Eastern wins 75-73 on the road at Montana State as the freshman scores 23 points, including running six-foot bank shot with 3.8 seconds left
Almost single-handedly, Glen Dean ended Eastern's road woes.
The Eastern Washington University freshman guard hit a running six-foot bank shot with 3.8 seconds remaining to lift the Eagles to a 75-73 Big Sky Conference men's basketball upset over Montana State Sunday (Jan. 10) at Worthington Arena in Bozeman, Mont.
Dean scored 23 points, and also led the team with seven assists and six rebounds as Eastern recorded just its second road win in 11 tries this season. Eastern is now 6-11 overall and 2-2 in the Big Sky heading into a home game next Friday (Jan. 15) against Northern Arizona (5:05 p.m. Pacific time), followed by a game the next night at Reese Court versus Northern Colorado (7:05 p.m.).
"He was outstanding," Eastern head coach Kirk Earlywine said of the 2008 graduate of Roosevelt High School in Seattle, Wash. "Maybe more than anything else, what decided this game was good recruiting as it often does. He gets a little better and we get a little better. We give him a little bit more each week and he's just a sponge -- he absorbs it. He never lets down with his level of competiveness."
Tied at 73 with 21.8 seconds remaining, Eastern put the ball in the hands of its rapidly-improving point guard. After his game-winning shot, MSU's Will Bynum missed a shot at the buzzer that could have sent it to overtime.
"The plan was to put the ball in Glen Dean's hands -- I am smart enough to figure that out," explained Earlywine of the game-winner. "They had been trapping him on the ball screens, so we slipped the ball screen early and let him go one-on-one. They still sent their big and he beat both of them. In a perfect world he would have done that at the buzzer. We told him to go at eight, but he got a little antsy like a freshman does early. It was a tad early and gave them a little more time than I had liked, but he made a heckuva shot."
The victory was Eastern's first in its last six tries in Bozeman since a 64-61 Eagle triumph on Feb. 5, 2004. Eastern is now 7-25 all-time in Bozeman against the Bobcats. Montana State fell out of a three-way tie for first in the Big Sky, and is now 9-7 overall and 4-2 in the league.
"I'll tell you what, the six-hour drive back is going to feel a lot nicer this year than the last two," the third-year Eastern head coach said.
Senior Mark Dunn hit 7-of-12 shots from the field to finish with 16 points. Sophomore Laron Griffin sparked Eastern in the second half with 10 points. Griffin also had four rebounds, with three of them coming on the offensive end.
Freshman Kevin Winford hit all three of his shots -- all three-pointers -- to finish with nine points. Dean made 8-of-12 as Eastern made 46 percent of its shots for the second-straight game, having lost 79-66 at Montana on Friday in a game that was tied at 53 in the second half.
Eastern's defense against the Bobcats was exceptional, with MSU making just 9-of-26 in the second half for 35 percent. In fact, MSU made just five of its last 19 shots (26 percent) after making 19 of its first 35 (54 percent). The Eagles also out-rebounded Montana State 38-28 after owning a 36-25 advantage over Montana one game earlier.
"I thought in the last 16 minutes we guarded our butts off," Earlywine said. "We didn't guard very well in the first half. It seemed like every third ball screen they set, we made a mistake of some sort. It wasn't for lack of effort, which is a good thing, but we made technical mistakes. For some reason, from the first media timeout of the second half to the end of the game, we made very few mistakes and our effort level was really good."
The Eagles trailed by as many as eight points in the first half and seven in the second, but came back to take a 56-55 lead in the second half. The Bobcats regained a four-point advantage, but the Eagles went on 6-0 run to take a 69-67 advantage with 2:47 left on a pair of back-to-back baskets by Griffin.
Dean's hit a clutch basket with 41 seconds to play, but two missed free throws down the stretch helped MSU knot the score at 73.