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December 14, 2014 at 10:29 AM

Scouting report: Eastern Washington

Junior forward Venky Jois is the emotional leader for the Eastern Washington Eagles. (Photo credit: AP)

Junior forward Venky Jois is the emotional leader for the Eastern Washington Eagles. (Photo credit: AP)

Scouting report: Eastern Washington.
Game info: 5 p.m. Sunday at Alaska Airlines Arena (10,000).

TV: Pac-12 Networks (Aaron Goldsmith and Mike Montgomery).
Radio: KOMO 1000 AM and FM 97.7 (Bob Rondeau and Jason Hamilton).

Record: 8-1.
Stats/schedule: Click here.
Game notes: Eastern Washington and Washington.

Coach: Jim Hayford has a 48-55 record during his four-year tenure with the Eagles. The 46-year-old coach is 302-139 in 16 years as a college head coach, including a 217-57 stint at Whitworth University that included six appearances in the NCAA Division III Tournament.

Prediction: Picked to finish second by the coaches and third by the media in the 12-team Big Sky preseason poll.

Series: Washington leads 12-1 in a series that began Dec. 13, 1989. The Huskies have won the past eight games. Coach Lorenzo Romar is 8-1 against EWU.
Last meeting: Washington trailed by 11 midway in the second half but pulled away late for a 92-80 win on Nov. 17, 2013 at Alaska Airlines Arena. Nigel Williams-Goss led the Huskies with 22 points.

Previous game: Eastern Washington beat the Dons 81-76 in San Francisco on Thursday.
Odds:
Washington is favored by 7.5 points.

Tyler Harvey (AP photo)

Tyler Harvey (AP photo)

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

— Tyler Harvey drilled seven three-pointers and scored 28 points against Washington in last year’s game. The reigning Big Sky scoring champion has proven to be dangerous on the offensive end once again. This season the 6-4 junior guard is averaging 20.6 points, which is 16th nationally in scoring. He started strong by shooting 52.0 percent over seven games, but has cooled to 33.3 in the last two.

— Venky Jois is fun to watch. The 6-8 junior forward from Australia doesn’t hold anything back. He’s all over the place and he let’s you know how he’s feeling. He’s averaging 21.9 points, which is ninth nationally in scoring. He’s also shooting 68.3 percent from the field (fifth nationally) and averages 2.83 blocks.

In the past four games, he’s shooting 70.2 percent and averaging 26.3 points. Jois scored a career-best 38 points last week during an 87-75 win over Seattle University at KeyArena. It was the second straight game he notched 38 points. Last year against Washington, Jois had 9 points on 3-for-6 shooting and six rebounds.

OVERVIEW:

— Eastern Washington is off to its best start since joining Division I in 1983 and the school’s best overall in 38 years

 — The Eagles beat Indiana 88-86 in Bloomington, Indian three weeks in one of the biggest upsets in school history. It was the first time a Big Sky team beat a Big Ten team on its home court.

— Still, Eastern Washington has lost its last 16 against ranked teams by an average of 19.7 points, including a 77-68 defeat at then-No. 22 SMU on Nov. 22.

— The Eagles are in the middle of a four-game road trip that began in San Francisco on Thursday and continues to Sam Houston State on Tuesday before finishing at California on Friday. EWU last played at home on Nov. 30 and will have one home game (Dec. 22) this month.

— The Eagles are among the national leaders with 85.0 points per game on 52.4 percent shooting. Their perimeter game has also been strong, hitting 41.9 percent after a 12-for-25 performance Thursday in an 81-76 win at San Francisco

Ognjen Miljkovic made 4 of 7 from long range and led the way with 20 points against the Dons. The sophomore is averaging 17.8 in the previous four games after managing just 8.8 in his first four.

— Senior guard Parker Kelly is EWU’s top defender and an excellent shooter. He’s ninth in 3-point percentage (40.3 percent), sixth in 3-pointers made (163) and sixth in attempts (404) on the school’s all-time lists. His 84.4 percent shooting from the free throw line in his career would rank second in school history (the record is 84.9) if he had enough attempts to qualify (he has 179 and needs 200).

— Romar on EWU’s offense:  “What they’re really good at is transition. When you’re getting back, you’re back, but you’re not in proper floor position. And they catch and shoot from anywhere. And you’re just not accustomed to guarding that type of shooting team that early in the possession. Again, what I mean is, you get back, you’re there, and as soon as you rest, like, ‘OK, I busted my tail to get back’ – that guy has the ball in his hands, he’s got it at 25 feet, and he’s shooting it. Most teams don’t play like that.”

STARTING LINEUP:

Pos Name Ht/Wt Yr. PPG. RPG. APG. FG% 3P% FT%
F Venky Jois 6-8/230 Jr. 21.1 8.4 2.1 67 33.3 58.3
F Ognjen Miljkovic 6-7/220 So. 13.3 4.1 1.3 49.3 45.2 73.1
G Parker Kelly 6-4/195 Sr. 9.6 2.1 0.9 44 47.4 78.9
G Drew Brandon 6-4/185 Sr. 8.8 7.9 5.1 47.5 7.7 86.7
G Tyler Harvey 6-4/185 Jr. 20.4 3.9 3.7 47.7 43.2 74.2

Comments | More in Scouting reports | Topics: Eastern Washington

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