“What a great way to open the Big Sky Conference schedule,” said Hayford. “There is no better way to start league play than with a road win, especially at such a tough place to play as Bozeman. I’m very proud of our team.EWU jumped out to a 25-10 lead and never looked back from there. The Bobcats cut the lead to 9 at intermission, but it seemed like EWU's advantage stayed between 10-12 for most of the second half. Their key was two fold. One, they forced 22 MSU turnovers, which led to 26 Eagles points off turnovers. Second, they simply shot the ball better. They made 50% of their shots, including 11 treys.
Cliff Colimon looked like the best player on the floor, though he did have 5 TOs. He scored 22 points and knocked down some big shots in the second half when MSU was trying to put a run together. Cliff Ederaine had a solid day, scoring 16 points and 7 rebounders, but he did turn it over 6 times. He is a decent ballhandler for his size, but definitely has times where the dribbles the ball a bit too much. Collin Chiverton also had 12, but only 3/11 shooting. Chiverton has not yet met a shot he did not like.
For MSU, they continued their shooting woes, shooting below 40% for the fourth straight game. Montana State was able to do some things well - they forced 21 Eagles turnovers and got to the line often - but it was not enough to overcome their poor shooting. Christian Moon was their star and kept them in the game, finishing with 20 points (including 3/5 from downtown). He has a great stroke and is a great piece for them.
Xavier Blount, however, struggled for the third straight game. He finished with just 5 points on 1/7 shooting, and didn't look at any time like he would be able to take the game over or give them a nice run. He needs to be a lot better.
For Eastern Washington, the optimism around the program will only grow after a game like this, a nice conference road win where they never trailed. For Montana State, they are left to ask more questions as they go into a Friday night home game against Portland State that looks very big for them.
Follow me on Twitter @bigskybball