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Harvey, Eastern Washington rally past Montana for Big Sky crown

Mar 15, 2015 - 3:47 AM Missoula, MT ( - Tyler Harvey, the nation's leading scorer, had just 10 points at the final media timeout. He finished with 18.

Harvey, Venky Jois and the Eastern Washington Eagles punched their ticket to the NCAA Tournament with a 69-65 win over host Montana in the Big Sky championship.

Drew Brandon scored 16 points and Bogdan Blitznyuk added 13 off the bench for Eastern Washington (26-8), which finished the game on a 21-6 run to claim its second Big Sky title in program history.

The Grizzlies looked to put the game away past the midpoint of the second half, when a 7-0 run put them in front 59-48.

The lead was nine when Jois bullied his way to the basket for a layup. He then spent the entire timeout that ensued encouraging his Eagles teammates to raise their level of play.

They responded.

Harvey hit a 3-pointer and a difficult layup on consecutive possessions out of the timeout. Harvey then took the ball from Mario Dunn, leading to Felix Von Hofe's right-wing triple that capped a 14-2 run and gave Eastern Washington its first lead since 13:07 of the second half.

Leading 64-63 inside of the final minute, Harvey converted a three-point play to make it a two-possession game. He then stripped Martin Bruenig at the other end and came up with the loose ball. Brandon's free throws put the game away.

Bruenig, the Big Sky Player of the Year, had 23 points and 17 rebounds for Montana (20-12). Michael Weisner made all four of Montana's 3-pointers for a career-high 18 points, and Jordan Gregory scored 16.

Game Notes

Jois finished with eight points ... EWU picked up its second road win over Montana this season ... Montana had won three of the last five Big Sky titles ... EWU hasn't made the NCAA Tournament since 2004.