Forbes Tries to Hit 1,000-Point Milestone as Bearkats Visit Saturday
Eastern takes a break from exciting league race to host Sam Houston State at 1 p.m. in ESPN BracketBusters match-up
Saturday, Feb. 23 - Reese Court (5,000)
- Cheney, Wash.
1:05 p.m. Pacific - Sam Houston State (14-11 entering 2/21 game) at Eastern Washington (8-18)
Thursday, Feb. 28 - Reese Court (5,000)
- Cheney, Wash.
6:05 p.m. Pacific - Northern Colorado at Eastern Washington
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 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.
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Radio iPhone App: Search for “Spokane Radio” and download app. An app is also available for tunein radio.
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Please pardon the interruption.
An exciting race for the final five berths in the Big Sky Conference Tournament takes a hiatus, as the Eastern Washington University men’s basketball team hosts Sam Houston State this Saturday (Feb. 23) in the ESPN Ramada Worldwide BracketBusters series of college basketball games.
Tipoff is 1:05 p.m. Pacific time at Reese Court in Cheney, Wash., as senior guard Jeffrey Forbes tries to attain the first of two career milestones. Forbes now has 993 career points, and is now just seven points from becoming the 16th Eagle in school history to hit the coveted 1,000-point mark. He is also just three games away from the school record of 119 career games played.
A total of 122 schools are involved in the final year of BracketBusters, including all 11 Big Sky Conference schools. As part of the agreement, Eastern will play a return game against SHSU in Huntsville, Texas -- probably in the 2014-15 season.
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.
The Eagles are 6-10 in the Big Sky Conference and 8-18 overall, but remain in the midst of a logjam in the middle of the conference standings. Eastern is currently ninth in the Big Sky, but is just one game out of fifth and two games out of third place. Only the top seven teams advance to the Big Sky Conference Tournament, and Montana and Weber State have already locked up spots.
“We don’t want to overlook the BracketBuster game, but it really is odd timing,” said head coach Jim Hayford. “We are in the middle of a great league race. There are young teams gaining momentum, new coaches establishing programs and some teams that were really pointing toward this year. Now we take a 10-day break from this great race. But it is what it is and it won’t happen in the future.”
After Saturday’s game, Eastern faces Northern Colorado on Feb. 28 and North Dakota on March 2 in critical league games. Eastern closes the regular season at Idaho State on March 7 and Weber State on March 9.
“The best practice we will have between now and the Northern Colorado game will be Sam Houston State,” Hayford added. “I’m looking forward to playing that game.”
Eastern is coming off an 89-80 loss at Portland State, which followed a crucial 86-72 home win for EWU on Feb. 16 against Southern Utah. The Eagles could have worked their way into a five-way tie for fifth with a victory over the Vikings, but instead are just one game ahead of PSU in the standings. The Vikings end the season with the same league opponents as EWU.
“We figured we would have to defend our home court, win at Portland State or Idaho State and then see where we stand heading into the final game at Weber State,” explained Hayford of his team’s postseason chances. “That scenario hasn’t changed. If we can get three more wins, that would give us nine, and I think nine is the number. But we’re kind of in a must-win situation, and Northern Colorado – our next conference game – is playing as well as anybody in that pack. We have a lot of respect for them, but we have 10 days to prepare.”
Sam Houston State is currently 14-11 overall and 7-6 in the Southland Conference. The Bearkats are currently fifth in their league, and host Southland leader Stephen F. Austin on Thursday (Feb. 21) before traveling to Cheney.
The Bearkats feature a balanced scoring attack with no player averaging more than 8.9 points per game, and eight players with averages of between 5.9 and 8.9. The Bearkats have limited opponents to an average of 61.2 points per game (57th in NCAA Division I), and are eighth nationally in 3-point defense (28.7 percent) and 70th in rebounding margin (+3.9). By contrast, Eastern is 13th in the nation in 3-pointers made per game (8.6) and is 306th out of 345 NCAA Division I teams in rebounding margin (-4.4).
The Eagles and Bearkats have one common opponent this season – Northern Arizona. The Eagles beat the Lumberjacks 82-59 on Jan. 10 in Cheney and 77-74 in overtime on Feb. 9 in Flagstaff, Ariz., after rallying from 18 points down in the second half. The Bearkats lost at NAU on Dec. 1 by a 77-60 score as part of a four-game road stretch.
Eastern and SHSU are very familiar with each other on the football field. Eastern hosted and played the Bearkats last Dec. 15 in the semifinals of the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision Playoffs, won by SHSU 45-42. The two football teams will play each other again in regular season meetings this fall on Sept. 28 in Huntsville and in 2014 in Cheney. Eastern won the 2010 NCAA Division I Championship in 2010, and SHSU finished as the runner-up the last two seasons.
PDF Link to Fact Book
The complete version of the 2012 EWU men’s basketball fact
book may be found at:
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Eastern Basketball -- http://goeags.com/sports/m-baskbl/index
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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
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* Taking place in conjunction with Eastern’s game on Feb. 23 will be the DeVries Business Services Canned Food Drive. Fans are asked to bring non-perishable canned food items to the game. Each fan who donates a can will receive a token good for FREE document shredding at Devries. Also, the EWU Kids Cheer Clinic will perform at halftime. The clinic takes place the evening of Feb. 22 and is open for kids in kindergarten through sixth grades. More information is available at www.goeags.com.
* Senior guard Jeffrey Forbes is on the cusp of another school record and a major milestone. Now with 993 points in his career, he is just seven from becoming the 16th player in school history to hit the coveted 1,000-point mark. Forbes has played 116 games in his career – which ranks third in school history and is just three behind the school record of 119 set by Marc Axton from 2002-05. If he doesn’t miss any more games, Forbes will tie the record on Senior Day on March 2 versus North Dakota. Forbes has already started a school-record 102 games, with Axton holding the previous record with 99. He also ranks eighth in school history with 116 career steals, and is also third in 3-pointers made (167) and third in attempts (448). Despite missing most of the previous four games with a hand injury, Forbes returned against Sacramento State on Feb. 7 and then started his school-record 100th game for the Eagles Feb. 9 at Northern Arizona. He scored 10 points, including a pair of clutch free throws with nine seconds left that provided the final margin versus the Lumberjacks. He also had four assists and a career-high eight rebounds in the 77-74 overtime win over NAU. He started and scored six points against the Hornets one game earlier, but essentially did not play in the previous four games because of a cut that required stitches between the pinkie finger and ring finger of his shooting hand. He did not play versus Montana State, played in just the final seconds of the games against Montana and Southern Utah and only the final seconds of the first half versus Portland State. He suffered the injury late in the game versus Northern Colorado on Jan. 19, and one game earlier had missed the first game of his career because of a knee injury suffered in an automobile accident involving one of the team’s mini-vans.
* Redshirt freshman Tyler Harvey once again proved to be Eastern’s go-to reliever in EWU’s loss at Portland State, coming off the bench to make 10-of-18 shots and finish with 23 points. Harvey has now scored 48 points in the last three games after scoring only 17 in his first 13 games played. He burst onto the scene on Feb. 9 at Northern Arizona when EWU was down by 18 with 7:35 left to play in regulation. He came off the bench to score 14 points in the last 8:31 of the game and rallied the Eagles to an improbable 77-74 overtime victory in Flagstaff, Ariz. Eastern trailed by 13 when Harvey entered the game for the second time with 3:42 left. He never came out after that, and scored eight points in regulation and six in overtime. In EWU’s next game versus Southern Utah, he helped preserve EWU’s 14-point win by scoring all 11 of his points in the last 6:10 of the game. He then scored 17 of his 23 points in the second half of EWU’s 89-80 loss at Portland State, including 11 in a 16-0 run that turned a 12-point halftime deficit into a three-point lead. Harvey had entered the NAU game having averaged just 4.8 minutes in the 13 games he has played thus far as an Eagle. He had only scored 17 points the entire season, with a high of six in the team’s opener at Washington State. He has made 19-of-29 shots overall and 7-of-13 from the 3-point line in his last three games; before that he had made only 6-of-17 overall and 3-of-9 treys for the season.
* The Eagles had to play the PSU game without starting point guard Kevin Winford, who was unable to make the trip to Portland. He suffered a blow to his shin against Southern Utah that resulted in compartment syndrome and required surgery the evening following the game. Winford, who will also miss this week’s game against Sam Houston State, was averaging 10.3 points and 4.2 assists in EWU’s last six games, and was replaced in the starting lineup by Daniel Hill. Hill missed all five of his shots and was scoreless with two assists in 13 minutes of action. Also seeing action at point guard was Tyler Harvey, who has now scored 48 points in the last three games after scoring only 17 in his first 13 games played.
* Besides making a season-best 53.7 percent of its shots and scoring a season-high 86 points, Eastern set a pair of blocked shots records against Southern Utah on Feb. 16. Venky Jois had five blocks, breaking the school record of 51 set by Paul Butorac in 2006. Jois now has 56 to already rank eighth on EWU’s career list. The Eagles finished with 10 as a team versus SUU, breaking the EWU record of 130 set in the 2005-06 season (EWU currently has 142). Martin Seiferth has 49 blocks to rank as the third-best all-time single season mark behind Jois and Butorac, and is 10th already on the career list. “Venky and Martin are athletic players,” said Eastern head coach Jim Hayford. “They are a presence inside. They are a freshman and a sophomore, so we have to balance their athleticism with smarts and wisdom.”
* Eastern ranks 13th in NCAA Division I in 3-pointers made per game (8.6 average through games of Feb. 17), but attempted a season-low 15 on Feb. 16. Eastern made six, just one game after establishing a season-high for attempts in a 14-of-43 performance at NAU. The Eagles are averaging a league-leading 8.4 makes per game (total of 219) while attempting an average of 25.3 (total of 657). 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.
* Eastern’s win over NAU on Feb. 9 completed a season sweep and gives the Eagles a key tiebreaking advantage over the Lumberjacks. In addition, the victory was EWU’s first of the season in 12 tries on opponent home courts. It snapped a 13-game losing skid overall on the road as Eastern’s last win on an opponent’s home court was at Idaho State on Feb. 23, 2012, by an 85-78 score.
* Thus far, the Eagles have used 11 different starting lineups because of a variety of reasons and obstacles placed before them. But the one constant has been the continued development of young players, including five freshmen/sophomores who each have started at least three games with a collective total of 80 starts this season (sophomores Parker Kelly and Martin Seiferth, and true freshmen Venky Jois, Thomas Reuter and Daniel Hill). Three times this season sophomores and freshmen have accounted for at least 75 percent of the team’s minutes. They accounted for 80 percent at North Dakota on Jan. 17, and 75 percent in both meetings against Portland State. By contrast, 83 percent of PSU’s minutes against EWU on Feb. 23 were by seniors or juniors. The Vikings won that game 89-80.
* True freshman Venky Jois had a career high seven assists and equaled his career high with 14 rebounds in Eastern’s 72-68 victory over Montana State on Jan. 31, and he also had eight points and three blocked shots. Jois, however, missed the last 3:15 with an ankle injury, and then sat out the next three games before playing a total of 49 minutes in the last two games. He played 22 minutes versus Southern Utah on Feb. 16 and had only one point and five rebounds versus the Thunderbirds, but then scored 17 points and had nine rebounds against Portland State two days later in 27 minutes of action. Jois has established himself as a bonafide contender for All-Big Sky Conference honors, as well as the league’s Freshman of the Year and Newcomer of the Year accolades. He has had nine double-doubles this season to lead the Big Sky and rank 38th in NCAA Division I (through games of Feb. 17). He also leads the league and ranks 25th nationally in rebounding (9.5), and is 25th in the nation and tops in the Big Sky in blocked shots (2.4 per game). His 56 blocked shots have broken the school record of 51 set by Paul Butorac in 2006 and ranks eighth already on EWU’s career list. He is also 13th in the league in scoring (12.7) and 10th in field goal percentage (.487). Against Northern Colorado on Jan. 19, Jois equaled the school record of seven blocked shots set earlier this season by teammate Martin Seiferth, as Jois finished with yet another monster game with 15 points, eight rebounds, four assists and the seven blocks. 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. In January, he was selected to the Collegehoopsdaily.com All-Big Sky Conference team from the first half of the season, and was also the school’s Scholar-Athlete of the Month for January. 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.
* Eastern is leading the Big Sky Conference in blocked shots with a school-record 142 already for an average of 5.5 per game to rank 14th in NCAA Division I. Individual Eagles are ranked No. 1 and No. 3 in the league, with Venky Jois averaging 2.4 per game to rank 25th in NCAA Division I and Martin Seiferth averaging 1.9 to rank 79th. The previous school record was 130 in the 2005-06 season (4.3 average per game).
* The Eagles are third in the Big Sky in offensive rebounds with an average of 11.4 per game (Southern Utah 12.4, Montana State 11.3). Martin Seiferth has a 2.5 average and Venky Jois is averaging 2.3 to rank third and fifth, respectively, in the league. A year ago, Eastern averaged 12.0 offensive boards per game to lead the league.
* Three Eagles rank in the top six in school history in career 3-pointers made. Jeffrey Forbes is third (167), Kevin Winford is fifth (138) and Collin Chiverton is sixth (125). In attempts, Forbes is third (448), Winford (409) is fifth and Chiverton is sixth (325), and Chiverton is also 10th in career 3-point field goal percentage (38.5).
* With the league expanded to 11 teams, the Big Sky Conference Tournament includes seven teams this year and will take place March 14-16 at the site of the regular season champion. The host receives a first-round bye, with the other six teams playing for the other three berths in the semifinals. A year ago, Eastern beat Idaho State 81-75 in the first round before losing to eventual champion Montana 74-66 in the semifinals.
More EWU Notes
* Sophomore Parker Kelly out of Gonzaga Prep in Spokane established a new career high with 19 points in EWU’s come-from-behind 77-74 overtime win over Northern Arizona on Feb. 9, then scored 15 in his next outing versus Southern Utah. Versus NAU, Kelly’s 3-pointer with 15 seconds left in regulation and a subsequent defensive stop by the Eagles helped send the game into overtime tied at 66. Kelly is now averaging 10.1 points per game in his last 20 games after scoring just 10 in the first five games he played. He has started 14 of the 25 games he has played this season, and is now averaging 8.4 points and 1.0 assists per game, while making a team-leading 42-of-112 3-point shots for 37.5 percent.
* Senior point guard Kevin Winford is averaging 10.3 points and 4.2 assists in EWU’s last six games, finishing with 11 points at Sacramento State on Feb. 7 and 12 in EWU’s 77-74 overtime win at Northern Arizona on Feb. 9. He also had five assists in each game, and had a career-high four steals versus the Lumberjacks. Winford ranks 14th in the Big Sky in assists with a 2.6 average per game. Winford has started 46 of the 111 games he has played (seventh-most games played in school history), averaging 19.5 minutes per game. He has made 138-of-409 3-pointers in his career to rank fifth in school history in both categories, with a total of 704 points scored. Winford had his most productive outings in two years with 13 points in both meetings versus Montana State this season. His performances against the Bobcats were his best since scoring 15 versus Northern Colorado on Feb. 3, 2011. He also had his most assists since dishing out a career-high seven versus New Hope on Dec. 4, 2010 (he scored 39 points in that game with a school-record 10 3-pointers). In the first meeting with MSU, Eastern played its second game with Winford in the lineup as starting point guard, with Justin Crosgile no longer on the team after starting the first 12 games.
* Second-year Eastern head coach Jim Hayford will coach in his 400th career game on March 7 when the Eagles play at Idaho State. He is currently 277-119 (69.9 percent) in 13-plus seasons as a head coach, including a 23-35 mark at Eastern. He was 217-57 (79.2 percent) in 10 seasons at Whitworth (2001-2011), and before that was 37-27 in two seasons at the University of Sioux Falls (S.D.).
* 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.
* Six-foot-10 sophomore Martin Seiferth has made 62.1 percent of his shots from the field to rank second in the Big Sky and currently rank as the fourth-best single season performance in school history. Thus far, Seiferth is averaging 8.0 points, 5.5 rebounds (16th in the Big Sky) and 1.9 blocked shots per game (third in the Big Sky). His 49 blocked shots already rank as the third-most in school history on the single season list and 10th on the career chart. He had his second double-double of the season with 13 points, 10 rebounds and four blocked shots versus Southern Utah on Feb. 16. He scored 13 points with six rebounds and four blocked shots in EWU’s 76-65 win over Portland State on Jan. 28. He made 6-of-7 shots from the field and had 14 points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots in just 26 minutes of action at North Dakota on Jan. 17. Earlier this season he was the Big Sky Conference Player of the Week after finishing with 27 points, 17 rebounds and a school-record eight blocked shots in a 96-79 loss at Cal State Northridge. The transfer from Oregon had to sit out last season because of NCAA transfer rules.
* Senior Collin Chiverton scored just 15 points in EWU’s first three outings this season, but he has bumped his average to 10.4 for the season. He scored 18 points in just 10 minutes of action in EWU’s 86-72 win over Southern Utah on Feb. 16. He had 20 points against Montana State on Jan. 31, including Eastern’s final six in the last 1:21 of the 72-68 victory. He made 7-of-14 shots and 5-of-5 free throws in the game for his 14th 20-point performance of his career and his second of the season. He had a season-best 22 points against Northern Arizona on Jan. 10 for his best performance since a career-high 26 against Seattle on Jan. 16, 2012. He played versus Montana on Jan. 3 for his first appearance since Nov. 23. Last year’s Big Sky Conference Newcomer of the Year, Chiverton missed six games from Nov. 30 to Dec. 22 following the death of a close friend in San Francisco. Previously, his mother passed away just as the season began. Foul trouble hindered him early in the year, 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. A year ago, he had 12 20-point performances, but was slowed late in the year with injuries.
* Since becoming eligible in mid-December, Australian point guard Daniel Hill has averaged 2.1 points, 1.9 assists and 1.6 rebounds per game in an average of 14.1 minutes per game (17 total games with three starts). He made the first start of his career at point guard on Jan. 17 at North Dakota as an injury replacement for Kevin Winford, and he had a season-high five assists, four rebounds and a steal in 38 minutes. He also had five assists one game later versus Northern Colorado when he played 35 minutes in place of Winford for the second-straight game. Hill had three assists in EWU’s 82-59 win over Northern Arizona on Jan. 10, and a season-high eight points in his third game as an Eagle in a 57-54 victory over Idaho State on Dec. 22.
* True freshman Thomas Reuter has scored in double figures five times this season, including 11 in EWU’s loss to Montana on Feb. 2. For the season, he has started 15 of EWU’s 26 games and is averaging 22.7 minutes, 5.3 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game. He had a season-high 16 points with five rebounds in EWU’s 79-75 win over Cal State Fullerton on Nov. 30.
* When the Eagles lost 89-80 at Portland State on Feb. 18, Eastern missed out on a chance to wrap-up Eastern’s first championship in “The Dam Cup.” The so-named rivalry refers to the four dams linking Oregon and Washington that one passes on the 339-mile drive between campuses. Portland State and Eastern are in the third year of the five-sport rivalry cup, and EWU went into the game leading in points, 8-5. The Vikings picked up two points with the win, and now the title comes down to a winner-take-all home game for EWU’s women’s team on Feb. 21 at Reese Court.
* Until Montana sank 46.2 percent on Feb. 2, Eastern held its last 10 opponents to 44 percent or less shooting from the field. After allowing non-conference opponents to make a collective 48.0 percent against them, the Eagles have allowed conference opponents to shoot at just a 40.4 percent clip (second in the BSC). EWU is now 7-5 when it holds opponents to 43.5 percent or less and 1-13 when it doesn’t. The Eagles made only 38.0 percent versus Idaho State on Dec. 22, but had a season-best defensive effort of 37.9 percent against the Bengals. Eastern bettered that two games later by holding Montana State to 34.5 percent, then held the Bobcats to just 30.3 percent in the rematch on Jan. 31.
* The Montana loss on Jan. 3 was Eastern’s first game without former starting point guard Justin Crosgile, who left the team for personal reasons to be closer to his family. Crosgile, who is from Patterson, N.J., and is a transfer from St. Joseph’s (Pa.), started EWU’s first 12 games and averaged 14.7 points, 5.5 assists, 5.9 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game.
EWU vs. Sam Houston State Series Notes
* Eastern is 2-0 all-time versus the Bearkats. The two schools haven’t played each other since Nov. 16, 1997, when the Eagles won 80-77 at Reese Court. Eastern won 69-66 in Huntsville, Texas, the year prior in the only other men’s basketball game between EWU and SHSU.
12/14/96 - W - 69-66 – A
11/16/97 - W - 80-77 - H
EWU vs. Northern Colorado Series Notes
* The Eagles are 6-8 all-time versus UNC (4-2 in Cheney, 2-6 in Greeley), with the first meeting taking place on Dec. 20, 1971, when Eastern beat the Bears 76-68 in Greeley, Colo. Since then, all of the meetings have been with EWU as a member of NCAA Division I (since 1983-84), starting in the 2006-07 season when the Bears became a Big Sky Conference member. Eastern has lost the last six meetings in Greeley, having not won there since Jan. 4, 2007 (88-87).
* Earlier this season, the Eagles had a record-tying performance by true freshman Venky Jois and another stingy effort on defense, but Northern Colorado was able to down the Eagles 72-56 on Jan. 19 in Greeley, Colo. Jois equaled the school record of seven blocked shots set earlier this season by teammate Martin Seiferth, as Jois finished with yet another monster game with 15 points, eight rebounds, four assists and the seven blocks. The Eagles also held the Bears to 38 percent shooting – the seventh-straight game the Eagles held their opponents to 44 percent shooting or less. After trailing by just three at halftime by a 33-30 score, the Eagles allowed UNC to go on a 13-3 run in the second half to open a double-digit lead it held much of the rest of the game. Senior Collin Chiverton added 13 points for the Eagles, and sophomore Parker Kelly chipped in 11. However, the 6-foot-10 Seiferth played just 14 minutes because of early foul trouble and finished with only four points and three rebounds. Northern Colorado finished with a 47-29 rebounding advantage, with the 18-rebound margin the second-worst for the Eagles this season (21 versus Idaho). Already playing without starting senior point guard Kevin Winford (concussion), guard Jeffrey Forbes played only 20 minutes after suffering a finger injury in the second half that required stitches and limited him after that. “He had his pinky finger almost ripped off, so he wasn’t able to play down the stretch,” said Eastern head coach Jim Hayford.
* A year ago, Eastern split the season series with the Bears in a pair of games decided by a total of four points. Eastern lost 71-70 in Greeley in heart-breaking fashion as UNC won for the fifth-straight time in the series. Collin Chiverton hit the go-ahead basket with 18 seconds to play, then six ticks of the clock later was battling for a loose ball on the floor and called a timeout the Eagles didn’t have. Tate Unruh made two free throws on the technical foul, then EWU was unable to get a potential game-winning shot in the final seconds in a battle for third place in the Big Sky standings. The loss came after Eastern led for more than 16 minutes of the second half. In the rematch later in the season in Cheney, Eastern won 79-76 as Parker Kelly hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 14 seconds to play after EWU rallied from a 17-point second-half deficit. After a UNC turnover 10 seconds later, Chiverton made one of two free throws with 3.5 remaining, but UNC threw the ball away after rebounding a miss on the second shot to preserve the Eagle win.
* In the 2010-11 season, Eastern suffered a heart-breaking 75-73 home loss to the Bears on New Year’s Eve, as UNC’s Elliott Lloyd blocked a potential game-winning shot by Glen Dean with one second remaining.
EWU vs. North Dakota Series Notes
* Eastern is 1-2 all-time against North Dakota, including a 65-47 loss earlier this season in Grand Forks, N.D., which was the first time the two schools have met since EWU moved to NCAA Division I in the 1983-84 season. Eastern hadn’t played North Dakota since Dec. 11, 1982, when EWU lost 75-71 in Grand Forks. A year earlier, the Eagles beat North Dakota 81-72 in Cheney in the only other meeting between the two schools.
* North Dakota went on runs of 8-0 to start the game and 13-0 to begin the second half as the shorthanded Eagles lost 65-47 to UND in a the first-ever Big Sky Conference men’s basketball game between the two schools on Jan. 17 in Grand Forks, N.D. In Eastern’s first trip to Grand Forks since 1982, the Eagles had a season low point total as EWU made just 34 percent of its shots, including a season-worst 13 percent from the 3-point line (3-of-23). Eastern’s 6-foot-10 center Martin Seiferth had14 points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots in just 26 minutes to lead the Eagles, and Venky Jois added his eighth double-double of the season with 12 points and 14 rebounds. Seiferth made 6-of-7 shots from the field after entering the game leading the Big Sky in field goal shooting at 64.9 percent for the season. Jois also added a pair of blocks and two steals. Eastern held North Dakota to 36.7 percent shooting – the sixth-straight game EWU has held its opponent to 44 percent shooting or less. The Eagles were out-rebounded 44-38, and North Dakota forced 16 EWU turnovers leading to a 20-12 advantage in points off turnovers. Eagle true freshman Daniel Hill started at point guard in place of Winford and went scoreless, but he had a season-high five assists, four rebounds and a steal. Sophomore Parker Kelly came off the bench to add eight points and three rebounds.
* Venky Jois has 56 blocked shots this season, breaking the previous school record of 51 set by Paul Butorac in 2006. Jois already ranks eighth on EWU’s career list. In addition, Martin Seiferth has 49 blocks to rank third on EWU’s single season list and 10th on the career chart. With 142 as a team, the Eagles also broke the school record of 130 set in the 2005-06 season. Jois equaled the school record of Seiferth with seven blocked shots against Northern Colorado on Jan. 19. Seiferth broke the previous school record of six that had stood for 25 years when he had seven at Cal State Northridge on Nov. 12.
* Senior guard Jeffrey Forbes broke the school record on Feb. 9 with his 100th game started, breaking the previous record of 99 set by Marc Axton (2002-05). Forbes has played in 116 games to rank third in school history, and could break Axton’s school record of 119 games played. If he doesn’t miss any more games, Forbes will tie the record on Senior Day on March 2 versus North Dakota. The only two games he missed in his career came this season versus North Dakota (1/17/13) because of a knee injury and against Montana State (1/31/13) because of a hand injury. Now a 102-game starter, Forbes has averaged 30.0 minutes per game in his Eastern career. He ranks eighth in school history with 116 career steals, just one from reaching No. 6. He is also third in 3-pointers made (166) and third in attempts (448). He is 17 makes and 51 attempts away from school records. In his career at the free throw line, Forbes has made what would be a school record at 86.0 percent (160-of-186), but he is 46 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 111 career games to rank seventh in school history, and also ranks in the top 10 on several Eastern season and career lists for 3-point shooting. On career charts, his 138 makes and his 409 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 125 3-pointers rank sixth on EWU’s top 10 career list, and his 325 attempts are sixth and his .385 percentage is currently 10th. In the five seasons he has played since his junior year in high school, teams that Chiverton has played on have won 137 of 187 games for a .733 winning percentage. His junior college and high school teams won 114 of 131 games (87 percent).
* 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.
Recent Game Summaries
* The Eagles overcame a 12-point halftime deficit to take the lead with a 16-0 run, but Portland State used its hot shooting to pull away from EWU for an 89-80 Big Sky Conference victory Feb. 18 at the Stott Center in Portland, Ore. Redshirt freshman Tyler Harvey fueled EWU’s comeback with a career-high 23 points, including 17 in the second half and 11 in the 16-0 run. True freshman Venky Jois and sophomore Martin Seiferth each had near double-doubles, with Jois scoring 17 points and grabbing nine rebounds, and Seiferth finishing with 16 points and nine boards. Senior guard Jeffrey Forbes added 17 points, as four Eagles combined for all but seven of EWU’s points. Portland State made 53 percent of its shots in the game, including a blistering 66 percent in the first half when it led by as many as 13. Eastern, meanwhile, made only 36 percent in the first half, but heated up to make 53 percent in the second half. After EWU’s 16-0 run put EWU up by three, the Vikings followed with an 8-2 spurt to take the lead for good with 10:26 to play. Portland State then closed out the win by making 11-of-12 free throws in the final 1:29.In a rematch of a 76-65 Eagle win in Cheney, Wash., on Jan. 28, the Viking victory kept EWU from moving into a five-way tie for fifth in the Big Sky Conference standings.
* Eastern had a 21 percent shooting advantage and rolled past Southern Utah 86-72 Feb. 16 at Reese Court in Cheney, Wash., in a Big Sky Conference men’s basketball game. The eighth-place Eagles made a season-best 53.7 percent of their shots from the field, leading to a season high of 86 points. The third-place Thunderbirds, meanwhile, made only 32.8 percent from the field. Senior Colin Chiverton led the Eagles with 18 points in just 10 minutes of action, and sophomore Parker Kelly had 15. Sophomore Martin Seiferth finished with his second double-double of the season with 13 points, 10 rebounds and four blocked shots. Tyler Harvey, the hero of last Saturday’s come-from-behind 77-74 overtime win at Northern Arizona, chipped in 11 points. Eastern won the rebounding battle 41-40 over a team that ranked second in the league in rebounding margin (+3.9 per game). Although SUU had 16 offensive boards, the Thunderbirds only had a 14-9 edge in second-chance points. Eastern also had a 16-4 advantage in fast-break points.
* Read more at: http://goeags.com/sports/m-baskbl/index
Quoting Coach Jim Hayford
On BracketBuster Game Versus Sam Houston State: “It continues our rivalry between Cheney, Wash., and the suburbs of Houston. We’re looking forward to hosting them, in part because it’s the last BracketBuster match-up. They are one of the better defensive teams in the country and have a really-balanced scoring team. It will be a good opponent for us and it will mean we will go back down to Texas and play them there too. Especially for our team, it gives us a chance to take a breath and play a different kind of game. We are not playing for our postseason life (in that game), and we can use it to make us better. It’s another home game and a chance to win on our home floor. I see a lot of positives in playing this game.”
On Portland State Loss: “If you would have told me we were going to score 80, I would have told you we could win. But if you would have told me they would score 89, I would have said we would have no chance. We came back down 12 at the half, and we went and got the lead. We showed some real positive things in that stretch, but we didn’t get the win. Portland State is playing very well right now, and we are going to need them to beat some teams that are right ahead of us. We need a little help from them and stay a game ahead of them by defending our home court. We need to keep grinding. We didn’t take a step forward, but this just puts a little more pressure on us to defend our home court.”
On Win Over Southern Utah: “There has been so much adversity, but we just keep going. We look to the next man up, and for them to do their job. One of the things I appreciate about our team is through all the adversity, we have kept improving. We have won four of our last six and we are in the fight to get in the Big Sky Tournament. I don’t think there is a lot of difference between the third and eleventh place teams in the Big Sky. We have to keep grinding, and we did that (against SUU). I am really proud of my team.”
On NAU Win: “It’s just a fantastic win for us. When you look at where it puts us in the race to achieve our goal of making the Big Sky Tournament, it’s even more dramatic. So I’m really, really happy for our players. I’m really proud of our team -- what a great day for all of our players. You couldn’t write it up to be any more dramatic.”
On Chiverton & Winford Versus MSU on Jan. 31: “The big thing for us was down the stretch is that we had seniors step up. Kevin was a great defensive rebounder in the second half, and Collin made free throws down the stretch. That’s showing the young guys how to do it. When you get those kinds of contributions it will be fun. It is going to be a lot better result.”
On Venky Jois: “Venky has been our most consistent player. He is a great leader even though he is only a freshman. The biggest compliment (I can give him) is that I expect him to play that way.”
On Kevin Winford & Jeffrey Forbes at MSU: “Kevin and Jeff gave great senior performances to lead and show our team how you play on the road. I just want to give those two young men a lot of credit. They both have amazing personal character, are great guys and they really did lead by example.”
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 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.”