Eagles improve to 3-2 on the season as Cliff Ederaine has a huge game with career highs of 23 points and seven assists
You know Cliff Ederaine is going to have a big outing when the 6-foot-7 Eastern Washington University forward makes a 3-pointer.
The senior had career highs of 23 points and seven assists as the Eagles surged past UC Davis in the second half for a 79-59 non-conference college men's basketball victory Sunday (Nov. 27) at Reese Court in Cheney, Wash.
Ederaine was one of four Eagles to score in double figures, as the Eagles used a 19-1 run in the second half to turn a 46-all tie into a rout. Eastern made 60 percent of its shots in the second half en route to its best shooting night of the season at 48.1 percent. UC Davis was held to 35.4 percent shooting and had 17 turnovers.
"I thought in the second half we came and we were the aggressor," said first-year Eastern head coach Jim Hayford. "Our only chance is if we are the hunter. If we play like the hunted then we have no chance. We have to be more aggressive and I think that was the difference between the two halves.
"I was disappointed at halftime because I knew we could play harder," he added. "We just stood around too much."
Ederaine made 8-of-9 shots from the field, including his first trey of the season and only the second in 35 career games. A 45.6 percent free throw shooter a year ago, he made 6-of-9 for the line against the Aggies to make him 20-of-26 so far this season – 76.9 percent.
For add to his night, Ederaine also added eight rebounds, three blocked shots and a steal. In Eastern's other home game this season – a 70-61 win over South Dakota on Nov. 15, Ederaine had 15 points, 14 rebounds, five assists, two blocks and two steals.
One game ago in EWU's 89-72 upset at Hawaii on Nov. 19, Ederaine had 14 points in the second half. For the season, he is averaging 12.6 points, 7.4 rebounds and 3.4 assists while making 60 percent of his shots from the field.
"Ederaine has been our most consistent player for five games," said Hayford. "He's just had some big nights and played an amazing second half at Hawaii. We need to get him playing in the first half like he's been playing in the second half."
The Eagles, who have held second-half leads in all five of its games thus far, improved to 3-2 with the victory over the Aggies of the Big West Conference. UC Davis fell to 1-6 as it suffered a loss in the first-ever meeting on the basketball court between the two schools.
Eastern now plays a pair of foes on the Palouse, starting at Idaho from the Western Athletic Conference on Wednesday (Nov. 30), followed by a game at Washington State of the Pac-12 on Saturday (Dec. 3). The game versus the Vandals, who are 3-2 after a 76-67 win over Montana State on Saturday (Nov. 26), starts at 8:05 p.m. Pacific time at Memorial Gym. The WSU game starts at 3:35 p.m. at Beasley Coliseum.
Besides Ederaine, senior forward Tremayne Johnson came off the bench to score 13 points versus the Aggies – including 11 in the second half. Starting senior point guard Cliff Colimon finished with 13 points, five assists, four rebounds and three steals, and senior forward Laron Griffin added 11 points and three blocked shots.
Junior Colin Chiverton, Eastern's leading scorer with a 19.5 average and three 20-point outputs through EWU's first four games, chipped in seven for the Eagles.
Ederaine scored 11 points in the first 6:24 of the game as Eastern held early leads of 13-4 and 17-9. The Eagles led much of the first half before UC Davis took a 24-23 advantage at the 5:29 mark. Eastern led by as many as five before settling for a 31-29 lead at intermission.
"We were running stuff through the high post and big Cliff put the team on his shoulders," said Hayford of EWU's impressive start.
Eastern opened a seven-point lead early in the second half, but the Aggies rallied to knot it at 46-all at the 13:23 mark. The Eagles held UC Davis without a field goal for nearly eight minutes, as EWU opened a 65-47 lead with 6:39 remaining following its 19-1 run.
Five Eagles scored in the burst, including three-point plays by Ederaine and Johnson. Griffin scored four, Colimon made a pair of treys and Jeffrey Forbes capped the surge with a 3-pointer.
The closest UC Davis came after that was 14 points on two occasions, as EWU opened its biggest lead of the game with 1:40 left on a 3-pointer by Johnson.
The Aggies entered Sunday's game with an ambitious schedule under first-year head coach Jim Les, playing its first six games in a 12-day span. They lost on back-to-back-to-back nights against Southern Utah (76-75), Bryant (70-63) and San Diego State (89-74) to open the season.