The first one is in the books.
The head coaching career for Shantay Legans got off to a defensive-minded start, as the Eastern Washington University men's basketball team officially opened the 2017-18 season with an 82-61 victory over Walla Walla University from Walla Walla, Wash, on Saturday (Nov. 10) at Reese Court.
Eastern held Walla Walla to a 2-of-20 shooting stretch to pull away. The Eagles held the Wolves to 34 percent shooting in the game and had a 45-33 rebounding advantage.
Four Eagles scored in double figures, led by senior Bogdan Bliznyuk with 18 points and four assists. Junior Jesse Hunt had the first double-double of his career with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Eastern made 10-of-35 3-point shots, with Ty Gibson hitting three en route to 11 points. Sophomore Luka Vulikic had 10 points, eight rebounds and four assists.
"Coming out of halftime we picked up our defensive effort and that was good for us," said Legans, a former Eastern assistant coach. "But we need to do that from the start. A positive is that we put up 35 3-pointers, but the negative is we made only 10. I know we're a better shooting team than that, and we'll get those same looks on Sunday and knock them down."
The Eagles now begin a monstrous 10-game road stretch by playing the Washington Huskies in Seattle on Sunday (Nov. 12) at 5 p.m. Pacific time. The stretch continues at Stanford next Tuesday (Nov. 14), meaning the Eagles will play three games in five days.
"I was excited about how our team played," Legans added. "We followed the game plan, but we just missed some open shots. Our focus was maybe looking forward to UW. It showed a little bit, but our guys played hard and that's what we are looking for."
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