Eastern Washington loses to No. 15 UConn
Eastern Washington lost 82-65 to 15th-ranked Connecticut, but Eagles coach Jim Hayford said, “I’m really pleased with how our team played.”
The Associated Press and team reports
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – Eastern Washington’s players knew they would have to make a lot of three-point shots to have a chance against No. 15 Connecticut.
The Eagles hoisted 28 on Saturday, making a mere nine in an 82-65 loss to the Huskies.
Tyler Harvey scored 19 points to lead the Eagles (5-6), who trailed by six points midway through the second half before UConn took control.
Freshman Ognjen Miljkovic added 15 points and Drew Brandon had 13.
“We got a lot of open looks,” said Harvey who made 2 of 9 from behind the arc. “We knew we had to knock ‘em down to beat this team, and we struggled a bit.”
UConn (11-1) outscored the Eagles 40-20 in the paint, and had a huge advantage at the free-throw line, where it made 25 of 27. Eastern attempted seven free throws and made six.
“They are just a very quick team, and that’s why you have that discrepancy at the foul line,” Eagles coach Jim Hayford said. “If they shoot 25 for 27 every game, they’re going to the Final Four.”
Shabazz Napier had 15 points and nine assists to lead a balanced attack for Connecticut, which was listed as an 18-point favorite by oddsmakers.
“It was a good day for us, even though we didn’t get the win,” Hayford said. “I’m really pleased with how our team played.”
The game, played during UConn’s winter break, gave the fan base and donors in wealthy Fairfield County a chance to see the team in person. It was the first “home” game played outside of Storrs or Hartford since the Huskies lost to Syracuse, 88-71, on Jan. 3, 1987, in New Haven.
Eastern opens Big Sky Conference play Thursday at Weber State.
“I thought we competed the whole 40 minutes,” Harvey said. “We just had a few shots that rimmed in and out. I think this really helped us prepare for our conference.”
The Eagles were playing a ranked team for the first time since November 2011. They fell to 1-19 against the Top 25, including 15 consecutive losses.