Bengals Stay Hot, Improve to 2-0 in Big Sky
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Steve Schaack, ISU Sports InformationBox Score
POCATELLO, Idaho- For the second straight game Andre Hatchett scored a career-high as he finished with 27 points, sparking Idaho State to an 83-72 victory over Eastern Washington on Saturday night at ICCU Court at Holt Arena. Idaho State is 2-0 in Big Sky Conference play for the first time since the 2007-08 season and 5-6 overall. Eastern Washington dropped to 0-2 and 5-8 overall.
"The confidence and believing in ourselves and each other has been big," Hatchett said. "We wanted to defend our home court and start it off right. That is what we did."
Hatchett scored his 27 points on 9-13 shooting from the field and he made 9-12 free throws in 34 minutes of play. In his last two games, Hatchett has scored 51 points.
"Our team played really good tonight," Hatchett said. "They were going to have to match our hungriness. We just want to win. The coaches are putting us in the right spots and we are feeling good on defense."
Tomas Sanchez had 15 points and a career-high 11 assists on only one turnover. Jeffrey Solarin had 14 points and a season-high 11 rebounds while Chris Hansen had 12 points. This was Solarin's third double-double of the season and Sanchez's first.
Idaho State shot 48.4 percent from the field and out rebounded Eastern Washington 42-33. ISU had 14 assists and only eight turnovers while Eastern Washington was forced into 10 miscues.
"I am proud of my guys," Idaho State coach Bill Evans said. "They played hard and were true to the game plan. I thought we were good offensively in transition. We scored early in transition and that was big."
The Eagles shot 39.1 percent from the field and was led by Tyler Harvey's 19 points.
The Bengals got off to a hot start early in the contest. Trailing 6-3 three minutes into the game, ISU went on a 19-2 run to lead 22-8 with 10:33 left in the first half after a 3-pointer by Sanchez. Idaho State took its biggest lead of the game at 30-13 three minutes later thanks to a bucket by Ajak Magot. Hatchett scored 15 of his 27 points in the first half.
"I think Andre did a really good job driving the ball," Evans said. "He has become a good midrange shooter but he can really drive the ball and finish it. The thing that people don't appreciate about him is he can really make plays."
The Bengals led 44-32 at halftime after shooting 52.8 percent from the field.
The Eagles cut the Bengal lead to 52-46 with 13:49 left in the game but ISU responded with a 15-3 run to lead 67-49 with 7:53 to play in the contest. Eastern Washington got no closer than 11 points the rest of the way.
Idaho State plays at North Dakota on January 9 at 6 p.m. and Northern Colorado at 7 p.m. on January 11 in Greeley, Colo.
"We want to be humble," Evans said. "Wins are hard to get. We are going on the road to play two really good teams. Our team is getting better but we have two hard games ahead."