Chris Hester scored 22 points and Alvin Snow added 20 to lead Eastern Washington to an 81-71 win over Sacramento State Friday night at Hornet Gym.
The victory improved the Eagles to 16-11 overall and 10-3 in the Big Sky.The Hornets dropped to 9-18 overall and 3-10 in league games. The loss coupled with a Portland State victory at Northern Arizona eliminated the Hornets from the Big Sky Tournament.
Despite shooting just 9.1 percent from three-point range, Eastern Washington managed to record a .511 overall shooting percentage. The Eagles finished the night 24-of-47 from the field and took advantage of 12 offensive rebounds to create easy second-shot opportunities close to the basket.
While EWU had a strong shooting performance, the Hornets struggled to find their touch. Sacramento State was held to .383 (23-60) fromt he field and made 8-of-26 shots from long range. In fact, Joel Jones (9-17) was the only player to shoot better than .500 for Sacramento State.
EWU jumped to a 5-0 lead early at the start of the game but Sacramento State answered with seven-straight points. From that point, the game had 15 lead changes and nine ties before the Eagles went on 10-4 run to end the half with a 40-34 advantage.
Eastern Washington scored the first four points of the second period and never looked back. The Eagles led by as many as 17 points (58-41) in the period and held a double-digit lead for all but 33 seconds of the period.
Joel Jones led Sacramento State with a game-high 23 points. Joe Dawson also broke double-figures with 14 points.
EWU also received strong efforts from Keith Brown (14) and Jason Humbert (10). Humbert led all players with six rebounds.
Sacramento State will conclude its season on Saturday, Mar. 2, against Portland State. The game will tip-off at 7:05 p.m. in Hornet Gym. Prior to the start, the team will honor its five seniors who will be playing their final game in a Sacramento State uniform.