SALT LAKE CITY — Two lengthy field-goal droughts — one in each half — proved costly for Southern Utah as it fell 77-61 to Eastern Washington in the Big Sky Tournament semifinals on Friday night at CenturyLink Arena in Boise, Idaho.
The No. 3 seed Eagles held the T-Birds to 34.5 percent shooting to advance to the championship game for the second straight year with a win over Southern Utah. Eastern Washington (16-17) will take on top seed Montana (25-8) in Saturday's title game at 6 p.m. MDT.
Despite trailing by 18 points at halftime, seventh seed SUU made a game of it during the opening 10 minutes of the second half. The T-Birds started the second half on an 8-0 run and made seven of their first 10 shots after the break en route to eventually cutting the Eagles' lead to 52-48.
Southern Utah (16-16) hit just one field goal over the next 10-plus minutes, though, and Eastern Washington put the game away with a 23-6 run.
The Eagles took control of the game in the first half with a 29-4 run that included 22 straight points and six 3-pointers. SUU went 7:20 without scoring in that stretch and shot just 23.3 percent in the first half.
Mason Peatling led Eastern Washington with 20 points and seven rebounds, while Kim Aiken added a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds. The Eagles shot 47.4 percent and made 10 3-pointers.
Cameron Oluyitan paced SUU with 19 points, including three 3-pointers, two of which came in the opening minutes of the second half. He added six rebounds and two assists, while Jacob Calloway had 13 points, four rebounds and two assists.
WEBER STATE FALLS TO MONTANA: The Grizzlies built a big lead early and never let up, handing the Wildcats a 78-49 loss in the Big Sky Tournament semifinals.
Montana hit eight of its first nine shots from the field and went into halftime up 42-22. It only got worse in the second half for fourth seed Weber State (18-15), as it fell behind by as many as 37 points while shooting 31.5 percent for the game.
The Grizzlies held the Wildcats’ top two scorers — Jerrick Harding and Cody John — well below their averages. Both players scored 6 points each, with Harding shooting 3 of 8 from the field and John 2 of 11.1 comment on this story
It was the lowest scoring output of the year for Weber State.
Montana was paced by 28 points from Ahmaad Rorie, who had 18 of his points in the first half and hit his first seven field goals before finishing 10 of 14, with four 3-pointers. Bobby Moorehead added a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
The Grizzlies won the rebounding battle 42-31 and also held a 30-18 edge on points in the paint.
Brekkott Chapman led the Wildcats with 16 points, including three 3-pointers, and four rebounds.