Eagles Fall to Grizzlies 79-66
Freshmen Glen Dean and Jeffrey Forbes combine for 27 points in loss as Eastern next plays regionally-televised game on Sunday at MSU
Montana broke away from a 53-all tie in the second half and went on to defeat Eastern Washington University 79-66 Friday (Jan. 8) in a Big Sky Conference men's basketball game at Dahlberg Arena in Missoula, Mont.
The Eagles, who fell to 5-11 overall and 1-2 in the league, had 22 turnovers compared to just seven for the Grizzlies. Montana scored 32 points off turnovers as it improved to 11-6 overall and 2-3 in the Big Sky.
Eastern freshmen guards Glen Dean and Jeffrey Forbes led the Eagles with 15 and 12 points, respectively. However, Montana guards Anthony Johnson and Will Cherry combined for 42 points and eight steal in the Montana victory.
Eastern next plays at Montana State on Sunday (Jan. 10) at 1:05 p.m. The Bobcats knocked off Portland State 77-71 Friday to improve to 9-6 overall and 4-1 in the league. The game will be broadcast live in the Spokane area on 1050-AM, and Sunday's game will be televised regionally on Altitude Sports and Entertainment. Both games will also be broadcast via www.bigskytv.org.
Eastern senior Brandon Moore had a game-high 11 rebounds as EWU out-rebounded Montana 36-26. He scored eight points, but made just 3-of-10 shots from the field. Mark Dunn and Laron Griffin also had eight points for the Eagles.
Friday's game was a nip-and-tuck contest through the first 30 minutes of action, with the game featuring 12 ties and eight lead changes. But the last tie of the game was 53-53 with 12:05 remaining, when EWU senior Brandon Moore made a pair of free throws.
Montana took the lead for good on its next possession, then jumped to a nine-point advantage at 70-61 with 4:27 left when senior guard Ryan Staudacher made back-to-back three-pointers. The Grizzlies took their first double-digit lead at 74-64 on a steal and lay-up by Cherry with 3:06 remaining, and UM led by 10 or more points the rest of the way. Cherry's steal on that play was his seventh of the game.
Johnson, a senior, scored a game-high 25 points, while Cherry, a true freshman, tied his career-high with 17. Staudacher was UM's other double-digit scorer with 11 points, and he made 3-of-4 three-pointers.
Montana was 27-of-55 (49.1 percent) from the floor, and made 7-of-15 three pointers (46.7 percent). Eastern made 24-of-52 (46.2 percent) field goal attempts, 7-of-12 treys (58.3 percent) and all 11 of its free throw attempts.
Eastern put a five-game losing streak to rest with a 79-75 victory over Sacramento State last Thursday (Dec. 31), but that was EWU's first home game since defeating Seattle University 100-97 in overtime on Dec. 12. That was also the last time the Eagles tasted victory as all five of EWU's setbacks during its losing streak came on the road.
In fact, Eastern is going a full month from Dec. 13 to Jan. 14 with just one home game on the schedule. Eastern is now 1-9 on the road this season, while Montana and Montana State are a collective 15-2 at home.
EWU-MSU Series History (Since 1983-84): Since Eastern became a member of NCAA Division I in the 1983-84 season, the Eagles are 19-33 against Montana State. Eastern has won 11 of the last 20 after winning just once in the previous 13 games. However, Eastern is just 2-7 against the Bobcats in the last nine meetings, including losses in Bozeman in each of the last five meetings. The Eagles haven't won in Bozeman since Feb. 5, 2004, in a 64-61 triumph.
Since 1983-84, Eastern is 5-21 in Bozeman and 14-12 in Cheney against the Bobcats. EWU trails in the all-time series 25-39 (19-14 in Cheney, 6-25 in Bozeman, 0-0 neutral).