After shooting just seven free throws compared to 33 for Bears, Eastern's next chance to end 18-game road losing streak is rematch at Idaho State Saturday
The road losing streak was the least of the worries for the Eastern Washington University men's basketball team. Battling 33-7 disadvantage at the free throw line was at the top of the list.
Big Sky Conference leader Northern Colorado snapped a two-game losing streak as the Bears rallied from an eight-point halftime deficit to defeat the Eagles 63-53 Thursday (Feb. 3) at Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion in Greeley, Colo.
Eastern was whistled for 12 more fouls than Northern Colorado as the Bears made 28-of-33 in the game, including 19-of-22 in the second half. Eastern was 4-of-7 from the line in the game.
Junior guard Cliff Colimon led the Eagles with 17 points as EWU's road losing streak reached 18 games. The Eagles have lost all 12 road games this season, and fell to 4-6 in the league and 7-15 overall. The Bears, who were unbeaten in the league at 7-0 before losing its last two games, improved to 8-2 in the Big Sky -- tied for the lead with Montana -- and 12-9 overall.
On Saturday (Feb. 5), Eastern will get another chance to snap the streak when they play Idaho State at Holt Arena in Pocatello, Idaho, at 6:05 p.m. Pacific time. The Bengals will have not played since the Eagles defeated ISU 83-70 last Saturday (Jan. 29).
The radio broadcast of all Eastern games may be heard on 700-AM ESPN "The Ticket" and via the web at www.espnnorthwest.com, with veteran play-by-play broadcaster Dennis Patchin calling the action. All home games and other Big Sky Conference games may also be viewed free of charge at www.bigskytv.org.
Sophomore guard Kevin Winford chipped in 15 points for the Eagles, who were out-rebounded by 38-27 but had just 12 turnovers to 16 for the Bears. Eastern made 36 percent of its shots from the field, including 41 percent in the first half when it built a 28-20 advantage. Northern Colorado made 35 percent from the field, including 48 percent in the second half after making only 23 percent in the first half.
The Eagles took an early 9-2 lead, then led by as many as 10 points in the first half at 24-14. Winford (10) and Colimon (8) combined for 18 of Eastern's points in the first half.
In the second half, a three-pointer by Colimon with 14:28 left gave Eastern its biggest lead of the night at 39-27. But EWU went 3:39 without scoring and the 9-0 run pulled the Bears to within three.
Eastern regained a seven-point lead, but eight unanswered UNC points gave the Bears the lead -- for good. They closed the game by making their last 10 free throws.
Sophomore guard Glen Dean, Eastern's leading scorer with a 12.5 average, was held to three points on 1-of-8 shooting and finished with three assists and four turnovers. Devon Beitzel, who scored 23 points in a 75-73 UNC victory over the Eagles in Cheney, Wash., on Dec. 31, had 27 in the rematch. He made just 5-of-12 shots from the field, but sank 14-of-17 free throws.
While the Eagles are 0-12 on the road this season with an 18-game road losing streak dating back to last year, the Eagles have won seven of 10 games at Reese Court. The Eagles play four of their final seven games at home, including three league contests and a game versus Cal State Northridge on Feb. 19 at 7:05 p.m. Pacific time in the ESPN BracketBusters.