Entering the new year 1-1 in the Big Sky, Eastern opens road trip with game at defending champion and preseason pick Montana
Thursday, Jan. 3 - Dahlberg Arena (7,321) - Missoula,
6:05 p.m. - Eastern Washington (3-9/1-1) at Montana (6-4/2-0)
Saturday, Jan. 5 - Worthington Arena (7,250) - Bozeman,
6:05 p.m. - Eastern Washington at Montana State (3-7/0-2 entering 1/3 game)
Tuesdays at 6 p.m. at The Swinging Doors in North Spokane . . .
700-AM ESPN, www.700espn.com & via iphone app. (search for
“Spokane Radio” and download app). Shows are each
Tuesday from Jan. 8 to March 12 (NOTE: no show on
Jan. 1), and feature head coach Jim Hayford and
host Larry Weir. The Swinging Doors is located at
W. 1018 Francis in Spokane.
Radio: All Eastern games are on 700-AM ESPN in Spokane. Larry Weir returns for his 20th season calling the play-by-play, starting 20 minutes prior to tipoff.
Internet Radio: www.700espn.com or www.tunein.com
Radio iPhone App: Search for “Spokane Radio” and download app. An app is also available for tunein radio.
Live Stats: ewulive.statb.us (web/EWU Home Games) or ewustats.com (mobile phones/EWU Home Games) . . . MONTANA GAME . . . MONTANA STATE GAME
The new year starts with a toughie.
The Eastern Washington University men’s basketball team plays its first game in nearly two weeks when the Eagles take on the Montana Grizzlies this Thursday (Dec. 3) at 6:05 p.m. Pacific time at Dahlberg Arena in Missoula, Mont. The following Saturday (Dec. 5), the Eagles are in Bozeman to face Montana State, also at 6:05 p.m.
The radio broadcast of all Eastern games is on 700-AM ESPN, via the web at www.700espn.com and via iPhone application (search for “700 ESPN” and download the free app). The broadcast is also available via www.tunein.com and tunein’s mobile phone app. Larry Weir returns for his 20th year as the play-by-play voice of the Eagles.
Eastern hasn’t played since beating Idaho State 57-54 on Dec. 22 to even its Big Sky Conference record at 1-1 and improve EWU’s overall mark to 3-9. Most importantly, the extended break allowed the youthful Eagles to get more practice time.
“We have 12 practices between games, and we have them coming off a win,” said Eastern head coach Jim Hayford. “Our team is making great improvement, and we needed time on the practice floor to improve and fix who we are. Now we look ahead and face one of the two toughest road games on the schedule. We have a tough road trip ahead of us, but I do know our team is getting better and will embrace the challenge.”
The Idaho State win snapped EWU’s four-game losing streak, including a league-opening 74-53 loss to Weber State. The Wildcats were picked to finish second in the league standings behind Montana, which defeated EWU in the semifinals (74-66) and Weber State in the championship game (85-66) of the 2012 league tournament.
A year ago, the Eagles were swept in three games by Montana, but won both meetings against the Bobcats. The Grizzlies enter Thursday’s game with a 6-4 record overall and perfect 2-0 Big Sky Conference mark, while MSU is 3-7 overall and 0-2 in the league.
Hayford liked glimpses of what he saw from the Eagles in the opening weekend of conference play, but now hopes to see more of it. His regular rotation of players includes a trio of true freshmen and a pair of sophomores.
“That’s part of having a young team – you can see during a 40-minute game stretches of 15, 25 and 30 minutes of just how good they can be,” he explained. “They are playing hard – harder than they’ve ever played. But they are also playing against upper classmen who have already figured out how hard you have to play, and we’re getting our team to that level. The neat thing is that our players recognize that and are all-in to be the very best they can be. I think we will continue to make marked improvement each week of the conference season.”
The Eagles and Grizzlies have Idaho as a common opponent – The Grizzlies won at Idaho 66-63 on Nov. 17, and EWU lost to the Vandals 81-79 at home in overtime on Dec. 6. Eastern and Montana State have also played one common opponent – MSU opened the season with an 87-72 loss at Seattle on Nov. 11 and EWU fell at home to the Redhawks by a 75-69 score on Dec. 10.
Following this week’s games, Eastern returns to Reese Court to host Northern Arizona on Jan. 10 and Sacramento State on Jan. 12 in a pair of games that start at 6:05 p.m. Pacific time.
PDF Link to Fact Book
The complete version of the 2012 EWU men’s basketball fact
book may be found at:
More Eagle Basketball Links
Eastern Basketball -- http://goeags.com/sports/m-baskbl/index
Link to Ticket Information: http://goeags.com/newtickets/tickets.html
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
* The Eagles are leading NCAA Division I in 3-pointers made per game (9.8) while attempting an average of 28.1 per game. Last year, when EWU set school records with 283 makes and 793 attempts, Eastern averaged 8.8 made treys per game on an average of 24.8 attempts.
* The 54 points the Eagles allowed in a three-point win over Idaho State on Dec. 22 were the fewest they surrendered by 16 – the previous best for the Eagles came in a 75-70 win over South Carolina-Upstate on Nov. 21. Eastern held the Bengals to 37.9 percent shooting from the field, which was EWU’s best defensive effort of the season. The previous best was a 38.1 percent effort versus Cal State Fullerton.
* True freshman forward Venky Jois from Boronia, Australia, has had six double-doubles this season to rank 14th in NCAA Division I (through games of Dec. 30). He had 13 points, 12 rebounds and three blocked shots in his most recent outing versus Idaho State in a 57-54 Eagle win on Dec. 22. That came two days after he scored 21 points with five rebounds in EWU’s league opener versus Weber State. He had his best game as an Eagle with 22 points and 13 rebounds on 10-of-14 shooting against Cal State Fullerton in EWU’s 79-75 win on Nov. 30 to earn Big Sky Conference Player of the Week honors. For the season Jois is averaging 34.6 minutes, 13.6 points, 9.4 rebounds, 1.7 blocked shots, 1.2 steals and 1.2 assists per game. He leads the league in rebounding and ranks 35th in NCAA Division I (through Dec. 30). Earlier in the season, he was selected to the All-Tournament Team for his performances in the 2012 College Basketball Experience (CBE) Hall of Fame Classic in Santa Clara, Calif. He had a pair of double-doubles with 19 points and 11 rebounds in EWU’s 75-70 win over South Carolina Upstate and 16 points and 11 boards one game earlier in an 86-83 loss to Utah Valley. Jois came to Eastern after winning a pair of MVP awards in Australia. He was the Bob Staunton 2012 U-20 National Championship MVP, after leading the Victoria State Team to the championship and an unbeaten record. Saint Mary’s College and NBA standout Patty Mills won the Bob Staunton MVP Award in 2006 and 2007. In addition, Jois was the South East Australian Basketball League (SEABL) Youth Player of the Year in 2011, an award given to the top under-23 player and previously won by college and NBA standouts Patty Mills and Andrew Bogut.
* Much like the Eagles, Montana has utilized the 3-point shot in a big way this season. The Grizzlies are 11th in NCAA Division I in 3-point percentage (40.7 percent) and are averaging 7.7 treys per game to rank 55th nationally. Eastern is second in D-I with an average of 9.8 per game, but its percentage is at 34.7 percent for the season. Both teams should be bolstered on the outside by the return of two of the league’s most talented players. Eastern’s Collin Chiverton missed the last six games for personal reasons, but has made a team-leading 44.1 percent of his treys in the six games he has played this season (15-of-34). Senior guard Will Cherry returned to action on Dec. 15th after missing the last 2 1/2 months due to a foot injury. Named to the 2012-13 collegeinsider Lou Henson Preseason All-America team, Cherry has made 83 3-pointers in his career. But the two-time All-Big Sky selection is better known for his defensive prowess with 229 career steals.
* Eastern’s game with Idaho on Dec. 6 was the 100th in the Eastern career of senior guard Jeffrey Forbes and fellow senior Kevin Winford played in his 100th on Dec. 22 versus Idaho State. Forbes, who has now scored 908 points in his 104-game Eastern career, could break Marc Axton’s (2002-05) school record of 119 games played. Forbes has averaged 30.8 minutes per game in his Eastern career with 93 starts. He ranks ninth in school history with 108 career steals, and is also fourth in 3-pointers made (155) and attempted (411). Winford has started 35 of the 100 games he has played, averaging 18.1 minutes per game. He has made 119-of-357 3-pointers in his career to rank fifth in school history in both categories, with a total of 599 points scored.
* Senior Collin Chiverton is expected to play this week for the first time since Nov. 23. Last year’s Big Sky Conference Newcomer of the Year, Chiverton hasn’t played in Eastern’s last six games following the death of a close friend in San Francisco. “He has gone through the most difficult two months of his life,” said Eastern head coach Jim Hayford in early December. “I respect how he has addressed all the issues with great help from many people. He has been able to take care of his important coursework during this time away. I believe 2013 will be a great year for Collin.” Chiverton has scored 51 points in his last three games after scoring just 15 in EWU’s first three outings. Included are a pair of 19-point performances to hike his average to 11.0 for the season. Foul trouble has hindered him this season, and he scored 19 points in just 18 minutes before fouling out with 6:20 to play against South Carolina Upstate in EWU’s 75-70 win. One game later, he made 7-of-15 attempts from the field, including 4-of-12 3-point attempts, versus Santa Clara for his second-straight 19-point game. His performances were his best since scoring 20 versus UC Irvine on Feb. 18 last season. A year ago, he had 12 20-point performances, but was slowed late in the year with injuries.
* With eight blocked shots versus Idaho State, Eastern is second in the Big Sky Conference in blocked shots with 59 already for an average of 4.9 per game to rank 53rd in NCAA Division I. Individual Eagles are ranked No. 2 and No. 3, with Martin Seiferth averaging 2.2 per game to rank 44th in NCAA Division I and Venky Jois averaging 1.7. The Eagles had a school record 130 in the 2005-06 season (4.3 average per game).
* The Eagles are second in the Big Sky in offensive rebounds with an average of 12.5 per game (Montana State leads at 13.1 per game). Martin Seiferth and Venky Jois are both averaging 2.5 to rank second in the league. A year ago, Eastern averaged 12.0 offensive boards per game to lead the league.
* A pair of Eagles are currently leading the Big Sky Conference in statistical categories. Venky Jois leads in rebounds (9.4) and double-doubles (six), and Justin Crosgile leads in 3-pointers made per game (3.0), assists (5.5) and minutes played (36.0). Crosgile ranks 38th in NCAA Division I in assists and is 19th in 3-pointers made per game. Also, Jois is 35th in rebounding and 14th in double-doubles.
* Three Eagles rank in the top nine in school history in career 3-pointers made. Jeffrey Forbes is fourth (155), Kevin Winford is fifth (119) and Collin Chiverton is ninth (103). In attempts, Forbes is fourth (411) and Winford (357) is fifth, and Chiverton is seventh in career 3-point field goal percentage (41.0).
* Eastern is 1-9 when it shoots less than 45 percent from the field, but is 2-0 when it has a higher percentage than that. The Eagles made only 38.0 percent versus Idaho State, but had a season-best defensive effort of 37.9 percent against the Bengals. Prior to that, Eastern’s lone wins were against USC Upstate (48 percent) and Cal State Fullerton (46 percent). Eight times this season – including their last five outings – the Eagles have made 38 percent or less. Eastern, which has made only 35.0 percent of its shots in its last three games and 38.7 percent for the season, had a season-worst 33 percent effort at UC Davis on Dec. 17. The Eagles made 17-of-41 3-point attempts (42 percent), but just 3-of-19 inside the arc (16 percent).
* The Eagles have been picked to finish as high as third in the 2012-13 Big Sky Conference preseason men’s basketball polls released Oct. 18. The media have picked the Eagles to finish third, and the coaches selected Eastern sixth. Defending Big Sky champion Montana has been selected first in both polls.
More EWU Notes
* The Eagles had a season high 17 3-pointers made versus UC Davis on Dec. 17, and have attempted at least 39 3-point attempts on three occasions. Eastern had 41 versus UC Davis and a season-high 42 against Utah Valley on Nov. 20. Eastern’s 17 3-pointers were one behind the school record of 18 set on Dec. 4, 2010, against New Hope. Eastern had a record 48 3-point attempts on Jan. 19, 1995, versus Sacramento State.
* Sophomore Parker Kelly out of Gonzaga Prep in Spokane equaled his career high with 17 points to pace the Eagles in their Dec. 17 loss at UC Davis. He made 5-of-8 3-point shots against the Aggies, and is now averaging 11.2 points per game in his last six games after scoring just 10 in the first five games he played. For the season, he is now averaging 7.0 points and 1.1 assists per game, while making 16-of-45 3-point shots for 35.6 percent.
* Both Justin Crosgile (St. Joseph’s) and Martin Seiferth (Oregon) had to sit out last season because of NCAA transfer rules. Thus far, Crosgile is averaging a team-leading 14.7 points and 5.5 assists, as well as 5.9 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game. Seiferth is averaging 7.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.2 blocked shots per game. With early-season performances of 28 and 27 points, respectively, they just missed a spot on Eastern’s all-time leading scorers list, with 30 points scored by 10 different players to rank 39th.
* The Eagles went 1-5 on a season-opening six-game road stretch, including four games in six nights in California. With eight newcomers blending together with six letter winners (not including redshirts), the Eagles have had a lot of highs and lows on the trip. Eastern’s lone win was a 75-70 victory over South Carolina Upstate, a team that won 20 games a year ago and played in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT). The Eagles lost to another 20-game winner and CIT participant, Utah Valley, by just three points (86-83). Eastern led 43-32 at halftime against Utah Valley, and even had a 31-26 lead late in the first half of an 85-66 loss on Nov. 18 to Saint Mary’s – a NCAA Tournament participant a year ago. In EWU’s third game in four nights in California, Eastern fell 89-74 to an unbeaten Santa Clara squad.
* Three Eagles who played for the highly-successful City College of San Francisco basketball team returned to the Bay Area for a quartet of games in November. Collin Chiverton is from San Jose, and Ivan Dorsey and Garrett Moon are both from San Francisco. That trio helped lead CCSF to the 2010-11 California Community Colleges Athletic Association title and finish 32-1. San Francisco finished the season with a 27-game winning streak, and was a perfect 12-0 to win the Coast-North title. The year after, Dorsey and Moon (who is redshirting this season) led the Rams to a 27-3 record, meaning those two players were on the winning end of 54 of 59 games in junior college. Chiverton also returned to his former college on the trip -- he redshirted the 2008-09 season while at Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, Calif. In last year’s 77-61 loss to the Gaels, Chiverton scored 18 points for EWU. He had seven points in just 15 minutes before fouling out in this year’s meeting.
* The EWU men’s basketball team is playing its home games for the 38th season at Reese Court in Cheney, Wash. But last spring new premium seating was added on the scorer’s table/team benches side, and the wooden bleachers were moved to the ends of the court. In addition, a new video board has been added to the existing scoreboard at Reese Court this fall, and made its debut on Nov. 30.
* With the addition of North Dakota and Southern Utah into the Big Sky Conference, Eastern’s league slate will include 20 games for the first time. The Big Sky Conference Tournament will take place March 14-16 at the site of the regular season champion. After being a six-team affair for most of its history, it will now include seven teams, with the regular season champion receiving a first-round bye. The tournament will include a quarterfinal round with six of the teams playing, followed by semifinals and the championship game.
* In all, Eastern’s 2012-13 schedule includes 10 games versus eight schools who participated in national postseason tournaments a year ago. Eastern will play six games against those opponents on the road, and four games at home. Two appeared in the NCAA Tournament – Saint Mary’s (Nov. 18 on the road) and Montana (Jan. 3 on the road and Feb. 2 at home). Washington State (Nov. 10 on the road) played in the College Basketball Invitational Tournament, and lost to Pittsburgh 89-69 in the championship game. The other five postseason opponents on EWU’s schedule were all in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT). Weber State (Dec. 20 at home and March 9 on the road), Idaho (Dec. 6 at home) and South Carolina Upstate (Nov. 21 on the road) advanced to the second round. Utah Valley (Nov. 20 on the road) and Cal State Fullerton (Nov. 30 at home) played in the first round.
* The preseason for the Eagles consisted of a 96-70 victory over Concordia, as well as a closed-door scrimmage two weeks earlier. Eastern also went on a six-game, seven-day trek across British Columbia in September. NCAA Division I schools are allowed to make one preseason foreign trip every four years, including up to 10 practices and six games. Of the 15 players on his roster, 14 of them played during the tour. In winning six games in six nights, the Eagles had a different leading scorer each night. On the floor, the trip helped Hayford blend together returning letterwinners, redshirts, four-year transfers, a junior college transfer and lots of incoming high school players. It also helped develop camaraderie and a team-first attitude among a melting pot of a roster consisting of Germans, Australians and Americans from five different states.
* After losing four seniors to graduation from his first Eastern team, Hayford’s 2012-13 squad will return two starters and four other returning letterwinners. His team also includes three players who redshirted last season – featuring a pair of NCAA Division I transfers – with six newcomers rounding out his squad. One guard and three players 6-7 or taller were lost from last year’s team.
* Eastern finished 15-17 overall and was 8-8 in Big Sky Conference play to finish fourth, and the Eagles hosted and won their first Big Sky Conference Tournament game since 2006. Eastern improved by five victories from the year before, as the Eagles equaled their most wins since Eastern made its first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance in 2004.
* Eastern’s games versus Washington State, Utah Valley, South Carolina Upstate and Santa Clara are all part of the 2012 College Basketball Experience (CBE) Hall of Fame Classic. The WSU game took place in Pullman, Wash., and the other three will be played in Santa Clara, Calif., as part of the CBE Classic, which is hosted by the National Association of Basketball Coaches.
EWU vs. Montana Series Notes
* Eastern has lost 10 of the last 12 meetings and 16 of the last 19, including all three meetings a year ago. The lone victories in that 19-game stretch came on Dec. 30, 2006, in Cheney when the Eagles beat the Grizzlies 74-71; Feb. 14, 2010, when the Eagles prevailed 69-68 at Reese Court; and on Feb. 26, 2011, when EWU upset the Grizzlies 59-55 in overtime in Cheney. Eastern’s 2011 victory over Montana helped clinch a postseason berth for the Eagles and, in the process, kept the Grizzlies from clinching at least a share of the league title. Last year’s losses included a 79-71 road loss, a 74-60 home loss and a 74-66 setback in the semifinals of the Big Sky Conference Tournament in Missoula.
* Eastern is 17-44 against the Grizzlies since 1983-84, including a 7-24 record in Missoula, 10-18 in Cheney and 0-2 on neutral courts versus the Grizzlies. Montana leads the series overall 61-38.
* In the 2005-06 season, Eastern lost 73-71 in overtime in the Big Sky Conference Tournament in Flagstaff, Ariz. Eastern trailed by 14 before a late 10-0 run put Eastern back into the game. But Eagle freshman Rodney Stuckey missed a potential game-winning shot at the buzzer to end regulation. Montana then went on a 6-0 run in overtime to end Eastern’s season.
* Prior to the six-game losing streak that Eastern ended on Dec. 30, 2006, Eastern had won 10 of the previous 14 meetings including regular season sweeps three-straight conference seasons from 2001-03. However, the Grizzlies snapped a four-game losing streak to the Eagles when the fifth-seeded Grizzlies upset second-seeded EWU 70-66 in the 2002 Big Sky Conference Tournament championship game in Bozeman, Mont.
* Included in the series history was an 81-75 victory in Missoula to end the 1998-99 season that clinched the sixth and final berth in the Big Sky Conference Tournament for the Eagles. That victory snapped Eastern's eight-game losing streak in Missoula, and a home win in 1998 snapped a 10-game losing streak overall in the series.
* A 77-75 Eagle home loss at the end of the 1999-2000 regular season gave Montana a share of the Big Sky Conference men's basketball title in front of 5,426 fans at Reese Court in Cheney. The Eagles had taken a 12-point lead with 8:06 to play in the second half, but went the next 6:21 without scoring. During Montana's 17-0 run, the Eagles missed 10-straight field goal attempts while the Grizzlies made 6-of-7 shots. The loss was Eastern's first in eight conference home games. Montana made 4-of-6 free throws in the last 23 seconds to clinch the win and hold off Eastern's comeback attempt that included a trio of three-pointers in the last 1:45.
EWU vs. Montana State Series Notes
* Since Eastern became a member of NCAA Division I in the 1983-84 season, the Eagles are 24-34 against Montana State (includes two MSU forfeits in the 1993-94 season). Since 1983-84, Eastern is 7-22 in Bozeman and 17-12 in Cheney against the Bobcats. EWU trails in the all-time series 31-42 (19-12 in Cheney, 9-27 in Bozeman, 3-3 neutral). A year ago, Eastern swept Montana State. The Eagles recorded a huge 82-66 road victory over the Bobcats in the first Big Sky Conference game in the head coaching career of Jim Hayford, then later in the year won in Cheney 69-52.
* Eastern has won 14 of the last 26 after winning just once in the previous 13 games (not counting two MSU forfeits). However, Eastern is just 6-9 against the Bobcats in the last 15 meetings, including losses in Bozeman in six of the last eight meetings. Until a 75-73 triumph on Jan. 10, 2010, in Bozeman, the Eagles hadn’t won in Bozeman since Feb. 5, 2004, in a 64-61 triumph. Later in the season on Feb. 12, 2010, Eastern won at home against the Bobcats 74-69 to complete EWU’s first sweep over MSU since 2004.
* Sophomore center Martin Seiferth broke a school record that stood for 25 years with seven blocked shots in a 96-79 loss to Cal State Northridge on Nov. 12. Seiferth, who also had 27 points and 17 rebounds in the game, broke the previous record of six set by Dexter Griffen versus Idaho State on Jan. 2, 1987. Seiferth’s 17 rebounds are the sixth-best recorded performance all-time at Eastern. The sophomore from Berlin, Germany, just missed a spot on Eastern’s all-time leading scorers list, with 30 points scored by 10 different players to rank 39th. One game earlier, teammate Justin Crosgile scored 28 points against Washington State.
* Senior guard Jeffrey Forbes has played in104 games to rank 11th in school history, and could break Marc Axton’s (2002-05) school record of 119 games played. A 92-game starter, Forbes has averaged 30.8 minutes per game in his Eastern career. He ranks ninth in school history with 108 career steals, just three from reaching No. 8. He is also fourth in 3-pointers made (155) and attempted (411). He is 29 makes and 88 attempts away from school records. In his career at the free throw line, Forbes has made what would be a school record at 88.2 percent (149-of-169), but he is 39 attempts shy to meet the minimum of two free throw attempts per game. Forbes set a single season school record for free throw percentage (.900, 54-of-60) as a sophomore. He also made 55 3-pointers in the 2010-11 season to rank as the 11th-most in Eastern history (now 13th entering the 2012-13 season).
* Senior guard Kevin Winford has played in 100 career games, and is just six from a spot on Eastern’s top 10 all-time list. He ranks in the top 10 on several Eastern season and career lists for 3-point shooting. On career charts, his 119 makes and his 357 attempts both rank fifth. 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). He owns school records for single game 3-pointers made (10) and attempted (23) when he finished with 39 points – fifth-best in school history – in his sophomore season against New Hope (12/4/10).
* Senior forward Collin Chiverton and his 102 3-pointers rank ninth on EWU’s top 10 career list, and his 251 attempts are 22 away. In the five seasons he has played since his junior year in high school, teams that Chiverton has played on have won 132 of 175 games for a .754 winning percentage. His junior college and high school teams won 114 of 131 games (87 percent).
Recent Game Summaries
* A late 8-0 run and a huge blocked shot by Thomas Reuter with nine seconds left lifted Eastern to a 57-54 victory over Idaho State Dec. 22 at Reese Court in a Big Sky game. Freshman forward Venky Jois had his sixth double-double of the season – all coming in the last nine games – with 13 points and 12 rebounds. He also had three blocked shots, as well as 6-foot-10 sophomore Martin Seiferth, who finished with nine points and four rebounds. Point guard Justin Crosgile offset a 2-of-12 shooting night with seven assists, four steals and seven rebounds to go along with eight points. His 3-point play with 3:31 to play gave Eastern a lead it would not relinquish as the Eagles snapped a four-game losing streak. Senior Jeffrey Forbes hit a trio of 3-pointers – giving him 155 in his career – to finish with nine points. Freshman point guard Daniel Hill chipped in eight points in just his third game as an Eagle. In the final 11 seconds, with EWU nursing a one-point lead, ISU had a steal and was headed for a fast-break layin. But Reuter blocked the layin attempt, retrieved the ball, was fouled and then made a pair of free throws with seven seconds left that provided the final margin.
* Weber State showed why it has been picked to finish second in the Big Sky Conference this season, defeating Eastern 74-53 Dec. 20 in the Big opener for both schools. The Wildcats opened an 11-0 lead and led from start to finish, and out-shot the Eagles 48 percent to 34 percent. Freshman Venky Jois led the Eagles with 21 points – one away from his career high. Jois made 7-of-12 shots from the field and 7-of-10 free throws, and also had five rebounds and four blocked shots. Junior guard Justin Crosgile added 11 points, six rebounds and a pair of assists. Sophomore Parker Kelly chipped in eight points on 3-of-5 shooting. The Eagles had just eight turnovers in the game.
* Read more at: http://goeags.com/sports/m-baskbl/index
Quoting Coach Jim Hayford
On Toughness After ISU Win & WSU Loss: “We need to keep building toughness. The way you get toughness is you face adversity, and you find success against it. When you face adversity -- and fail against it -- you go up the next time and you look for success. That’s what we are committed to do as a coaching staff.”
On Confidence Gained After ISU Win: “We have a young team, and our psyche is fragile. We lost a really hard game against Idaho when we had a really big lead and lost in overtime -- that rattled our young guys. I need to be a better coach to keep them building through it.”
On Idaho State Win: “To be on this side of a close win will go a long way for our guys -- it was a much-needed win. I am really happy our guys can take this win into the break. We don’t play again for twelve days. To think of the alternative, that would have been really tough.”
On Final Seconds of ISU Game: “They made a great steal when we were trying to call timeout -- give them credit, they made (what could have been) a winning play. Fortunately, Thomas made a big block -- I don’t know if he will make a bigger block in his career. I hope so, but that’s going to be a big one to try to get better on. That’s just a great winning play, and he came down and sank the two winning free throws.”
On Loss to WSU: “This is one of the two toughest home games we will have to play in the Big Sky. They beat us by ten in both halves. They are a very, very good team. With the pressure, we did really well taking care of the ball. We are developing this team so I have to keep going to the positives – we had only eight turnovers against a good solid defensive team. Every game we are learning, and we are working on getting better.”
On Slow Start Versus WSU: “I would say the reason we had slow starts in both halves was because they were more ready to play than we were. One of the things our guys need to understand basketball is a lot like a boxing match. The bell is going to be struck so you better come out. I already talked to the team about it. They went right at us, came running across the ring, and they through a hard punch at us. Maybe a few more times of getting hit in the jaw like that you decide that’s not too much fun, and you start doing the hitting. That’s what we need to do.”
On Aggressive Play: “I’m scrappy so I’m going to try to make them scrappy every day. That’s the only way I know how to play basketball. It’s just a truth. The team that plays harder wins. That’s the great equalizer -- there’s talent and whatever, but I hope we just get scrappier.”