Eastern successful in home opener under Hayford, as duo combines for 40 points, 19 rebounds and seven assists
Head coach Jim Hayford 1. Collin Chiverton and Cliff Ederaine 40.
Thanks to a combined 40 points by the pair of Eagles, Hayford won his first game as head men’s basketball coach at Eastern Washington University, as the Eagles roared past South Dakota 70-61 in the home opener for the Eagles Tuesday (Nov. 15) at Reese Court in Cheney, Wash.
“We’ll take it,” said Hayford. “I thought maybe the last 15 minutes of the first half and first 15 minutes of the second half were great. But those other ten minutes we let it get away from us a little.”
Chiverton, a transfer from City College of San Francisco, scored 25 points for the second-straight game, and also added five rebounds and a pair of assists. He made 9-of-21 shots from the field, including 6-of-13 3-pointers. He also scored 25 with six treys in Eastern’s season-opening 77-69 loss at Gonzaga.
Ederaine, a senior, finished with 15 points, 14 rebounds, five assists, two steals and a pair of blocked shots. He made all six of his field goals and 3-of-4 free throws.
“Cliff was bringing the energy that is necessary to win,” said Hayford of the 6-foot-7, 230-pound Ederaine. “He’s playing like a winner. These guys look at stats, and that will back up what we were telling him about effort. He had a great night. He was very disciplined with how he played against Gonzaga and he had the opportunity to go do something tonight -- he did a great job.”
Eastern led by as many as 17 points in the second half, as the Eagles evened its record at 1-1. South Dakota fell to 0-2.
South Dakota was 18-15 a year ago under veteran coach Dave Boots, who is now 483-198 in 23-plus seasons at the helm of the Coyotes. In fact, in the 1999-2000 season, Boots’ South Dakota squad knocked off Hayford’s University of Sioux Falls team 95-73. Hayford went on to finish 15-15 in his first season as a collegiate head coach, while the Coyotes finished 22-6.
“I’ll always remember my first win at Eastern was against South Dakota,” said Hayford. “It’s kind of poetic because my first head coaching job was in South Dakota.”
The Eagles play a total of seven games in November, including three in a seven-day span from Nov. 11 to Nov. 17. Eastern next plays the first of three games against teams from the Pac-12 Conference when it plays at Oregon on Thursday (Nov. 17).
No other Eagle scored in double figures against South Dakota, but senior Laron Griffin added seven points and seven rebounds. Point guard Cliff Colimon added four assists, four points and four steals in 19 minutes of action.
Both teams shot 40 percent from the floor, but Eastern managed to make three more 3-pointers (11-8) than the Coyotes of the Summit League. Eastern also had three more rebounds (40-37), and a 12-7 edge in offensive rebounds. Eastern also finished with just 10 turnovers compared to 15 for USD.
The game was tied at eight in the first half when five different Eagles scored in a 12-3 run to give EWU a 20-11 advantage. Later in the half, Ederaine and Chiverton each scored five points in a 10-0 run to give the Eagles a 38-22 advantage just before halftime.
The Eagles had just four turnovers in the first half while the Coyotes had 12.
A 3-pointer by Chiverton gave the Eagles a 45-28 lead with 16:59 left. A steal and layup by Ederaine maintained the lead at 17 with 11:37 left at 49-32. The closest South Dakota came after that was the final margin.
Hayford, who compiled a gaudy 217-57 (.792) record in 10 seasons at NCAA Division III Whitworth University in Spokane, inherited an EWU team that finished the 2010-11 season with a 10-20 record overall. The Eagles finished 7-9 and in a fifth-place tie with Montana State in the Big Sky Conference standings, advancing the Eagles to the Big Sky Conference Tournament for the first time in five years.
His first Eastern team features eight returning letterwinners, including six who combined to start 125 games a year ago. He also has available five newcomers, plus three players who will redshirt the 2011-12 season.