Eagles open league season with a loss in EWU's eighth game in 22 days, but now the schedule slows down a little bit
Date - Opponent - Spokane Radio Station -
Dec. 12 - vs. Seattle Univ. at Reese Court - 1050am - 1:05 p.m.
Dec. 17 - at Nevada - 1050am - 7:05 p.m.
Eagles on TV/Radio/Webcasts . . .
All EWU home games will be televised live and/or delayed on SWX in Spokane (SWX Digital 6.2, Cheney Cable 12, Comcast 115, Time Warner 306, Charter 287). Eagle Radio Broadcasts home and away in 2009-10 may be heard live, and stations in Spokane/Cheney that may be used are 1510-AM, 1050-AM or 790-AM. Broadcasts may also be heard via the internet -- road games may be heard free of charge via WWW.TEAMLINE.CC and the audio and video of home games may also be heard via WWW.BIGSKYTV.ORG.
The Eastern Washington University men's basketball team faced a grueling early-season schedule with eight games in a 22-day span. Now, the Eagles get a week off for fall quarter final exams at EWU before facing a different kind of challenge in Charles Garcia.
The 6-foot-10 power forward from Seattle University is averaging a double-double and will be a point of emphasis during practice this week as the Eagles host the Redhawks Saturday (Dec. 12) at 1:05 p.m. Pacific time at Reese Court in Cheney, Wash. A year ago, in the first meeting between the two schools in more than 23 years, Seattle pulled out a 63-59 overtime victory. The two schools will play again later this season on Feb. 1 at Key Arena in Seattle.
A transfer from Riverside Community College and originally from Los Angeles, Calif., Garcia has helped the Redhawks become a force to reckon with in just their second year as a member of NCAA Division I. Seattle is 5-4 this season and is coming off an 88-78 victory at UC Davis last Saturday (Dec. 5).
The Eagles, meanwhile, are coming off a 98-75 loss to Portland State that same day in the Big Sky Conference opener for both teams. The Vikings made a school-record 69 percent of their shots as EWU allowed its most points since falling at Northern Arizona 109-101 on Jan. 6, 2007.
This Saturday's game will be Eastern's last home game until hosting Sacramento State in a Big Sky Conference game on Dec. 31 at 3:05 p.m. In the meantime, Eastern will play at Nevada (Dec. 17), Brigham Young (Dec. 19) and Gonzaga (Dec. 28), and will also play two games at the Las Vegas Classic at the Orleans Arena (Dec. 22-23).
Nevada is coached by former Eastern assistant David Carter, who is 2-4 in his first season at the helm. The Wolf Pack Play Fresno Pacific (Dec. 8) and San Diego State (Dec. 12) prior to taking on the Eagles. Carter served two seasons under Steve Aggers at EWU in the 1995-96 and 1996-97 seasons, a pair of rebuilding years in which Eastern finished 3-23 overall and 0-14 in the Big Sky Conference the first year, and 7-19/3-13 the second. The 1989 Saint Mary's graduate scored six points and had four assists in a 76-56 win over Eastern on Dec. 19, 1988.
Eagles Face Third Player Currently Ranked in Top Five Nationally in Scoring: Through games of Nov. 30, Seattle's Charles Garcia was ranked fourth in NCAA Division I in scoring, averaging 26.6 points per game (his current average is 26.0). He also averages 10.4 rebounds per game and has made 50.7 percent of his shots from the field.
For the third time this season, Eastern will be playing one of the top scorers in NCAA Division I. Washington State's Klay Thompson was the leader as of Nov. 30 with an average of 28.3 points per game, and Marquez Haynes from Texas Arlington was averaging 25.6 to rank fifth. Thompson scored 24 against the Eagles and Haynes had 32.
Garcia scored 41 points in an 84-83 loss to Wofford College, and has four double-doubles already against Weber State (27 points/11 rebounds), Fresno State (21/12), Cal Poly (26/16) and UC Davis (22/12).
"He's legit -- he's a first-round draft pick," complimented Eastern head coach Kirk Earlywine. "He's 6-10 and he handles it like (Houston Rockets 6-8 guard/forward) Tracy McGrady. He can shoot the ball and drive it -- he's putting up 20 and 10 numbers against every team he faces, including on the road. He had 41 the other night. He's the real deal."
Productive Practices Ahead: The heavy schedule and five injuries in November have not allowed the Eagles to have as productive of practices as head coach Kirk Earlywine would like. But that should change this week.
"Our practices have suffered because of the number games we've played and the number of injuries we've had," said Earlywine. "Other than (starter Matt Brunell), I expect that we'll have everybody healthy for practices. There are obviously some things we have to work on and this week will give us time to do it."
Brunell has played sparingly since suffering a sprained ankle against Washington State on Nov. 16.
"My heart goes out to Matt Brunell because he's trying like a warrior to play," added Earlywine. "But he just can't move -- the swelling is gone but he can't push off on it."
Eagles Spend First Month Dealing with Injuries: The Eagles spent the first month of the season dealing with injuries to five Eagles -- Gary Gibson (knees), Brandon Moore (foot and ankle), Abebe Demissie (hamstring), Kevin Winford (concussion) and Matthew Brunell (ankle). The missed time has impacted Eastern not only in games, but in practice.
"We've already had a season's worth of bad luck," said Earlywine before Eastern's league opener on Dec. 5. "Hopefully we're close to being through it and we don't have any more. It's been hard, and it's been hard because you can't practice effectively."
Brunell and Winford suffered their injuries in the second game of the season, and Moore missed the Walla Walla game and parts of another with a sprained ankle. Moore also missed much of the preseason because of a foot injury that required minor surgery. Brunell has missed four full games and parts of two others; Gibson has missed six games thus far; and Winford missed two.
Eastern Basketball -- http://goeags.cstv.com/sports/m-baskbl/ewas-m-baskbl-body.html
Big Sky Conference Basketball -- http://www.bigskyconf.com/sport.asp?path=mbball&tab=mens
NCAA Basketball -- http://www.ncaa.com/sports/m-baskbl/ncaa-m-baskbl-body.html
ESPN College Scoreboard -- http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/scoreboard
Rodney Stuckey NBA Page -- http://www.nba.com/playerfile/rodney_stuckey/index.html
More Information and Links are Available at: HTTP://WWW.GOEAGS.COM
Recent EWU Men's Basketball Headlines . . .
December 5, 2009 - Eastern Dealt 98-75 Loss by Portland State in BSC Opener
December 1, 2009 - Eastern Romps Past Walla Walla 89-61
November 28, 2009 - Eagles Drop 76-54 Decision to Idaho
November 24, 2009 - Eastern Falls at Home to Boise State 82-69
November 21, 2009 - Freshman Jeffrey Forbes Scores 24 in Eagle Win
November 17, 2009 - Eastern Survives for 100-88 Victory Over Whitman
November 16, 2009 - Eagles Start and Finish Fast, But Fall to Cougars 67-61
November 14, 2009 - Eastern
Loses Opener to Portland 64-58
November 8, 2009 - Eastern Pulls Away for 67-58 Exhibition Win
November 4, 2009 - Eagles Face Larger Challenge in Second Exhibition This Sunday
November 1, 2009 - Eagles Roll Past Saint Martin's 98-61
October 23, 2009 - SEASON OUTLOOK
EWU-Seattle Series History: Eastern leads the all-time series 8-4 after a 63-59 overtime loss to the Redhawks on Feb. 24, 2009. Before that, the last meeting came on Nov. 22, 1985, when Eastern won 83-64 at Reese Court in Cheney, Wash. That was the lone game played between the two schools since EWU moved to NCAA Division I in the 1983-84 season. The first four meetings came in the 1945-46 season, and Eastern won all four as well as a pair the following season. A split followed in 1948-49, and Seattle swept a pair in the 1951-52 season.
Seattle was in NCAA Division I from 1944-1980, with such star players as Elgin Baylor, John O'Brien, Clint Richardson and Frank Oleynick on its rosters. Baylor, in fact, led Seattle to the championship game of the NCAA Tournament where it lost 84-72 to Kentucky. Formerly known as the Chieftains, from 1980-2002 they were affiliated with NAIA and from 2002-2007 were a member of NCAA Division II. Here is a list of the recent meetings:
11/22/85 - W - Seattle
- 83-64 - H
2/24/09 - L - Seatle - 59-63 (ot) - H
EWU-Nevada Series History: The Eagles haven't played Nevada since the 1991-92 season when the Eagles and Wolf Pack played for the 10th time in five seasons as fellow members of the Big Sky Conference. Eastern won just two of those games, and trails in the all-time series 3-8. The only other meeting came in the 1961-62 season on Dec. 2, 1962, when Eastern won 72-63 at home. Here is a list of the all-time meetings.
12/2/61 - W - Nevada -
72-63 - H
1/7/88 - L - Nevada* - 58-71 - H
2/20/88 - L - Nevada* - 83-89 - A
1/12/89 - L - Nevada* - 106-115 2OT - H
2/9/89 - L - Nevada* - 77-82 - A
1/20/90 - L - Nevada* - 100-102 - H
2/22/90 - W - Nevada* - 73-65 - A
1/5/91 - W - Nevada* - 74-60 - H
2/14/91 - L - Nevada* - 73-76 - A
1/18/92 - L - Nevada* - 71-73 - A
2/20/92 - L - Nevada* - 60-72 - H
RECENT GAME RECAPS
Eastern Dealt 98-75 Loss by Portland State in BSC Opener: It wasn't a good night to have to face the two-time defending league champions.
The Eastern Washington University men's basketball team had no answer for the 69 percent shooting night by Portland State and the Eagles fell to the Vikings 98-75 Dec. 5 at the Stott Center in Portland, Ore. It was the Big Sky Conference opener for both teams and the earliest it's ever been for the Eagles.
The Vikings made 33-of-48 shots in the game, including a blistering 16-of-21 in the first half as EWU allowed its most points this season. Portland State used a 12-0 run in the first half to take the lead for good, then scored 10 unanswered points in the second half to pull away.
The Vikings were coming off an impressive 86-82 victory at 25th-ranked Portland, a team Eastern narrowly lost to 64-58 on Nov. 14 at home. The Vikings won the Big Sky regular season and tournament title in 2008, and the tournament title last season to advance to the NCAA Tournament for a second-straight season. Three key players are back from last year's squad, and those players are all averaging double figures in scoring thus far.
"It was a little bit of a struggle for us at times, but we did score 75 points and shot a respectable percentage," Eastern head coach Kirk Earlywine said. "But the game was decided on the other end of the floor, obviously. When you allow a team to shoot 69 percent you are not going to win. I had our players so worried about the three-point line that all of our defensive principles and rules went out the window because we were trying so hard to take that away. Instead we gave up layins and dunks."
Freshmen Glen Dean and Jeffrey Forbes led the Eagles with 17 points each as they combined for 11-of-13 shooting from the field and 8-of-9 from the free throw line. Dean also had four assists and Forbes had three. Brandon Moore added 14 points and seven rebounds.
The Eagles finished the game making 27-of-59 shots from the field for 46 percent, and made 16-of-21 free throws for 76 percent.
But the real offense belonged to the Vikings and a quartet of players -- Dominic Waters, Melvin Jones, Julius Thomas and Jamie Jones. They combined for 75 points on 26-of-37 shooting from the field and 18-of-23 from the line.
With Eastern having difficultly defending Portland State's ball screens against EWU's man-to-man defense, Earlywine said playing a zone against the Vikings was not an option. Portland State made eight three-pointers in the game after entering the contest averaging just over nine per game.
"They have too many guys that shoot the ball well," Earlywine explained. "There are seven or eight different ways you can defend those ball screens, and I opted to go with one we have already used and had some familiarity with. But it was a bad decision on my part and I told the players that I blew this one for them. I will not let that happen again. There were a couple of non-competitive moments on the floor, but the majority of this was me."
Eastern led early 10-8, but PSU used a 12-0 run to take the lead for good. The Vikings led at halftime 44-35.
Eastern stayed within striking distance in the second half, and trailed just 64-57 mid-way through the half. But the Vikings responded with a 10-0 run to take a 74-57 advantage with 8:18 to play. Portland State led by as many as 25 and the closest Eastern came the rest of the way was 15.
Eastern Romps Past Walla Walla 89-61: Senior Mark Dunn scored a career-high 23 points as the Eastern Washington University men's basketball team trounced NAIA Division II independent Walla Walla University 89-61 Dec. 1 at Reese Court in Cheney, Wash., in the first-ever meeting between the two schools.
Eastern led from start to finish against Walla Walla, with Dunn scoring 17 of his points in the first half as EWU opened a 50-32 lead. He was one of four Eagles to score in double figures in the game as the largest lead for the Eagles came with 4:45 left at 32 points (86-54).
Other Eagles in double figures included senior Benny Valentine with 15, freshman Glen Dean with 12 and freshman Kevin Winford with 11. Valentine and freshman Jeffrey Forbes each had seven assists, and freshman Abebe Demissie chipped in five assists, six points and 10 rebounds. Alden Gibbs had four steals and a game-high 15 rebounds.
Valentine made 5-of-12 shots from the field with a trio of three-pointers, and also had seven rebounds and a pair of steals.
"I thought Benny Valentine did a terrific job of sticking to the way we want him to play," Eastern head coach Kirk Earlywine said. "He didn't take bad shots, and he kept the ball moving and created shots for his teammates. The challenge now for him is to play the right way in a big game and a tight game, which they are all going to be from now on."
Despite playing without a pair of starting post players out with ankle injuries -- Brandon Moore and Matthew Brunell -- Eastern out-rebounded the Wolves 53-32. The Eagles also held them to 34 percent shooting, including just 27 percent in the second half.
The Eagles made 45 percent of their shots in the game, including a 48 percent first half and 44 percent after intermission. Eastern, however, made only 7-of-27 three-pointers for 26 percent, and had 17 turnovers.
Eagles Drop 76-54 Decision to Idaho: For the second-straight game against a Western Athletic Conference foe, Eastern fell behind by double digits early in the contest and went on to lose to Idaho 76-54 Nov. 28 in a non-conference men's basketball game at Memorial Gym in Moscow, Idaho.
The Vandals sank their first seven three-pointers, including five in the first half to lead at intermission 45-23 and by as many as 31 in the game. Idaho, which improved to 4-1, made 8-of-12 treys in the game and 54 percent of its shots overall.
Eastern had a 36 percent shooting night made worse by a 40-23 rebounding disadvantage. Freshman Glen Dean led the Eagles with a season-high 14 points to go along with four assists and three steals. Another freshman, Kevin Winford, chipped in nine points.
Eastern opened the season with six games in just 15 days.
Eastern Falls at Home to Boise State 82-69: Boise State jumped out to a 10-0 lead and went on to defeat Eastern Washington 82-69 on Nov. 24 at Reese Court in Cheney, Wash., in the fifth game in 11 days for the Eagles.
Senior center Brandon Moore led the Eagles with 18 points and nine rebounds, but his 6-foot-9 counterpart from Boise State had an even bigger night. Boise State's Ike Okoye had 21 points, 17 rebounds, six blocks, three assists and two steals in helping BSU improve to 3-2.
Eastern was out-shot 59 percent to 26 percent in the first half. The Broncos had 16 fast-break points against the Eagles, but eight of those came during BSU's 10-0 start. Boise State eventually led by 14 at halftime, 44-30.
With Matthew Brunell (ankle) and Abebe Demissie (hamstring) sidelined with injuries, Eastern used just eight players for the third-straight game.
"The No. 1 key to the game for us was conversion defense," explained Eagle head coach Kirk Earlywine. "There were a variety of factors -- it was our fifth game in 11 days, and because we're shorthanded, we couldn't work on conversion defense live in practice and couldn't go full speed. I can start making a list, but every team can.
"But you still have to play, and we didn't do it in the first five minutes of the game. The first five minutes of the game was the game."
Eastern cut the lead to one in the second half, but eight-straight Bronco points helped put the lead out of reach as they equaled their biggest lead of 14 twice.
Benny Valentine added 16 points and three assists for the Eagles, but he made just 5-of-15 shots from the field, including 3-of-10 from the three-point stripe. Fellow guard Glen Dean added 12 points, but he was just 3-of-14 from the field.
The Eagles made 34 percent of their shots, including only 6-of-20 treys for 30 percent. The Broncos made 53 percent of their shots and out-rebounded Eastern 45-36.
Eagles Now 2-1 in December League Openers: The Dec. 5 start to league play in a 98-75 loss at Portland State represented the earliest Big Sky Conference opener in school history. Last year, the Eagles opened league play on Dec. 6 with a 61-55 home win over Montana State, and the previous season opened on Dec. 22 with a 58-57 home victory over Portland State. However, both seasons the Eagles failed to qualify for the six-team Big Sky Conference Tournament.
Eastern, picked to finish eighth in the league race by both the media and coaches, took on PSU in its first league game. The Vikings were selected to finish second by the media and fourth by the coaches. Despite EWU's success in its opener the last two years, Eastern head coach Kirk Earlywine would much rather open league play in the more traditional month of January, not just a few weeks into the season.
"I've made my feelings pretty well known about playing the first conference game in early December," he explained. "But we've actually been ready to play that game the last two seasons. I shouldn't be too critical because we've won our opener each of the past two years."
Following the PSU game, Eastern will resume league play on Dec. 31. Eastern is hoping its five senior letter winners and talented newcomers will help the Eagles earn their first Big Sky Conference Tournament berth in four seasons when that event takes place on March 6, 9 and 10. However, Earlywine expects several other league teams to feature even more returning starters and experience.
"The league is going to be very, very good," he said. "Top to bottom, it may be as good as it's been in the last 10 years. I told our team after our last game last season that our challenge was to go catch the other teams in the league. Nobody is backing up, so we have to go catch them. Our focus has been on doing what we have to do to improve and not count on other teams to stub their toe."
Earlywine has been in the Big Sky Conference for nearly 10 years now, dating back to 1999 when he became an assistant at Weber State. He knows the January to March grind in the league is difficult, but it's made even more difficult this season with the cost-saving measure of playing most weekend doubleheaders on Friday/Saturday instead of Thursday/Saturday.
"The travel difficulties haven't changed - we still have nine institutions spread over eight states," he said. "You go from sea level to altitude, and one time zone to another. It's tough."
Brandon Moore Has Back-to-Back Double-Doubles in Split: Senior 6-foot-9 center Brandon Moore had the seventh and eighth double-doubles of his career en route to having a combined 29 points and 32 rebounds in a roughly 26-hour span. He had 10 points and 13 rebounds in a 67-61 loss to Washington State on Nov. 16, then had 19 points and 19 rebounds the next night in a 100-88 win over Whitman. He followed that with nine rebounds at Texas Arlington.
Moore's 19 rebounds ranks as the third-best performance in recorded school history. His previous career high for rebounds was 14 versus Portland State on Feb. 28, 2009. He also tied his career-high with five blocked shots against the Missionaries, equaling the second-best recorded performance in school history.
Mark Dunn Hot Too: Senior Mark Dunn had two of the highest-scoring games in his Eastern career in back-to-back nights versus Washington State (Nov. 16) and Whitman (Nov. 17). He had 17 points versus the Cougars, making 7-of-9 shots from the field, including 3-of-4 three-point attempts. The next night he made 7-of-12 field goals and 7-of-8 free throws to finish with 21 points.
Before this season, his previous career high was 14 points in games against Montana and Weber State last season on his way to an average of 5.6 points per game as a 24-game starter. However, he made only 2-of-11 three-pointers in his previous 31 games as an Eagle. He helped lead Danville Area Junior College to a fourth-place finish at the NJCAA Division II National Tournament as a sophomore in the 2007-08 season. He averaged 5.5 points and 3.9 rebounds that season, with a season-high of 19. As a freshman, he averaged four points and four boards.
Hitting the Century Mark: The Whitman game on Nov. 17 was the 61st time in school history that Eastern has scored 100 points in a game. The last time it happened came in a 100-85 victory over Sacramento State on Jan. 25, 2007, in which current Detroit Piston Rodney Stuckey scored 31 points. Eastern would have four 100-point performances that season and average 84.2 points per game as Stuckey finished his sophomore season with an average of 24.6 points per game.
Schedule includes games with Washington State and Gonzaga: Eastern's 2009-10 schedule is highlighted by non-conference games against Washington State and Gonzaga, as well as the earliest Big Sky Conference start in school history.
Eastern opens its league schedule on the early date of Dec. 5, giving the Eagles two exhibition games and seven non-conference games to prepare for league play. Among those seven games, Eastern hosts Portland on Nov. 14 and Boise State on Nov. 24, and plays road games at Washington State on Nov. 16 and Idaho on Nov. 28.
"I like our non-conference schedule and the fact we're not stuck on the road very long," Eastern head coach Kirk Earlywine said. "But November is very tough and we have to be ready right from the start."
Eastern plays at Portland State on Dec. 5 before resuming league play on Dec. 31 at home against Sacramento State. The other non-conference games for the Eagles include road games at Nevada (Dec.17), Brigham Young (Dec. 19) and Gonzaga (Dec. 28), as well as an appearance in the four-team Las Vegas Classic at the Orleans Arena on Dec. 22-23.
In addition, Eastern plays both at home (Dec. 12) and on the road (Feb. 1) against Seattle University, a newcomer in NCAA Division I in the 2008-09 season. Seattle defeated the Eagles in overtime last season, but the Eagles were able to edge both Portland (63-58) and Idaho (69-59) before both of those teams finished strong in the West Coast Conference and Western Athletic Conference, respectively.
"We have our hands full with our non-conference schedule, but that's always the case," Earlywine said. "Now that Portland and Idaho have elevated their programs in the last year, it makes our non-conference schedule that much tougher.
Eastern 12-68 Versus the Pacific 10 Conference: Following a 67-61 loss at Washington State on Nov. 16, 2009, the Eagles are now 11-52 in the all-time series against Washington State, to go along with a 1-10 record all-time against Washington. Eastern is 0-6 against other members of the Pacific 10 Conference, giving the Eagles a 12-68 record all-time against that league.
Eastern losses to Washington each of the previous six seasons (2003-2008), and has a current 10-game losing streak versus the Pac 10. Eastern lost at Washington 83-50 on Dec. 20, 2008, and the year prior, lost to Washington State 68-41 on Nov. 9, 2007, and Washington 82-68 on Nov. 18, 2007.
Eastern's win at Washington in the 2002-03 season snapped a five-game losing streak versus Pacific 10 Conference opponents dating back to Eastern's 83-82 overtime win versus Washington State on Dec. 22, 1997, in Kennewick, Wash. That victory over WSU was Eastern's first-ever victory over a Pacific 8 or Pacific 10 Conference opponent since the inception of the conference in 1968. It was also Eastern's first win over Washington State since Dec. 1, 1952, when the Eagles pulled out a 72-71 overtime win in Pullman. The Cougars had led the all-time series 49-10 and had won 17-straight games over the Eagles prior to that EWU victory.
Eastern's lone victory over the Huskies was 62-58 in December 2002. Washington won the previous four meetings which all took place between 1990 and 1997.
Other recent meetings against the Pac 10 have yielded losses to Oregon (100-74 on Dec. 15, 2006), Arizona (79-45 on Dec. 28, 2004), California (56-27 on Nov. 16, 2001 and 94-63 on Nov. 25, 1998), Oregon State (58-50 on Dec. 19, 2000 and 78-62 on Dec. 15, 1999) and Washington State (91-72 on Dec. 5, 1998).
EWU in Exhibitions: Until falling 58-56 to
Carroll College on Nov. 1, 2008, Eastern had won its last 12
exhibition games, which are contests that do not count in EWU's
season record or statistics. Before that setback, EWU's last
exhibition loss came on Nov. 13, 1999, to the Northwest Basketball
Camp (NBC) Thunder. In that 73-71 loss, former Pepperdine player
Shann Ferch made a three-point play with 19 seconds to lift NBC to
the win. Here is a list of recent exhibition games:
11/8/09 - Montana State-Billings - W, 67-58
11/1/09 - Saint Martin's - W, 98-61
11/8/08 - Puget Sound - W, 90-66
11/1/08 - Carroll - L, 56-58
11/3/07 - Pacific - W, 91-49
11/4/06 - Northwest Nazarene - W, 98-55
11/13/05 - UC-San Diego - W, 75-44
11/13/04 - Central Washington - W, 79-63
11/12/03 - Ukraine Touring Team - W, 83-55
11/7/03 - Northwest Sports - W, 100-79
11/7/02 - Northwest Basketball Camp (NBC) Thunder - W, 99-72
11/1/02 - Northwest Sports - W, 117-73
11/2/01 - NBC Thunder - W, 108-106
10/10/01 - Alumni - W, 94-85
11/14/00 - SON Blue Angels - W, 90-78
11/4/00 - NBC Thunder - W, 72-63
11/13/99 - NBC Thunder - L, 71-73
11/5/99 - The Hoop USA - W, 106-64