other players.
"The thing about it is that he does it every day and every bounce of the ball," said Earlywine. "He and Jeffrey Forbes compete. Their level of competiveness is high and that's what allows them to play so many minutes."
Dunn made 9-of-14 shots from the field and all six of his free throws to finish with 26 points. He also had nine rebounds as both he and Dean finished with the best scoring games in their careers.
EWU is now 5-10 overall as it snapped a five-game losing streak, and the Eagles are now 1-0 in league play. Eastern lost 98-75 at Portland State on Dec. 5 in the earliest Big Sky start in school history.
The Sac State game was EWU's first home game since defeating Seattle University 100-97 in overtime on Dec. 12. That was also the last time the Eagles tasted victory. The Eagles were coming off a 94-52 loss at nationally-ranked Gonzaga on Monday (Dec. 28) in EWU's first game against a nationally-ranked foe in two seasons.
Sacramento State fell to 6-9 this season, including a 65-63 victory over Pacific 10 Conference member Oregon State on Nov. 21. Now 2-1 in the Big Sky, the Hornets defeated Idaho State 64-63 on Dec. 19 and fell to Weber State 80-65 in their league opener on Dec. 5.
Sacramento State has already tripled last year's win total when the Hornets finished 2-27 overall and 1-15 in the Big Sky under first-year head coach Brian Katz. Sac State was just 4-24 and 2-14 the year before, and has not defeated the Eagles in the last eight meetings. Eastern has won the last 14 meetings at home against Sac State, dating back to a 68-67 Hornet victory in Cheney on Jan. 19, 1995.