November 24, 2010

Eagles Drop Road Game in Boise, 83-54

Lacking energy and enthusiasm, Eagles fall to 1-3 for the season as BSU’s Robert Arnold has big game

There was too much Robert Arnold and not enough energy and enthusiasm Wednesday (Nov. 24) for the Eastern Washington University men’s basketball team.

Arnold had 26 points, seven rebounds and four steals as Boise State led from start to finish to defeat the Eagles 83-54 in a non-conference game at Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Idaho.

The Broncos improved to 4-0 for the season, while the Eagles are 1-3 heading into Saturday’s (Nov. 27) home game at 3:05 p.m. at Reese Court in Cheney, Wash. Eastern was coming off a 98-72 loss to Washington on Nov. 16 and a 96-87 win over Northwest University two days later.

Despite the long rest, Eastern didn’t have the same kind of energy and enthusiasm, Eagle head coach Kirk Earlywine said.

“I could see it the last two days in practice, but we didn’t look like the same team that played in Seattle in terms of our energy level and bounce in our step,” he explained. “Maybe we need to go harder in practice, although I’m ultra-conservative now with injuries and fatigue. If we are going to have a performance where we don’t have energy and enthusiasm like tonight, I would rather it be because we worked too hard rather than not work hard enough.”

Besides Arnold, a major difference in the game was rebounding as the Broncos enjoyed a 34-19 advantage. Boise State had 12 offensive rebounds compared to three for the Eagles.

“We felt like we were a pretty good rebounding team and Boise is a good rebounding team, and tonight they showed us who is better at this point,” said Earlywine. “I thought Boise State physically competed harder than we did and we have to correct that.”

Junior Laron Griffin led the Eagles with 13 points, three rebounds and a pair of steals. Junior college transfer Cliff Ederaine was the only other Eagle in double figures with 11 points, and he chipped in four boards.

“Cliff Ederaine played with energy, heart and toughness,” praised Earlywine. “But he’s still adjusting to the amount of contact that occurs at Division I.”

Earlywine was also encouraged by the play of Rashano McRae, another junior college transfer who had averaged just 13 minutes per game in EWU’s first three outings. He finished the BSU game with team-highs of five rebounds and four assists, and also had three points in 23 minutes of action.

“Rashano has the ability to see cutters and see open guys better than any of our players other than (injured point guard) Glen Dean, and it showed tonight,” Earlywine said. “He’s missed a lot of practice with a bad back, and his conditioning has been an issue because of those missed practices. He’s starting to be able to play more than two or two and a half minutes at a time, and play hard. A few weeks ago he could go up and down the floor about three times and he died. So his performance was a positive tonight.”

Eastern, still playing without Dean who remains day-to-day with a stress fracture in his foot, fell behind 7-0 to the Broncos. That opening burst was similar to the 10-0 run the Broncos started with in an 82-69 victory a year ago in Cheney.

After the Eagles cut the lead to two, an 8-0 run helped BSU open a double-digit lead. The Eagles were behind by just eight late in the half, but BSU closed with a 10-2 run to take a 43-27 lead at halftime. Eastern came no closer than 15 in the second half as the Broncos led by as many as 32.

 “We turned it over four times in the last 3:50 of the first half, and some of those were turnovers that are uncharacteristic of our guys -- it doesn’t happen in practice,” said Earlywine. “The two underlying themes for us for a few games have been bad fouls and turnovers. I think we’re averaging 20 turnovers right now, and part of that can be attributed to point guard play. We played 21 minutes tonight without a point guard. Regardless, we have to start taking pride in taking care of the ball.”

Idaho enters Saturday’s game 1-3 after falling 76-33 at Montana on Monday in which the Vandals made just 6-of-50 shots from the field for a paltry 12 percent. The Vandals, who defeated EWU 76-54 last year in Moscow, defeated Eastern Oregon (86-74) to open the season, then fell to Washington State (88-71) and Portland (66-53). A year ago, Idaho finished 15-16 overall and 6-10 in the WAC.

“I’m not sure how many of those (12 percent shooting nights) you can have in a season,” said Earlywine of Idaho’s shooting woes versus Idaho.

“Two years ago at home we jumped on them pretty good and we were up 18 at halftime, but last year they jumped on us pretty good down in Moscow,” he added. “Our returning players remember the Vandals giving it to us pretty good down there last year. We have to catch ourselves and get back on track.”

Earlywine certainly doesn’t expect a performance from the Vandals like that Saturday at Reese Court, but he certainly knows what he wants to see from his squad.

“I want to see enthusiasm and energy. We played tonight like a baseball team 20 games out of the pennant race in September. We played completely unlike we did in Seattle last week. Even when that game at Washington got away from us in the second half, we still had energy and enthusiasm and were still playing hard. We got a little lackadaisical in the second half against Northwest University, but we opened that game with energy and enthusiasm, we played hard and we were quick. For some reason tonight it wasn’t there. Good teams catch themselves. We can’t let one lackluster performance lead to a second or third. Good teams catch themselves after they shoot up an air ball like we did against Boise State.”

 Following Saturday’s game, Eastern closes a stretch of three games in seven days with a short road trip to face nationally-ranked Gonzaga on Tuesday (Nov. 30) in Spokane.

Gonzaga, which split a pair of games in the O’Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic in Kansas City, Mo., is 3-2. Gonzaga opened the year with victories over Southern (117-72) and IUPUI (86-56) before falling to San Diego State (79-76).

Ranked 22nd this week by Associated Press and 18th in the Coaches Poll, GU was 27-7 overall last season and 12-2 in the West Coast Conference. The Bulldogs have won the last 22 meetings against Eastern, including last year’s 94-52 romp.

 

SERIES HISTORY

EWU vs. Idaho Series History: Eastern trails in the all-time series 12-39, with the home team winning the last four meetings. Eastern won four-straight games in the series from Nov. 29, 1999, to Dec. 7, 2002, but that was nothing compared to Idaho's nearly 10-year winning streak. The Vandals won 22-straight games against the Eagles from Nov. 28, 1986, to Feb. 17, 1996, including a 65-62 buzzer beater in the 1990 Big Sky Conference Tournament championship game. The streak was finally snapped with a 66-53 Eagle home win on Nov. 29, 1999. From the 1987-88 season through 1995-96, both schools were members of the Big Sky Conference. Below are series results since EWU became a member of NCAA Division I in the 1983-84 season.

12/28/83 - L - 69-91 - A
1/17/84 - W - 77-70 - H
1/16/85 - L - 66-59 - A
2/13/85 - L - 75-78 - H
12/7/85 - W - 79-65 - A
1/15/86 - W - 79-67 - H
11/28/86 - L - 65-76 - N
1/14/87 - L - 45-55 - H
11/25/88 - L - 54-79 - N
2/6/88 - L - 64-74 - A
2/27/88 - L - 58-61 - H
1/28/89 - L - 54-73 - H
2/5/89 - L - 74-87 - A
1/27/90 - L - 51-70 - A
3/1/90 - L - 54-72 - H
3/9/90 - L - 62-65 - N
1/26/91 - L - 55-72 - H
3/2/91 - L - 65-80 - A
1/30/92 - L - 54-64 - A
3/7/92 - L - 57-60 - H
1/22/93 - L - 63-87 - A
2/20/93 - L - 80-82 - A
1/21/94 - L - 65-71 - A
2/19/94 - L - 64-82 - H
1/21/95 - L - 62-78 - A
2/17/95 - L - 54-61 - H
1/19/96 - L - 53-75 - H
2/17/96 - L - 63-76 - A
11/29/99 - W - 66-53 - H
12/30/00 - W - 73-66 - A
12/6/01 - W - 59-48 - A
12/7/02 - W - 67-62 - H
12/28/03 - L - 60-64 - A
01/02/05 - L - 50-52 - H
11/30/05 - W - 68-55 - A
12/21/06 - W - 85-56 - H
12/9/07 - L - 49-58 - A
11/24/08 - W - 69-59 - H
11/28/09 - L - 54-76 - A

Last Season . . . 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, 2009, 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.

 

EWU versus Gonzaga Series History: Eastern has lost the last 22 meetings against Gonzaga, with the last Eastern win in the series coming on Jan. 8, 1990, in Spokane by a 70-55 score. Eastern is 5-32 versus Gonzaga since Eastern moved to NCAA Division I in the 1983-84 season, including a 2-15 record at Gonzaga, 2-12 mark in Cheney and 1-5 record on neutral courts. The two teams paired off in the Inland Empire Classic at the old Spokane Coliseum in November of 1986 and 1987. The Bulldogs lead the all-time series 51-7. Here is a list of the meetings since EWU became a member of NCAA Division I in the 1983-84 season.

12/7/83 - L - 57-86 - A
1/10/84 - L - 80-91 - H
2/5/85 - L - 52-62 - A
2/11/85 - W - 66-63 - H
1/10/86 - W - 56-54 - H
2/12/86 - W - 60-58 - A
11/29/86 - W - 62-60 - N
12/20/86 - L - 58-87 - A
1/20/87 - L - 69-79 - H
11/28/87 - L - 61-82 - N
12/5/87 - L - 63-75 - A
1/5/88 - L - 68-88 - H
12/1/88 - L - 63-75 - H
12/10/88 - L - 68-70 - A
1/8/90 - W - 70-55 - A
12/13/90 - L - 67-108 - H
12/15/90 - L - 63-81 - A
12/15/91 - L - 67-74 - A
1/4/92 - L - 49-67 - H
12/23/92 - L - 50-71 - A
1/9/93 - L - 68-73 - H
12/11/93 - L - 54-99 - A
12/22/94 - L - 58-68 - H
12/22/95 - L - 55-68 - A
1/5/96 - L - 53-63 - H
12/21/96 - L - 65-80 - H
12/14/97 - L - 78-100 - A
11/30/98 - L - 59-81 - H
11/26/99 - L - 47-81 - A
11/17/00 - L - 65-74 - H
12/4/01 - L - 74-84 OT - A
12/22/02 - L - 64-67 - N
12/31/03 - L - 49-70 - N
12/21/04 - L - 70-83 - N
12/19/05 - L - 65-75 - N
11/10/06 - L - 75-90 - A
12/28/09 - L - 52-94 - A

Last Season . . . Gonzaga Grounds Eagles 94-52: With too many turnovers and not enough shots going in, the Eastern Washington University men's basketball team lost 94-52 to Gonzaga Dec. 28, 2009, in a non-conference game at the McCarthey Athletic Center in Spokane, Wash. The Bulldogs entered the game ranked 22nd nationally in the ESPN/USA Today poll, and 26th by Associated Press.

Eastern connected on just 28.8 percent of their shots from the field in the game, while the Bulldogs shot at a 50 percent clip -- including a 45.8 percentage from behind the three-point line. The Eagles were just 4-of-24 behind the arc for 16.7 percent and were out-rebounded 56-35.

The Eagles had nine turnovers in the first seven minutes of the game and finished with 16 in the first half. Gonzaga took full advantage of those turnovers, as 24 of its 53 points came off turnovers as the Bulldogs led by 28 at intermission.

"It wasn't very good -- we turned the ball over 16 times in the first half," said Eastern head coach Kirk Earlywine of his team's performance. "They treated us like a little brother in the backyard, and I mean that as a credit to Gonzaga. Physically they were more aggressive than we were. That's the way I wanted us to be."

The Eagles jumped out to a quick 5-1 lead at the 18:12 mark after Mark Dunn connected on a long three-pointer, but the Bulldogs responded by going on two separate 13-0 runs to go into halftime with a 53-25 lead.

Eastern took better care of the ball in the second half, turning the ball over just two times for a total of 18 for the game.

The Eagles were led in scoring by freshman Glen Dean, who had 11 of his 13 points in the first half. Also in double figures for the Eagles was Dunn, who finished with 11 points and five rebounds.

Center Brandon Moore, playing in his 100th game for the Eagles, picked up two quick fouls in the first half and played just six minutes. Moore finished the night with a team-high nine rebounds in 23 total minutes, but failed to score a point by going 0-for-6 from the field and 0-of-3 from the free throw line.

 

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