February 24, 2012

Conventional Win Would Be Nice for Tourney-Bound EWU

After earning a spot in the Big Sky Conference Tournament with “duct tape and baling wire,” Eagles play Saturday at Portland State with chance to host first-round game

Complete Release in .PDF Format 

Upcoming Games

EWU at Portland State
Saturday, Feb. 25 - 7:05 p.m. Pacific
Stott Center (1,500) - Portland, Ore.

EWU versus Idaho State
Tuesday, Feb. 28 - 6:05 p.m. Pacific
Reese Court (6000) - Cheney, Wash.

EWU in Big Sky Conference Tournament (opponent TBA)
Saturday, March 3 - Time TBA
Location TBA (#3 & #4 host games)

 

Coaches Show

Mondays 6 p.m. at the Q Sports Bar and Restaurant at Northern Quest Resort & Casino. . . 700-AM ESPN, www.700espn.com & via iphone app. (search for “700 ESPN” and download app). Fans are invited to attend the show live and food service is available. Remaining live shows take place at the Q on 2/27, 3/5.

Coverage

TV: There is no TV for the Portland State game. Eastern's home game versus ISU on Feb. 28 will be televised live in the Spokane area and throughout Eastern Washington on SWX (SWX Digital 6.2 in Spokane, 25.3 in the Tri-Cities & 23.3 in the Yakima area; Comcast 115; Time Warner 306; Charter 287, Cable One 466).
Radio: (all EWU games) 700 ESPN "The Ticket" and via the web at http://www.700espn.com
Radio via iPhone App:
Search for “Spokane Radio” and download app
Webcasts:
(All home games and all Big Sky Conference games) http://www.bigskytv.org;
Live Stats:
(All EWU Home Games) CLICK HERE(PSU)

 


First-year head coach Jim Hayford would prefer a more conventional approach to winning the next time around.

His under-manned Eagles clinched a spot in the Big Sky Conference Tournament with a thrilling 85-78 win over Idaho State on Thursday (Feb. 23), and now play at Portland State (Feb. 25) at 7:05 p.m. Pacific time at the Stott Center in Portland, Ore.

The radio broadcast of Saturday’s game, featuring play-by-play announcer Dennis Patchin, may be heard on 700-AM ESPN, via the web at 700espn.com and via iPhone application (search for “700 ESPN” and download the free app).

With leading scorer Collin Chiverton playing just three minutes with a back injury suffered early in the game, EWU survived against ISU after three Eagles fouled out. Included were the team’s two point guards (Cliff Colimon and Kevin Winford), but EWU still managed to handle the pressure and sink 9-of-10 free throws in the final 41 seconds to hold-off the Bengals.

Coupled with Northern Colorado’s 88-71 loss to league-leading Weber State, the Eagles clinched a spot in the Big Sky Tournament for the 12th time in school history. Eastern, now 7-7 in the Big Sky and 13-15 overall, can still finish as high as third or as low as sixth in the league standings.

“We had to do that with duct tape and baling wire at the end,” explained Eastern head coach Jim Hayford. “We had no point guards out on the court and had some different people in press-break positions in a hostile environment. We overcame a lot of adversity, pulled through and won.”

Eastern had a season-high 33 points off the bench, including 21 by Colimon, who was ill and didn’t start. True freshman Parker Kelly made the first start of his career and helped replace some of the scoring lost with the absence of Chiverton. He responded by equaling his career-high with 17 points, making 5-of-7 3-pointers as EWU finished with 10 as a team. Kelly is averaging 13.3 points per game in EWU’s last four games.

“Parker made some big, big threes during the course of the game,” said Hayford of the 2011 graduate of Gonzaga Prep High School in Spokane, Wash. “He played very well.”

The victory means the Eagles will have a chance to host its first post-season playoff game since 2006 when the Eagles knocked off PSU in Cheney by an 81-75 score on March 4, 2006. Rodney Stuckey scored 38 points in that game – the second-most in the career of the current Detroit Piston and the sixth-best performance in school history.

But Saturday, Eastern will have to slow down another 38-point man. Charles Odum, the Big Sky’s second-leading scorer with a current average of 19.1 points per game, scored 38 in PSU’s 94-88 win over Sacramento State. That victory also wrapped-up a post-season berth for the Vikings, who are 8-6 in the league and 14-13 overall.

In the earlier meeting this season Jan. 21 in Cheney, Portland State prevailed 78-76 in overtime as Odum hit a game-winning 12-footer in the lane with two seconds left in overtime. The Vikings made a 3-pointer with 10 seconds remaining in regulation to help send the game into overtime, just after the Eagles missed free throws with 16 and 24 seconds to play that could have helped widen their lead to four and perhaps preserve the win.

The Eagles led 55-49 with six minutes left, but allowed the Vikings to go on an 8-0 lead and regain the lead. The game featured eight lead changes and 14 ties.

The Eagles return home to wrap-up the season against Idaho State on Tuesday (Feb. 28) at Reese Court in Cheney, Wash. Other key league games remaining include Saturday’s Sacramento State at ISU match-up, Monday’s Northern Arizona at Montana State game and next Tuesday’s Northern Colorado at PSU contest.

“I hope we can translate this win to our remaining home game,” Hayford said of the ISU triumph -- his team’s fourth win in seven league road games thus far. “Eastern was 2-14 on the road last year, so for us to have six this season (6-11) is great. If you want to be in the postseason, you have to get road wins and we have four in the conference this year. That’s fantastic – now let’s try to get five.”


PDF Link to Fact Book

The complete version of the 2011 EWU football fact book may be found at:
http://goeags.com/trads/ewas-factbooks.html

 

More Eagle Football Links and Headlines
Eastern Basketball -- http://goeags.com/sports/m-baskbl/index
Big Sky Conference Basketball -- http://www.bigskyconf.com/index.aspx?tab=basketball&path=mbball
NCAA Basketball -- http://www.ncaa.com/sports/m-baskbl/ncaa-m-baskbl-body.html
ESPN College Scoreboard -- http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/scoreboard
Rodney Stuckey NBA Page -- http://www.nba.com/playerfile/rodney_stuckey/index.html
More Information and Links are Available at: HTTP://WWW.GOEAGS.COM

 

GAME NOTES

With Two Games to Play, EWU Can Finish Anywhere from Third to Sixth

With an opportunity to place anywhere from third to sixth in the final Big Sky Conference standings, Eastern currently is fourth in the standings, tied with ISU at 7-7 and just behind PSU at 8-6. The Eagles and Bengals are just ahead of Montana State (6-8), Northern Colorado (5-10) and Sacramento State (4-11). Portland State’s win over Sac State eliminated the Hornets from the conference race.

 “We want to get a home game in the tournament, but we also have it in our hands to work really hard and get a winning record,” said Eastern head coach Jim Hayford, whose team is currently 13-15.

For EWU to finish third, the Eagles will have to beat PSU Saturday and Idaho State next Tuesday (Feb. 28) in the rematch in Cheney. If that happens, tiebreaker advantages go Eastern’s way versus the Vikings because of EWU’s season sweep over Montana State.

For EWU to clinch at least fourth and host a game, the Eagles will have to win at least one of their last two games. A loss to PSU and a win over ISU would give EWU fourth because of a season sweep over the Bengals. A win over PSU and loss to ISU would also require EWU to get some help in the form of a PSU loss to Northern Colorado AND an ISU loss to Sac State. That would force a three-way tie for third, resulting in PSU advancing (3-1 versus tied teams), EWU finishing fourth (2-2 versus tied teams) and ISU fifth (1-3 versus tied teams)

The Eagles could still finish as low as sixth if EWU drops its last two games and MSU wins its last two.

The Big Sky Conference Tournament is at campus sites on March 3 (No 3 seed and No. 4 seed host games). The site of the semifinal and championship games will most likely be decided on Feb. 28 when Weber State (14-1 in the league) plays at Montana (13-1 heading into Saturday’s home game versus Montana State), as those two teams are the only schools still in contention to win the regular season title and host status for the league’s “Final Four.”

 

Eagles 219th in RPI

In the Ratings Percentage Index lists released by the NCAA on Feb. 20, Eastern was ranked 219th out of 344 NCAA Division I schools. The only Big Sky teams ahead of the Eagles were Weber State (77th), Montana (98th) and Portland State (196th). After Eastern, which was a season-high 129th on Jan. 2, the next league schools were Idaho State (262nd), Northern Colorado (266th), Montana State (274th), Sacramento State (317th) and Northern Arizona (337th).

In the Sagarin Computer Ratings (through games of Feb. 23), the Eagles were fourth in the league and 203rd in the nation with the 199th-highest strength of schedule rating. Montana was 103rd, followed by Weber State (113th), Portland State (201st), Northern Colorado (251st), Montana State (291st), Sacramento State (292nd), Idaho State (294th) and Northern Arizona (332nd).

 

Eastern Will Make its 12th Appearance in the Big Sky Conference Tournament

Headed for its 12th postseason appearance in 25 years as a member of the Big Sky Conference, Eastern is now 7-10 in 11 previous entries in the league tournament. Last year’s appearance was EWU’s first in five seasons, having qualified for each tournament from 1998-2006. Eastern ended its season with losses to Montana in both 2005 and 2006, but the year before won the title with a 71-59 championship game victory over Northern Arizona.

Although its streak came to an end in the 2006-07 season, Eastern was just the fifth school in league history to make nine-straight appearances in the Big Sky Conference Tournament. Eastern started the streak back in 1998 after making just one trip to the tourney in their first 10 seasons as a member of the conference.

Weber State had its string of 24-straight appearances stopped in 2005-06, and Montana had a string of 21-straight from 1978-98. The other streaks were 16 by Idaho (1981-96) and 11 by Nevada (1982-92).

Interestingly, Montana’s 77-69 victory over the Lumberjacks on Feb. 28, 2005, extended Eastern’s streak and ended NAU’s eight-season streak. Eastern’s streak started in 1998 with an end-of-year victory at Montana. That “winner advance, loser eliminated” game ended Montana’s 21-year streak.

In 2011, Eastern’s season came to an end with a 79-70 loss at Weber State in the quarterfinal round of the tournament. That came just three days after the Eagles stunned WSU on their home court 75-59 to end the regular season. Because of the upset, the Wildcats lost their chance at a first-round bye and had to face the Eagles again. In the rematch, WSU out-scored EWU 46-25 in the second half as the Wildcats overcame a 12-point EWU halftime lead and a 15-point deficit early in the second half.

Here is a list of Eastern’s appearances in the Big Sky Tournament.
2011 - Quarterfinal (Ogden, Utah) - #6 seed vs. #3 Weber State - L, 70-79
2006 - Semifinal (Flagstaff, Ariz.) - #3 seed vs. #2 Montana - L, 71-73 (ot)
2006 - Quarterfinal (Cheney, Wash.) - #3 seed vs. #6 Portland State - W, 81-75
2005 - Quarterfinal (Missoula, Mont.) - #6 seed vs. #3 Montana - L, 48-58
2004 - Championship (Cheney, Wash.) - #1 seed vs. #2 Northern Ariz. - W, 71-59
2004 - Semifinals (Cheney, Wash.) - #1 seed vs. #5 Weber State - W, 72-53
2003 - Championship (Ogden, Utah) - #2 seed vs. #1 Weber State - L, 57-60
2003 - Semifinals (Ogden, Utah) - #2 seed vs. #4 Idaho State - W, 76-67
2002 - Championship (Bozeman, Mont.) - #2 seed vs. #5 Montana - L, 66-70
2002 - Semifinals (Bozeman, Mont.) - #2 seed vs. #3 Weber State - W, 62-57
2001 - Championship (Northridge, Calif.) - #2 seed vs. #1 CS Northridge - L, 58-73
2001 - Semifinals (Northridge, Calif.) - #2 seed vs. #5 Northern Arizona - W, 58-53
2000 - Semifinals (Missoula, Mont.) - #2 seed vs. #3 Northern Arizona - L, 65-82
1999 - Quarterfinals (Ogden, Utah) - #6 seed vs. #3 Portland State - L, 74-80
1998 - Quarterfinals (Flagstaff, Ariz.) - #3 seed vs. #6 CS Northridge - L, 98-104 (ot)
1990 - Championship (Boise, Idaho) - #2 seed vs. #1 Idaho - L, 62-65
1990 - Semifinals (Boise, Idaho) - #2 seed vs. #5 Weber State - W, 83-67

 

With Turnover Advantage in All But Three Games Thus Far, Eastern 13th Nationally in Turnover Margin

Eastern has had fewer turnovers than its opponents in 25 of 28 games thus far, with 440 turnovers forced and 328 committed. The result is a Big Sky-leading turnover margin of plus 4.0 per game to rank 13th in NCAA Division I through games of Feb. 23. Eastern is leading the league in turnovers forced at 15.7 per game and is also No. 2 in fewest committed with a current mark of 11.7 to rank 32nd in NCAA Division I through games of Feb. 23. In fact, EWU’s 11.8 average is on pace to shatter the school record from the 1999-2000 season when the Eagles committed only 13.5 per game.

In other Big Sky team statistics rankings, Eastern is second in the league in 3-pointers made with a current average of 9.3 per game to rank fourth nationally through games of Feb. 23 behind Florida 10.3, Coppin State 9.9 and Weber State 9.4. The Eagles also are first in the Big Sky in offensive rebounds (12.0 per game); second in steals (7.0); and third in scoring offense (72.8), assist-to-turnover ratio (+1.1) and blocked shots (3.6). The Eagles are last rebounds allowed per game (36.6); and second-to-last in field goal percentage (.409) and rebounding margin (-2.6).

Individually, Collin Chiverton is second in the league in 3-pointers made per game with an average of 3.0 to rank 13th in NCAA Division I through games of Feb. 23, fourth in scoring (15.5), ninth in 3-point percentage (.419) and sixth in free throw percentage (.797). Cliff Colimon is third in the Big Sky Conference in assists (5.0 per game), fifth in steals (1.7), seventh in assist-to-turnover ratio (+1.5), fifth in scoring (15.4), sixth in 3-pointers made per game (2.1), seventh in free throw percentage (.796) and third in minutes played (34.7). Cliff Ederaine is second in rebounding (7.6), 18th in scoring (10.7), 12th in field goal percentage (.493), fourth in blocked shots (1.3), 10th in assists (3.0), seventh in steals (1.3) and fourth in offensive rebounds (2.5). Laron Griffin is second in offensive rebounds (2.9), fifth overall in rebounding (6.4) and 11th in blocked shots (0.6). Tremayne Johnson is eighth in blocked shots (0.7).

In Big Sky Conference statistics from league games only, EWU leads in 3-pointers made per game (8.9) and offensive rebounds (11.9); and is last in rebounds allowed (36.4). Griffin is tied for the lead in offensive rebounds (3.0); Ederaine is second in overall rebounds (8.4) and blocked shots (1.6); and Colimon is third in scoring (17.1) and assists (4.6), and second in minutes played (36.4). Parker Kelly is third in 3-point field goal percentage (.500) and Chiverton is third in 3-pointers made per game (2.5).

 

School Records Fall as Eagles Lead Big Sky and are Fourth in NCAA Division I in 3-Point Shooting

En route to setting school records for 3-pointers made and attempted, the Eagles are currently second in the league in 3-pointers made with a current average of 9.3 per game to rank fourth in NCAA Division I through games of Feb. 23 behind Florida 10.3, Coppin State 9.9 and Weber State 9.4. Eastern has made 260-of-714 for 36.4 percent (fourth-best in the league). For Eastern to score the same amount of points from inside the arc with the same amount of shots, the Eagles would have to make 54.6 percent.

Eight different Eagles have made treys, led by the 85 of junior college transfer Collin Chiverton and 59 by point guard Cliff Colimon. Chiverton’s average of 3.1 per game is second in the league and 13th nationally through games of Feb. 23.

Based on the 31-game season, Eastern is on pace to finish 287-of-790 and continue to distance itself from the previous school records for makes and attempts (242, 656). Chiverton already ranks second in school history for treys made in a season, with the record of 103 set by Shannon Taylor in the 1998-99 season. Chiverton is on pace to finish with 94.

The Eagles finished the 2010-11 season with a pair of school records for 3-point shooting. Eastern finished with 242 makes and 656 attempts, breaking the single season makes record of 241 set in 1999, and the record for attempts of 649 set the same season. Kevin Winford made 66 3-pointers in the 2010-11 season to rank fifth (now sixth) in single season school history, and his 187 attempts were fourth (now fifth). Jeffrey Forbes made 55 treys to rank 11th (now 13th).

“We’re confident with our system that we are going to get the 3-point shot no matter who we play,” said Eastern head coach Jim Hayford after Eastern made 13 treys in a 73-66 win over Idaho on Nov. 30. “We are not always going to shoot the percentage we like, but we got 28 looks from three against Idaho and that’s right around where we’ve been. There are times where we might have five 3-point shooters or four on the floor at the same time, and we start the game with only three. (Idaho’s Memorial Gym) was an easy gym to shoot in because it’s small, and I think our players bought into it. So we shot the ball well. And hitting 13 threes – eight in the first half – kind of takes them out of the defense they want to play.”

 

Chiverton a Candidate for Big Sky Newcomer of the Year Accolades

Junior college transfer Collin Chiverton has made a good case for Big Sky Conference Newcomer of the Year accolades, as he has had 12 20-point performances as an Eagle – including five-straight games from Jan. 12-26. Chiverton is second in the league in 3-pointers made per game with an average of 3.0 to rank fifth in NCAA Division I through games of Feb. 23, fourth in scoring (15.5), ninth in 3-point percentage (.419) and sixth in free throw percentage (.797).  

However, an off-season stress fracture in his foot was reinjured over the Christmas break, and the 6-foot-6 Chiverton has been hampered ever since. In fact, it was painful enough to limit him to 10 minutes, six shots and four points in the first half against Northern Colorado on Feb. 15. Eastern trailed 43-29 at halftime, but rallied for a 79-76 win, as Chiverton made 4-of-6 shots and scored 14 points after intermission to finish with 19 points in 21 minutes. He followed that with 20 points in 26 minutes at UC Irvine on Feb. 18. A back injury suffered early in the game against Idaho State on Feb. 23 held him to three minutes of playing time.

He didn’t play in the first half against NAU on Jan. 7, but scored 12 points in the second half – including EWU’s first 10 of the half to give the Eagles the lead for good in the 76-59 win. He followed that with 21 points in just 25 minutes of action versus Sacramento State on Jan. 12, 21 in 18 minutes versus Northern Colorado on Jan. 14 and 26 in 26 minutes at Seattle on Jan. 16. Thus, in those four games, he scored nearly a point a minute – 80 in 83 minutes – while making 19-of-34 (56 percent) from the 3-point arc.

He followed that by playing 37 minutes against Portland State on Jan. 21, and scored 22 points on 4-of-11 shooting from the 3-point stripe and 7-of-21 overall. His fifth-straight 20-point performance came versus Montana on Jan. 26 when he made 5-of-10 shots overall and 4-of-6 from the 3-point stripe, as well as 8-of-12 free throws.

“It’s an injury that the doctor says he can play through, but with a tremendous amount of pain,” Eastern head coach Jim Hayford explained after the NAU win. “So you have to respect him as a teammate in that he’ll do whatever he can to play. We’re trying to get him as much rest as we can. He had 10 points in his first four minutes, but he also did a great job guarding (NAU guard Stallon) Saldivar.”

For the season, Chiverton is 85-of-203 from the 3-point stripe for 41.9 percent and 58-of-175 inside the arc for 33.1 percent. His 85 3-pointers are second in school history and his 203 attempts are third. He made 6-of-8 treys and 1-of-2 2-point attempts en route to scoring 21 points versus Sac State on Jan. 12, and versus Pacific Lutheran on Dec. 16 he made 6-of-9 2-point attempts and 4-of-10 treys en route to scoring 26 points.

Chiverton opened his Eastern career in a big way, scoring 25 points in Eastern’s 77-69 loss at Gonzaga on Nov. 11. A former redshirt at GU rival Saint Mary’s in California, Chiverton made 6-of-12 shots from the 3-point arc and 8-of-24 shots from the field against Gonzaga. He scored 25 again in EWU’s 70-61 win over South Dakota, making 9-of-21 shots overall and 6-of-13 from the 3-point arc. He added a third 20-point performance with 20 points in EWU’s 89-72 upset of Hawai’i on Nov. 19.

Chiverton’s debut versus GU was the best for an Eagle since Eastern moved to NCAA Division I in the 1983-84 season. The previous best came a year ago when Chiverton’s Eastern teammate Tremayne Johnson scored 21 in a 67-60 loss at San Jose State. Interestingly, current Detroit Piston Rodney Stuckey scored only 14 points in his debut against Pacific Lutheran in the 2005-06 season. Chiverton’s scoring output was also the second-best season-opening performance by an Eagle since David Peed scored 29 points on Nov. 25, 1989, in EWU’s 96-84 loss to BYU.

After leaving Saint Mary’s – a team he scored 18 against on Dec. 20 -- Chiverton played one season at Salt Lake Community College before leading City College of San Francisco to the 2010-11 California Community Colleges Athletic Association title. He averaged 19 points per game as a sophomore, including an average of 30 per game in the tournament, as San Francisco finished the season 32-1 with a 27-game winning streak.

 

Colimon Impressive in Eastern Victories

Senior point guard Cliff Colimon has been impressive in Eastern victories, including his near triple-double versus Northern Colorado on Feb. 15 when he had 22 points, nine assists and nine rebounds in EWU’s come-from-behind 79-76 win. One league game later, he scored 21 points with six rebounds and three assists in EWU’s 85-78 win at Idaho State on Feb. 23. He also had a 22-point effort on 8-of-16 shooting from the field in EWU’s Big Sky Conference-opening 82-66 victory over Montana State on Dec. 28.

He has scored at least 20 points on 10 occasions this season, including four of his last five outings. In Eastern’s victories this season, Colimon is averaging 17.0 points per game on 43.4 percent shooting from the field (31-of-76 from the 3-point arc for 40.8 percent). In EWU’s losses, he is averaging 14.0 points on 35.0 percent shooting from the field (28-of-82 3-point shooting for 34.1 percent).

For the season, Colimon is third in the Big Sky Conference in assists (5.0 per game), fifth in steals (1.7), seventh in assist-to-turnover ratio (+1.5), fifth in scoring (15.4), sixth in 3-pointers made per game (2.1), seventh in free throw percentage (.796) and third in minutes played (34.7). In Big Sky Conference statistics from league games only, Colimon is third in scoring (17.1) and assists (4.6), and second in minutes played (36.4). His 59 3-pointers made this season rank eighth in school history and his 158 attempts are 10th.

Colimon struggled with his shot in Eastern losses to Saint Mary’s (77-61 on Dec. 20), UCLA (60-47 on Dec. 14) and Washington State (75-49 on Dec. 3). He was just 4-of-33 (12.1 percent) from the field in those three games, including only 2-of-13 (15.4 percent) of his 3-point attempts.

But it’s hard to put up better numbers than what Colimon compiled in a victory over Linfield (104-54 on Dec. 8) and a loss to Cal State Fullerton (91-76 on Dec. 11). In 72 minutes of action, Colimon had 46 points, 15 assists, 10 rebounds, six steals and just one turnover. He combined to make 18-of-34 shots from the field and 7-of-16 from 3-point range en route to scoring 23 points in each outing.

Colimon followed that with five assists, two steals and two turnovers in 40 minutes versus UCLA, but scored just five points on 1-of-12 shooting. Two nights later versus PLU, he made 8-of-12 shots from the field, 4-of-6 3-pointers and 6-of-9 free throws to finish with a season-high 26 points – one from his career high. He also added seven assists and three steals, but also had an uncharacteristic seven turnovers.

In Eastern’s 104-54 win over Linfield on Dec. 8, Colimon scored 23 points and had three steals and a career-high 11 assists to equal the seventh-most in school history. It was Eastern’s top assist performance in more than 10 years since Jason Lewis had 12 versus Cal State Northridge on Jan. 20, 2001. Colimon also had no turnovers in 32 minutes of action.

Head coach Jim Hayford said it best after the Linfield game: “I loved Colimon’s line – 11 assists, 23 points and no turnovers.”

“We stopped calling him Little Cliff – his name is ‘Tough Cliff’ now,” Hayford said in reference to the nickname given to Colimon and the “Big Cliff” moniker given to forward Cliff Ederaine. “Colimon was hurt more than anybody by his performance at Washington State – he had a tough night down there. Hopefully the confidence he gained against Linfield will be fuel in his tank.”

He scored 17 points and had eight assists in his season-opener against Gonzaga on Nov. 11. The eight assists versus the Bulldogs was his career high until the output of 11 versus Linfield. His assists total against Gonzaga doubled his previous career high of four set last season against Idaho State (1/29/11) and Sacramento State (12/29/10).

Colimon’s career high of 27 points came in the final game of the 2010-11 season against Weber State (3/5/11) in the Big Sky Conference Tournament. In fact, in his last three games last season and first game this year, Colimon averaged 18.5 points per game, including victories over Montana (59-55) and Weber State (75-59), and near-misses versus Weber State (79-70) and Gonzaga (77-69).

 

Eagles Flexing Their Muscles Inside

With Eastern’s shooting percentage from the perimeter suffering at various times in the league season, Eastern has re-established an inside presence. In a 69-52 win over Montana State on Jan. 28, Eastern had a season-high 40 points inside the paint, second only overall to the 44 the Eagles had versus Linfield on Dec. 8. The previous most versus a NCAA foe was on Dec. 28 when the Eagles had 26 against MSU in an 82-66 victory in Bozeman. The Eagles also had 32 inside the paint versus Sacramento State on Feb. 4.

A trio of seniors 6-foot-7 or taller paved the way for the most recent win over MSU, combining for 40 points and 30 rebounds. Laron Griffin (6-8) had a double-double with 12 points and 14 rebounds; Cliff Ederaine (6-7) had 17 points, eight rebounds and three assists; and Tremayne Johnson (6-7) came off the bench to score 11 points and grab eight boards. In the next game, a 74-68 road win at Northern Arizona, Ederaine had a double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds; Griffin had seven rebounds and five points; and Johnson had six points and three boards. Collectively, they made 12-of-18 free throws versus the Lumberjacks.

“One of the things that we were really working on is that if we want to get the ball inside we need to get higher percentage shots and we need to shoot more free throws,” said Hayford after the MSU rematch. “We knew our team was progressing and we needed to develop some sort of low post presence in order to get better as a team.

“It doesn’t feel like there are that many nights where the other team’s big guys are the same size as ours,” Hayford said of his big men. “So it was neat for us to flex our muscles down low.”

In Big Sky Conference statistics, Ederaine is second in rebounding (7.6), 18th in scoring (10.7), 12th in field goal percentage (.493), fourth in blocked shots (1.3), 10th in assists (3.0), seventh in steals (1.3) and fourth in offensive rebounds (2.5). Griffin is second in offensive rebounds (2.9), fifth overall in rebounding (6.4) and 11th in blocked shots (0.6). Johnson is eighth in blocked shots (0.7). In statistics from league games only, Griffin is tied for the lead in offensive rebounds (3.0) and Ederaine is second in overall rebounds (8.4) and blocked shots (1.6).

Ederaine has had six double-doubles this season – three in his last eight games – and has had seven in his career. He had 15 points and 18 rebounds (fourth-most in school history) against Sacramento State on Feb. 4, and had 11 points and 13 boards one game earlier versus Northern Arizona on Feb. 2. He also had six assists in each game. His other double-doubles this season included 10 points and 13 boards against Montana on Jan. 26, 12 points and 12 rebounds versus  Northern Colorado on Jan. 14 and 11 points and 11 rebounds against Linfield on Dec. 8.

Griffin had his lone double-double this season against MSU and now has four in his career, and has had four performances with at least 10 rebounds this year and 10 in his career. Johnson has had four double-doubles in his career, including two this year versus Portland State (20 points, 10 rebounds on Jan. 21) and Montana (14 points and 10 rebounds on Dec. 30).

After leading Eastern to a pair of late November victories, Ederaine was selected as Big Sky Conference Player of the Week, the league announced Nov. 29. The 6-foot-7, 205-pound senior forward from Moreno Valley, Calif., averaged 20.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists and two blocks per game as the Eagles notched a road win over Hawai’i (89-72) on Nov. 22, and topped UC Davis (79-59) on Nov. 27 in Cheney.

He had a splendid outing in a 76-69 loss to Weber State on Jan. 5, finishing with 20 points, nine rebounds, five assists, a career-high five steals and a pair of blocked shots. He had no turnovers in 34 minutes after having five in 23 minutes in EWU’s previous game, a 79-71 loss at Montana.

“Big Cliff played a great game -- he was the best big man on the court,” said Eastern head coach Jim Hayford after the Weber State game. “We were able to run the offense through him. He felt bad about the turnovers in Missoula so I asked him what he was going to do about that the next game. He really worked hard tonight.”

En route to a career-high 23 points versus UC Davis, Ederaine made 8-of-9 shots from the field, including his first trey of the season and only the second of his career. A 45.6 percent free throw shooter a year ago, he made 6-of-9 for the line against the Aggies to improve to 20-of-26 – 76.9 percent (currently he is at 61.9 percent, 83-of-134).

To add to his night, Ederaine also had eight rebounds, three blocked shots and a steal. Ederaine scored 11 points in the first 6:24 of the game as Eastern held early leads of 13-4 and 17-9. He had 11 points, five boards and five assists in the second half alone. “We were running our offense through the high post and Big Cliff put the team on his shoulders,” said Eastern head coach Jim Hayford.

In another 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. In the team’s third home game on Dec. 8 versus Linfield, he had his third career double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds, and also had six assists.

His performance against South Dakota was his second career double-double, with his first coming against New Hope last year when he had 12 points and 17 rebounds, as well as his previous career high for assists with four. He had 10 double figure scoring performance and seven with at least 10 rebounds in the 2010-11 season.

 

Eagles Continue to Climb Three-Point Career and Single Season Lists

A pair of Eagles already rank in the top 10 on several Eastern season and career lists. Junior Jeffrey Forbes has 137 3-pointers made in his career to rank fourth and his 363 attempts are fourth. Fellow junior Kevin Winford has 109 makes to rank sixth and his 322 attempts are fifth, and Cliff Colimon has 107 makes to rank sixth and 286 attempts to rank ninth.

Those players have also been impressive from the free throw line in their careers. Forbes, in fact, set a single season school record for free throw percentage (.900, 54-of-60) in the 2010-11 season, just ahead of the previous record of .899 set by Darren Cooper in 2001-02). In his career, Forbes has made what would be a school record at 87.7 percent (135-of-154), but he is 22 attempts shy to meet the minimum of two free throw attempts per game. Winford’s 84.3 percent (59-of-70) is also just behind the school record, but he also does not meet the minimums (he has 70 and would need 168). Currently with the school record is the 84.9 percent performance of Eastern Athletics Hall of Fame member Dick Edwards (1953-55). Colimon has made 77.4 percent in his career (120-of-155) and is inching toward the No. 10 position (79.0 percent).

 

Blocked Shots Totals High Too

With 120 blocked shots for the 2010-11 season, Eastern finished only 10 blocked shots away from the school record of 130 set in 2006. Currently, the Eagles have 100 and are on pace to finish with 110 based on a 30-game season.

A trio of current Eastern players have recorded four of the top 12 single season performances in school history including Cliff Ederaine, with 36 this season to rank third. Last year’s performers on the list included Tremayne Johnson (35, now fourth), Ederaine (34, now tied for fifth) and Laron Griffin (28, now tied for 12th).

In their careers thus far, Ederaine ranks fourth in school history with 70, Griffin is fifth with 64 and Johnson is seventh with 55.

 

True Freshman Walk-On Parker Kelly Has Career-High 17 Twice, Plus Game-Winner Versus UNC

Walk-on guard Parker Kelly, a true freshman out of Gonzaga Prep in Spokane, Wash., is getting significant minutes as he continues to adjust to the college game. Kelly is averaging 13.3 points per game in EWU’s last four games, including two with 17 and one in which he hit a game-winning 3-pointer with 14 seconds to play.

His is averaging 18.2 minutes in conference play and 14.7 minutes per game overall. He is averaging 6.6 points in the league on 23-of-46 shooting from the 3-point arc (50 percent to rank second in the Big Sky in league games only), and has made 15-of-17 free throws (88 percent). Overall, he is averaging 4.9 points and has made 45 percent of his 3-point attempts (30-of-67) and 91 percent of his free throws (19-of-21).

In an 85-78 win at Idaho State on Feb. 23, Kelly made the first start of his career and helped replace some of the scoring lost with the absence of injured leading scorer Collin Chiverton. He responded by equaling his career-high with 17 points, making 5-of-7 3-pointers as EWU finished with 10 as a team.  “Parker made some big, big threes during the course of the game,” said Eastern head coach Jim Hayford of the 2011 graduate of Gonzaga Prep High School in Spokane, Wash. “He played very well.”

He scored 11 points in a 78-73 loss at UC Irvine in the ESPN BracketBusters on Feb. 18. One game earlier versus Northern Colorado, he scored nine second-half points on a trio of 3-pointers, including a game-winning trey with 14 seconds left in the come-from-behind 79-76 victory.

In the game before that, Kelly scored a career-high 17 points in EWU’s 84-75 loss at Weber State on Feb. 11. Kelly, whose previous high was 12 on two occasions, made 6-of-10 shots from the field, including 5-of-8 from the 3-point arc versus the Wildcats. “Parker Kelly played a heckuva basketball game -- I’m so proud of him,” Eastern head coach Jim Hayford said.

Earlier in the league season, Kelly equaled his season high with 12 points against Northern Colorado on Jan. 14, and had eight points in 21 minutes in EWU’s 69-52 victory over Montana State on Jan. 28. He followed that with 11 second-half points against Northern Arizona on Feb. 2, as the Eagles rallied from an eight-point second-half deficit to win 74-68. Down the stretch, Kelly made a basket with 4:06 remaining to put the Eagles up by seven, then made a trey with 1:18 to play to enable EWU to maintain a six-point advantage. He then knocked down 4-of-4 free throws in the final 51 seconds to ice the win for the Eagles.

“I was pleased with the job that Parker was doing,” Hayford said after the MSU rematch. “Parker has great character, he’s a solid person and that’s what he keeps showing over time. I’m really proud of how he is playing. We don’t have a lot of depth so there is a walk-on freshman playing 21 minutes in a big game -- so great job Parker.

“The player that came up with the most clutch plays was our only true freshman on the team,” praised Hayford after the NAU game. “Parker hit a big clutch shot with the shot clock going down and then made those big free throws. He had a lot of courage tonight.”

Kelly helped Gonzaga Prep accumulate a 73-11 overall record and 45-5 league mark in three seasons. He helped lead the Bullpups to the 2011 State 4A Championship, as they were 23-3 after finishing the Greater Spokane League season with a 14-2 record. Kelly scored 24 points in the State title game and earned second-team All-State Tournament honors. Also selected to play in the All-State Game, Kelly averaged more than 18 points per game as a senior en route to earning first team All-Greater Spokane League honors.

His father, Terry, had his No. 44 basketball jersey retired by Gonzaga Prep, as he averaged 26.2 points per game his senior year in 1976 to lead the Spokane City League in scoring. He was the league’s player of the year after leading the Bullpups to a third-place finish at the State AAA Tournament. He went on to Washington State University where he started 80 straight games at one stretch and led the Cougars to the 1980 NCAA tournament.

 

Tongue-Lashing Keeps Winford Out of UCLA and PLU Games

In a tongue-lashing of a rare kind, junior guard Kevin Winford had to sit out the UCLA game on Dec. 14 and the Pacific Lutheran game two days later because of a swollen tongue. Winford bit his tongue in EWU’s game at Cal State Fullerton on Dec. 11, then spent two days in a California hospital – some of it in intensive care -- because of an inordinate degree of swelling. He returning to play sparingly – just one minute -- against Saint Mary’s on Dec. 20.

Because he is Eastern’s backup point guard, starter Cliff Colimon was forced to play all 40 minutes against UCLA because of the absence of Winford. A 2008 graduate of Bartlett High School in Anchorage, Alaska, Winford is only averaging 11.1 minutes per game this season, and is averaging 1.9 points per game on 9-of-31 shooting from beyond the 3-point arc. But the 5-foot-11 academic All-America nominee provided the play of the game in Eastern’s 104-54 victory over Linfield on Dec. 8.

 “The best play of the night was Kevin’s drive and dunk down the lane – that was pretty emphatic,” Eastern head coach Jim Hayford said. “He’s a very athletic player and we want him to show it. That was an example of it. He’s just a great young man – a tremendous student and a great leader. He’s a business major, and some business will be really glad to hire him some day. I just think the world of him. I promise you he’ll be showing his grandkids that dunk someday.”

Winford poured in 39 points -- including a school-record 10 3-pointers -- in Eastern’s overwhelming 112-41 non-conference victory over New Hope Christian College on Dec. 4. En route to the fifth-best scoring night in school history against New Hope, Winford broke the school record of nine treys he set just a week earlier against Idaho on Nov. 27. As a team, the Eagles broke the school record for made 3-pointers (18) and three pointers attempted (43), and tied the mark for field goals made in a game with 45. Previous records were 16 3-pointers versus Cascade on Dec. 14, 2007; 38 attempts versus Nevada on Feb. 14, 1991; and 45 field goals made against U.S. International on Feb. 2, 1991.

Winford’s 23 three-point attempts were also a Big Sky Conference record, breaking the previous mark of 17 set by Nevada’s Kevin Franklin against Oregon on Dec. 16, 1989. His makes were third-most, with Portland State’s Brian Towne owning the record with 12 in a 1998 game against Idaho State. As a team, Eastern was two made 3-pointers from the Big Sky record of 20, but its 43 attempts were a record.

 

Hayford’s First Eastern Win Has South Dakota Connections

Coming full circle, Jim Hayford’s first win as Eastern Washington’s head coach came in a 70-61 win on Nov. 15 over South Dakota. South Dakota was directed by veteran head coach Dave Boots, who has won nearly 500 games 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.”

 
 

SERIES HISTORY

EWU-PSU Series History

Since Eastern became a member of NCAA Division I in the 1983-84 season, the Eagles are now 17-16 versus the Vikings. All of the meetings have come since 1997 when PSU joined the Big Sky Conference, and Eastern is 11-6 in Cheney and 6-9 against PSU in Portland (0-1 on neutral courts) since 1983-84. The Vikings, who won 78-76 in overtime earlier in the 2011-12 season in Cheney, has an 19-18 edge in the overall series, with EWU owning a 12-7 record in Cheney and 6-11 mark in Portland (0-1 on neutral courts) against the Vikings.

Despite losing seven of the last eight meetings, the Eagles have still won 15 of the last 26 meetings. With a 65-61 home victory on Jan. 27, 2011, Eastern snapped a six-game losing streak to the Vikings. Before that, the last Eastern win in the series was a 58-57 home win over the Vikings on Dec. 22, 2007. Prior to that, Eastern had won five of the last six meetings.

 

EWU-Idaho State Series History

Since Eastern became a member of NCAA Division I in the 1983-84 season, the Eagles are 33-26 against the Bengals, including a 22-7 record in Cheney and 10-18 mark in Pocatello (1-1 on neutral courts). Eastern has won the last eight meetings in Cheney, dating back to a 65-63 Bengal win at EWU on March 1, 2003.

The Eagles have won four consecutive games in the series following an 85-78 win at ISU on Feb. 23, 2012. Eastern has won 22 of the past 31 meetings against the Bengals, including a sweep in the 2010-11 season when both meetings took place within eight days of each other. The Eagles won 83-70 in Cheney on Jan. 29, 2011, and then were victorious 69-67 in Pocatello on Feb. 5, 2011. Eastern also recorded season sweeps in the 2001-02, 2004-05 and 2005-06 seasons.

Idaho State swept the Eagles in the regular season in 2002-03, but Eastern won the third meeting by a 76-67 score in the semifinals of the Big Sky Conference Tournament. In the 2009-10 season, Eastern lost at Idaho State 80-74 but won 79-71 in Cheney where the season ended for both teams.

Eastern, which lost eight-straight games to ISU from 1993 to 1997, leads in the all-time series 36-27 (24-6 in Cheney, 11-20 in Pocatello, 1-1 neutral).

 
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