SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Four Eastern Washington players scored in double-figures led by Jamal Jones' 18 to help lead the Eagles to an 80-68 men's basketball victory over Sacramento State Saturday night at Hornet Gym.
The win improved EWU to 15-9 overall and 10-4 in the Big Sky Conference. The Eagles will host Cal State Northridge on Friday night in a game which will likely decide which school will host the Big Sky ournament. The Hornets, who were playing their final home game of the year, dropped to 5-20 overall and 2-12 in Big Sky action.
Sacramento State hung tough for the majority of the game before Eastern was able to pull away at the conclusion. The Eagles led 63-60 with 4:49 left on the clock but were able to extend their advantage by making 10-consecutive free throws. Helping EWU's cause was a controversial flagrant foul against Derek Lambeth and a technical foul which was levied against the Sacramento State bench in the final two minutes of the game.
Eastern Washington jumped to an early lead in the first half and led by as many as eight points (14-6, 14:02) before Sacramento State battled back to tie the game, 18-18. The Eagles then pushed the lead back to 11 points with 2:30 left in the period but the Hornets ended the half on an 8-0 run to trail by only three at intermission.
Sacramento State opened the second period with a jumper by Pablo Gonzales to pull within one but EWU responded with a 10-4 run to lead by seven, 42-35. The Hornets pulled back within two on a tip-in by Gonzales with 14:05 left in the contest but could never pull closer.
Jones ended the night 6-of-13 from the floor and 5-of-8 from the line to lead EWU. He was joined in double figures by Aaron Olson (15), Chris White (13) and Jason Humbert (11). White also completed a double-double with a game-high 10 rebounds.
As a team, Eastern shot 45.2 percent compared to the Hornets' mark of 55.1 percent. The Eagles, however, hoisted 13 (62-49) more shots than Sacramento State during the game and shot 13 (32-19) more free throws.
The Hornets were led by a career-high from Rame Batta. The senior was 10-for-14 from the floor and 2-for-2 from the line for 22 points. Fellow seniors Pablo Gonzales (16) and Rickie Glenn also scored more than 10 points for Sacramento State. Glenn paced the team with seven rebounds.
The Hornets will conclude their season next week with games at Montana and Idaho State on Thursday and Saturday, respectively.