SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Venky Jois scored a game-high 19 points and pulled down 11 rebounds as Eastern Washington won its first game of the season, holding on to beat USC Upstate 75-70 Wednesday night in the third game of the CBE Hall of Fame Classic hosted by Santa Clara University.
Torrey Craig nailed the first three in the second half at the 2:38 mark for the Spartans, tying the game at 67-67. The Eagles responded with a dunk from Martin Seiferth, with 2:10 left, taking a 69-67 lead, and never looked back.
USC Upstate (1-4) used a 10-8 run to start the second half, cutting the Eagles’ lead to 43-42 with 14:32 left to play. The Spartans, coming off a 20-point decision Nov. 20, falling 85-65 at Santa Clara, were strong down the stretch, but were unable to take a lead on the Eagles in the second. Ty Green’s jumper with 5:06 left cut the Eagles lead to 64-62.
For the second night in a row, Collin Chiverton gave the Eagles a 3-0 lead just moments into the match, nailing a three. Chiverton scored eight of the Eagles first 15 points. Despite fouling out with 6:22 left, the San Jose, Calif. product finished with a game-high tying 19 points, including shooting 5 of 8 from downtown.
With the game tied 20-20 with 8:59 remaining before the break, the Eagles used a 17-10 run to close out the half leading, 37-30 behind 10 points from Jois and 14 from Chiverton.
Rodgers, making his first start of the season for the Spartans, poured in six of USC Upstate’s first 16. He finished with a team-high 17. Mario Blessing scored six of the Spartans first 12 points, and ended the night with 10.
Eastern Washington (1-4), coming off an 83-80 loss to Utah Valley University Tuesday night, took their largest lead of the game at the 4:00 minute mark in the first, ahead 37-26. The Spartans closed out the half on a 4-0 run, behind buckets from Craig and Babtunde Olumuyiwa.
Both teams hit a dry spell midway through the first. Following a dunk by Eagles’ Jois at the 11:38 mark, neither team was able to connect until USC Upstate’s Jodd Maxey nailed a jumper at the 8:49 mark.
Eastern Washington shot an impressive 50% from behind the arc, connecting on 12 of 24. The Spartans could not keep the pace, nailing just 17%, going 3 of 17.
Both teams will take a day off over the Thanksgiving holiday and close out the CBE Hall of Fame classic Friday, Nov. 23. USC Upstate will face Utah Valley University at 2pm and Eastern Washington takes on Santa Clara at 4:15pm.