Eagles rally from 17-point deficit in the second half, but fall to 1-4 with 70-60 loss to Idaho
With a barrage of their own, Idaho spoiled a record-breaking day for Kevin Winford.
The Eastern Washington University sophomore guard made a school-record eight three-pointers, but Idaho scored the game's final 10 points for a 70-60 victory over the Eagles in a non-conference college basketball game Saturday afternoon (Nov. 27) at Reese Court in Cheney, Wash.
Winford had a career-high with 28 points as he made 8-of-16 treys, breaking the record for attempts as well. Eastern trailed by 17 in the second half, but rallied behind his hot-shooting to knot the game at 60. Idaho, which made 11 three-pointers compared to 10 for the Eagles, made a pair of treys to ignite its game-ending 10-0 run, with the other four points coming at the free throw line in the last 22 seconds.
"I was really happy and proud of our players," Eastern head coach Kirk Earlywine said of his team's comeback. "We were guarding, rebounding and making smart adjustments in our zone on the fly. Our guys were doing that on the floor without direction from the bench. That was encouraging."
Short-handed again, the Eagles played the game without point guards Glen Dean and Cliff Colimon, as well as forward Rashano McCrae. Colimon (ankle) and McCrae (concussion) suffered their injuries in practice, while Dean has a stress fracture in his foot and will be re-evaluated on Dec. 6.
Winford, a 2008 graduate of Bartlett High School in Anchorage, Alaska, broke the previous record of seven three-pointers set on 11 different occasions by five different Eagles. The latest was Marc Axton versus Gonzaga on Dec. 21, 2004, and the first was Greg Gaulding versus New Mexico on Feb. 1, 1987. Shannon Taylor had five of the performances during his two-year career from 1998-99.
Winford's previous career high for points was 20 set twice last season as a redshirt freshman.
"We started to figure out how to get a shot for Kevin," said Earlywine. "They figured out he had the hot hand and was making shots. That's not an easy thing to do when you don't have a point guard on the floor.
Sophomore guard Jeffrey Forbes, who like Winford played the entire game, added 10 points and five assists for the Eagles. Eastern is now 1-4 this season, and 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.
Idaho, which had made just 6-of-50 shots for a paltry 12 percent in its latest outing versus Montana, sank 42 percent against Eastern. The Vandals made 11-of-23 three-pointers, including five each by Deremy Geiger and Jeff Ledbetter. Geiger finished with 24 points and Ledbetter had 15, and they hit back-to-back threes after Eastern had knotted the score at 60 with 5:10 to play.
"We got a couple of pretty good looks at the basket and those shots didn't go in," explained Earlywine of the game-ending 10-0 run by Idaho. "I thought the biggest play of the game came after we tied the score at 60 and Ledbetter hit a really tough three for them. Credit that kid -- he's a heckuva shooter.
"On their next three we were in our zone on an out-of-bounds play, and our weak-side forward has one responsibility. And he didn't execute," he explained. "This was the first game we've played zone on our out-of-bounds play and hopefully it will be a learning experience and will never happen again."
"It gave them a little bit of a sigh of relief," Earlywine added. "Idaho didn't feel squeezed, I think, after that point."
Idaho took advantage of eight first-half turnovers by the Eagles to lead at intermission 37-30. Idaho made 14-of-29 shots from the field for 48 percent as they led by as many as 15 in the first half.
The Vandals opened the second half with a 10-0 run as they took a 47-30 lead with 17:22 left on a three-pointer by Ledbetter. Eastern scored its first points of the second half on the 16:55 mark on a trey by Winford. He would go on to score 17 second-half points after netting 11 in the first half.
"We found Kevin when he was open and found a way in some cases to screen for him and get him shots," added Earlywine. "A lot of times you're counting on your point guard to do that, and we don't have one at the moment."
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.