Eastern point guard has back-to-back outings of nine assists and only one turnover, while sharpshooter has 53 points with 12 3-pointers in double-digit wins over Sacramento State and Northern ArizonaAfter impressive victories by 13 and 19 points in a weekend home sweep, guards Drew Brandon and Tyler Harvey both received player of the week honors Monday (Feb. 17) for the Eastern Washington University men’s basketball team.
Brandon was named by College Sports Madness as not only its Big Sky Conference Player of the Week, but its Mid-Major Player of the Week as well after a weekend highlighted by 18 assists with only two turnovers in 75 minutes of action.
Harvey was selected by the Big Sky Conference as its Player of the Week for the second time this season. Now ranking in the top 11 in NCAA Division I in three categories, Harvey scored 37 points in an 84-65 victory over previously second-place Northern Arizona, and had 16 one game earlier in an 85-72 win versus Sacramento State.
Brandon, a junior from Corona, Calif., and a transfer from Sierra College in California, also had 26 points, 13 rebounds and a pair of steals in the sweep, and made 14-of-15 free throws to help EWU ice wins. He is ranked 31st this week in NCAA Division I with an average of 5.6 assists per game to lead the league.
“Drew is playing complete games,” said Eastern head coach Jim Hayford. “He’s a defender, a rebounder, he runs our offense and he takes care of the ball. He is coming into his own.”
Harvey, a sophomore from Torrance, Calif., made 12-of-21 3-point shots last week and is now ranked fourth in the nation with an average of 3.76 per game. He is also ninth in 3-point field goal percentage (45.6 percent) and is 11th in scoring (21.6). With 94 3-pointers for the season, he is just nine from the school record of 103 and 30 from the Big Sky Conference record of 124.
“Tyler is being recognized for his great individual play that is leading to team success,” said Hayford. “I am very happy for him. He works hard and deserves the honor.”
Eastern has won four of its last five games and next plays at Southern Utah on Saturday (Feb. 22) followed by a home game next Monday (Feb. 24) versus Portland State. Both games start at 6:05 p.m. Pacific time and are carried live on ESPN 700-AM and www.watchbigsky.com.
More on Drew Brandon . . .Ranking 31st in NCAA Division I in assists (5.6), he is among the league leaders in four categories. He has averages of 11.1 points (23rd), 6.9 rebounds (sixth), 5.6 assists (first) and an assist-to-turnover ratio of +2.3 (first) after his first 25 games in NCAA Division I. In league only statistics, he is leading in assists (5.6), assist-to-turnover ratio (+2.2) and is sixth in rebounding (7.0).
Brandon had 18 assists and just two turnovers in 75 total minutes in EWU’s home sweep over Sacramento State and Northern Arizona – including performances of nine assists and one turnover in each game. The transfer from Sierra College in California also had 26 points and 13 rebounds in the two games, and made 14-of-15 free throws.
He already has five double-doubles, including a near-miss of a triple-double with 15 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds versus Montana State in a 77-72 win. He had a double double-double during one homestand this season -- he had 11 points and 13 rebounds versus North Dakota on Jan. 30, then had 15 points and 12 assists in a 94-90 overtime victory over Northern Colorado on Feb. 1. His 12 assists were a career high, and rank as the fourth-most in school history (the record is 18). He followed that with his fifth double figure rebounding game with 10 at Montana State on Feb. 6, then had a career-high 19 points at Montana two nights later. He finished with 13 points, 14 rebounds and six assists versus Washington on Nov. 17 in just his second D-I game. He was the lone newcomer to EWU’s opening night starting lineup.
More on Tyler Harvey . . .In NCAA Division I statistics through games of Feb. 16, Harvey is fourth in 3-pointers made per game (3.76), ninth in 3-point percentage (45.6 percent), 11th in scoring (21.6) and 25th in free throw percentage (.882). The combined shooting rankings of Harvey add up to 13, ranking him second nationally. The national leader is Ethan Wragge of Creighton with a total ranking of 12th (9th 3.32, 3rd 48.3).
Harvey continues to lead the Big Sky in scoring (21.6), ahead of North Dakota’s Troy Huff (19.6), Montana’s Kareem Jamar (19.6) and Weber State’s Davion Berry (19.1). He also leads in 3-pointers made per game (3.8) and free throw percentage (.882), and is fifth in 3-point field goal percentage (.456). In league only statistics, Harvey leads in scoring (23.4), 3-pointers made per game (3.9) and free throw percentage (.892).
Harvey hit nine 3-pointers en route to a 37-point outing in EWU’s 84-65 win over Northern Arizona on Feb. 15, to go along with performances of 36 and 38 he’s had since Jan. 23. Now with three of the top 17 performances in school history, only Rodney Stuckey (45, 38, 36, 36) and David Peed (44, 37, 37) have accomplished that feat in school history. Harvey made nine 3-pointers against NAU, coming one from the school record he tied on Feb. 1 in his 38-point effort versus Northern Colorado.
Now just nine 3-pointers from the school record of 103, Harvey is climbing the Big Sky list as well. His 94 are tied for eighth with two players, including current Portland Trailblazer Damian Lillard of Weber State (2012). Former BSC record holder Shannon Taylor from Eastern is third on the list with 103 in 1999, and the league record is 124 set by Stephen Sir of NAU in 2007.
Not only is he the Big Sky’s leading scorer, but Harvey has become a dead-eye free throw shooter for the Eagles. A year ago in early February, Harvey was barely seeing the court for the Eagles. But he earned playing time at the end of the season, and has scored in double figures in 31 of EWU’s last 33 games, with a streak of 23 snapped versus North Dakota on Jan. 30. The sophomore made only 43.5 percent of his free throws as a freshman, but this season is leading the Big Sky in games overall (.882) and leads in league play (.892). He has made 74-of-81 (.913) in his last nine outings, a 13-of-13 effort at Northern Arizona on Jan. 16, a Big Sky and EWU record 20-of-20 versus Southern Utah on Jan. 23, an 8-of-8 in a 38-point effort versus Northern Colorado on Feb. 1 and an 11-of-11 effort at Montana on Feb. 8.
Harvey has averaged 20.4 points per game in his last 33 games as an Eagle after averaging 1.3 points in his first 13 outings. In fact, his improvement by roughly 14 points per game ranks among the top 10 in the nation. A year ago in EWU’s last eight games, he scored 132 points (16.5 average) on 55 percent shooting from the field (52-of-94, including 20-of-44 3-point attempts). In the first 13 games he played in the 2012-13 season, Harvey scored just 17 points (by contrast, in the first 13 games this season he scored 261 with an average of 20.1 per game). In his freshman season, he played in 21 of EWU’s 31 games and averaged 14.0 minutes and 7.1 points per game. He currently has a 15.0 career scoring average in 46 games (29 as a starter).