Eagles Take on Southern Utah Size in Cedar City

With three-game homestand on the horizon, Eastern nears end of the first half of the league season on the road against Big Sky foe with all five starters 6-2 or taller

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Upcoming Games

Saturday, Jan. 26 - Centrum (5,300) - Cedar City, Utah
6:05 p.m. Pacific - Eastern Washington (2-6/4-14) at Southern Utah

Monday, Jan. 28 - Reese Court (5,000) - Cheney, Wash.
6:05 p.m. Pacific - Portland State at Eastern Washington


Coaches Show

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.


TV: None for the SUU game; The Portland State game is televised live in the Eastern Washington region on SWX (SWX Digital 6.2 in Spokane, 25.3 in the Tri-Cities & 23.3 in the Yakima area; Comcast 115; Davis Cable 514/81.2/12; Time Warner 306; Charter 287, Cable One 466; Northland Cable 115)
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) . . . SOUTHERN UTAH GAME

The Eastern Washington University men’s basketball team has a sizeable challenge on its hands this week.

The Eagles take on the Big Sky Conference leader in rebounding and blocked shots when they travel to Cedar City, Utah, to face Southern Utah in the first-ever Big Sky Conference meeting between the two schools. Tipoff Saturday (Jan. 26) is 6:05 p.m. Pacific time at the Centrum.

Eastern will be trying to snap a three-game losing streak and record its first win since putting together an impressive performance on Jan. 10 in a 60-53 home win over Northern Arizona. The Eagles are 4-14 on the season and 2-6 in the league, and will return home after the SUU game for three-straight home games, starting on Monday, Jan. 28 versus Portland State. The game versus the Vikings will end the first half of the Big Sky season for the Eagles.

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’s game against Portland State will also televised live in the Eastern Washington region on SWX.

Although the Eagles are currently in last place in the league standings, they are just two games out of third. Southern Utah entered its game at Montana State on Monday (Jan. 21) with a four-game losing streak, a 3-4 league mark and a 5-11 record overall. The Eagle-Thunderbird matchup will be just the fourth meeting between the two schools, and first since Jan. 10, 1994.

With a starting lineup that goes 6-foot-2, 6-3, 6-4, 6-8 and 6-11, the Thunderbirds are perhaps the biggest team in the Big Sky. Southern Utah leads the league and ranks 20th in NCAA Division I in blocked shots (5.4 per game), and are first in the league in rebounds per game (38.0) and second in rebounding margin (+4.7). The team’s biggest player is 6-foot-11, 250-pound Jason Cheesman, who averages 6.8 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.31 blocked shots per game (second in the Big Sky and 37th nationally).

 “They are really, really big,” said Eastern head coach Jim Hayford. “But every game in this league is a challenge and we need to hunt out wins, look to get better and play well for a whole 40 minutes. Those are the things we need to do.”

Eastern’s starting lineup, when it goes big, is 5-10, 5-11, 6-6, 6-7, 6-10, but includes two true freshmen and a sophomore. The Eagles rank 10th in the league in rebounding margin (-4.9), and are coming off a performance in which it allowed 18 offensive rebounds and 16 second-chance points in a 72-56 loss at Northern Colorado.

Eastern is fourth in the league in offensive rebounds (11.6), but SUU is one spot ahead of them in third (11.7). With 6-7 forward Venky Jois leading the way, the Eagles have averaged 5.3 blocked shots per game to rank 23rd nationally and second in the Big Sky right behind the Thunderbirds. Jois leads the league in both blocked shots (2.33, 35th nationally) and rebounding (9.4, 31st).

Jois has played superbly in league play thus far, making 53 percent of his shots and averaging 13.4 points, 9.3 rebounds, 3.6 blocked shots, 2.0 assists and 1.0 steals per game. Six-foot-10 Martin Seiferth has made 68 percent of his shots and has averaged 7.9 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.0 blocked shots in eight league games thus far. Although there are some bumps in the road now, Hayford knows the sky is the limit for those two young players as they continued to develop in EWU’s program.

“We are getting out-physicaled a little bit – there’s no other way to say it,” said Hayford. “We need to get bigger, stronger and tougher – we need to spend time in the weight room, keep growing and get used to college basketball.”

The Eagles have enjoyed halftime leads in four of their last five games, and that has pleased Hayford.

“What encourages is me that we are coming out of the gate and playing with an identity,” he said. “We just need to hold that identity through the whole 40 minutes.”

The Eagles have enjoyed halftime leads in eight games this season, but have lost five of them. Hayford is hoping for more complete efforts like the one Eastern had versus NAU when the Eagles had a season-high 18-point lead at intermission, then led by as many as 25 in the second half. The 23-point winning margin was Eastern’s best of the season after winning its other three games by a collective 12 points -- five, four and three points.

 “We spend the days in preparation – we show them video and say we are going to do this and we are going to do that -- and we do pretty good,” he said of his team’s impressive starts. “We’re executing, but when they make adjustments, that’s when you have to adjust. We just need time with the players and repetitions to make sure that can be done.”


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


Quick Shots

* Eastern has held its last seven opponents to 44 percent or less shooting from the field -- a collective 38.4 percent. EWU is now 4-3 when it holds opponents to 43.5 percent or less and 0-11 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 NAU to 34.9 percent in the next game. North Dakota won on Jan. 17, but managed only 36.7 percent shooting against the Eagles. Northern Colorado won by 16 on Jan. 19, but made only 38.3 percent from the field.

* Recently, true freshman Venky Jois 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 December. The forward from Boronia, Australia, has had eight double-doubles this season to rank 16th in NCAA Division I (through games of Jan. 20). 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 12 points, 14 rebounds, two blocked shots and two steals in his most recent double-double versus North Dakota on Jan. 17. 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 34.2 minutes, 13.1 points, 9.4 rebounds, 2.3 blocked shots, 1.1 steals and 1.6 assists per game. He leads the league in rebounding and ranks 31th in NCAA Division I (through Jan. 20), and he is also first in the league and 35th nationally with an average of 2.33 blocked shots per game. 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.

* Six-foot-10 sophomore Martin Seiferth is second in the Big Sky Conference in field goal percentage, making 63.6 percent of his shots from the field. Thus far, Seiferth is averaging 8.1 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.7 blocked shots per game. 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.

* 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 954 points in his 109-game Eastern career, needs only 46 points to become the 16th player in school history to hit the 1,000-point mark. Currently seventh in career games played, he could break Marc Axton’s (2002-05) school record of 119 games played. Forbes has averaged 30.7 minutes per game in his Eastern career with 98 starts. He ranks eighth in school history wit­­­h 113 career steals, and is also third in 3-pointers made (164) and fourth in attempts (434). Winford has started 39 of the 104 games he has played (13th-most games played in school history), averaging 18.6 minutes per game. He has made 126-of-373 3-pointers in his career to rank fifth in school history in both categories, with a total of 635 points scored.

* Senior Collin Chiverton 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. Chiverton scored just 15 points in EWU’s first three outings, but has bumped his average to 10.3 for the season. He had a season-best 22 points against Northern Arizona on for the 13th 20-point performance of his career, and his best since a career-high 26 against Seattle on Jan. 16, 2012. Foul trouble hindered him early in the 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. A year ago, he had 12 20-point performances, but was slowed late in the year with injuries.

* After leading NCAA Division I in 3-pointers made per game through games of Nov. 30, Eastern is now ninth through games of Jan. 20. The Eagles are averaging a league-leading 8.8 makes per game while attempting an average of 25.8.  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 is second in the Big Sky Conference in blocked shots with 96 already for an average of 5.3 per game to rank 23rd in NCAA Division I. Individual Eagles are ranked No. 1 and No. 4 in the league, with Venky Jois averaging 2.3 per game to rank 35th in NCAA Division I and Martin Seiferth averaging 1.7 to rank 93rd. The Eagles had a school-record 130 in the 2005-06 season (4.3 average per game).

* The Eagles are fourth in the Big Sky in offensive rebounds with an average of 11.6 per game (Sacramento State and Montana State are first at 11.9, with Southern Utah third at 11.7). Martin Seiferth has a 2.4 average and Venky Jois is averaging 2.3 to rank fourth 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 nine in school history in career 3-pointers made. Jeffrey Forbes is third (164), Kevin Winford is fifth (126) and Collin Chiverton is eighth (113). In attempts, Forbes is fourth (434), Winford (373) is fifth and Chiverton is 10th (289), and Chiverton is also 10th in career 3-point field goal percentage (39.1).

* Eastern’s game versus Montana on Saturday, Feb. 2 will be Alumni Appreciation Night, and includes free tickets for alumni if registered by Jan. 31. The event includes alumni basket drawings, a team tunnel spirit lineup at halftime for children ages 4-16, a family concession bundle (four hot dogs and four sodas for $20) and a post-game poster-signing session with players. In addition, the EWU Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) will have a “Furry Friends Round-Up” that night to provide new or gently used stuffed animals to local children’s organizations. The game begins at 6:05 p.m. Pacific time, and registration for the event is available at: http://alumni.ewu.edu/events.

* With the league expanded to 11 teams, the Big Sky Conference Tournament includes seven teams this year and will take place Dec. 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

* The Eagles played the game North Dakota game on Jan. 17 without a pair of senior starters who were injured the day before in Grand Forks in an accident involving one of EWU’s team mini-vans. Senior starting point guard Kevin Winford (concussion) and senior shooting guard Jeffrey Forbes (knee) sat out, and Winford also sat out the Northern Colorado game two days later.

* Entering the Sac State game on Jan. 12, Eastern was coming off three of its five best shooting efforts of the season, including a season-best 50.0 percent in an 82-59 win over Northern Arizona two nights earlier. The Eagles looked like they would be well on their way toward another high percentage with a 52 percent first half, but made only 8-of-28 in the second half for 29 percent and finished at 40 percent for the game. Against North Dakota on Jan. 17, the Eagles made one of its first seven, 12 of its next 24 and then missed 21 of 28 shots in the second half to finish at 34 percent (second-worst of the season). In its most recent game, Eastern made 38 percent versus Northern Colorado.

* En route to a season-best 50.0 percent shooting night against Northern Arizona on Jan. 10 in an 82-59 win, Eastern had a season-high 44 points inside the paint and a season-high 20 second-chance points. The Eagles had 17 offensive boards and out-rebounded the Lumberjacks 49-37.

* Eastern’s 40-22 lead at halftime against Northern Arizona on Jan. 10 was easily its biggest halftime advantage of the season, having owned an 11-point lead at intermission against Utah Valley in November. But the loss to Utah Valley – as well as losses to Idaho on Dec. 6, Montana State on Jan. 5 and Sacramento State on Jan. 12 – came after EWU held double-digit second-half advantages. Eastern is now 3-5 when trailing or tied at halftime, and 1-9 when it trails.

* As an illustration of their balance, the Eagles had six double figure scoring performances on the road at Montana and Montana State, but none were by the same player. Against the Grizzlies on Jan. 3, Venky Jois led the way with 16, with Collin Chiverton and Thomas Reuter coming off the bench to score 15 and 14, respectively. Two nights later at MSU, senior starters Jeffrey Forbes and Kevin Winford scored 18 and 13, respectively, and sophomore starter Martin Seiferth had 11.

* Since becoming eligible in mid-December, Australian point guard Daniel Hill has averaged 1.8 points, 1.7 assists and 1.6 rebounds per game in an average of 17.0 minutes per game (eight total games). He 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. 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.

* Senior point guard Kevin Winford had his most productive outing in two years when he finished with 13 points (on 3-of-3 shooting from the 3-point stripe) and six assists in EWU’s 70-68 overtime loss at Montana State on Jan. 5. Winford had his most points 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). 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.

* 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 at the time was EWU’s best defensive effort of the season.

* 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 9.2 points per game in his last 12 games after scoring just 10 in the first five games he played. For the season, he is now averaging 7.1 points and 1.0 assists per game, while making 25-of-69 3-point shots for 36.2 percent.

* 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. Southern Utah Series Notes

* This is the first Big Sky Conference meeting between the two schools, and first overall since Jan. 10, 1994. Eastern won that game at home, 69-65, but had lost the previous three meetings against the Thunderbirds. Eastern lost in Cedar City 87-67 on Feb. 17, 1993, 70-68 in Cheney on Dec. 21, 1993 and 71-50 in Cedar City on Dec. 28, 1993.


EWU vs. Portland State Series Notes

* Since Eastern became a member of NCAA Division I in the 1983-84 season, the Eagles are now 17-17 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 6-10 against PSU in Portland (0-1 on neutral courts) since then.

* The Vikings, who won 78-76 in overtime in the 2011-12 season in Cheney and 69-64 in Portland, has a 20-18 edge in the overall series. Eastern owns a 12-7 record in Cheney and 6-12 mark in Portland (0-1 on neutral courts) against the Vikings.

* Despite losing eight of the last nine meetings, the Eagles have still won 15 of the last 27 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.


Records Watch

* Senior guard Jeffrey Forbes has played in 109 games to rank seventh in school history, and could break Marc Axton’s (2002-05) school record of 119 games played. A 98-game starter, Forbes has averaged 30.7 minutes per game in his Eastern career. He ranks eighth in school history wit­­­h 113 career steals, just four from reaching No. 6. He is also third in 3-pointers made (164) and fourth in attempts (434). He is 20 makes and 65 attempts away from school records. In his career at the free throw line, Forbes has made what would be a school record at 87.9 percent (152-of-173), but he is 45 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 104 career games, and is just two 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 126 makes and his 373 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 113 3-pointers rank eighth on EWU’s top 10 career list, and his 289 attempts are 10th and his .391 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 133 of 181 games for a .735 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 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 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 have 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. “He had his pinky finger almost ripped off, so he wasn’t able to play down the stretch,” said Eastern head coach Jim Hayford. “We’ll get it all figured out.”

* 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.

* Read more at: http://goeags.com/sports/m-baskbl/index


Quoting Coach Jim Hayford

On North Dakota Loss, Including 38-18 Advantage by UND in Second Half: “With the adversity we were going through, I thought our guys did really well. We had control of the game in the first half and made it a game that was winnable. In the second half, North Dakota was fired up and we didn’t match their intensity. When you take a couple of punches, you don’t fold – that’s when you get tougher. We have to get our players to a place with their confidence where they know if they work hard enough, good things will come. We did have some players who kept their heads up and kept fighting, and I have to recognize them for that effort.”

On Victory Over NAU & Having Collin Chiverton Back: “I do think we are coming together. Not having Collin for that whole month slowed our development, but he’s back, and he is going to have a good finish to his senior year. (Against Northern Arizona) Collin looked like he did last year when he was at his best. What I like the most is seeing him play with a smile on his face and enjoying basketball.”

On Defense Versus NAU: “Our senior guards did a really good job in the backcourt on (Gabe) Rogers and (DeWayne) Russell, so give Forbes and Winford credit. All summer Collin told us he could be a lock-down defender, so give him credit. He did a really good job. I thought Collin’s size really bothered Russell.”

On Kevin Winford & Jeffrey Forbes Versus 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.”


Additional Season Notes

* 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.

* 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 letterwinners (not including redshirts), the Eagles 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.

* Eastern finished 15-17 overall and was 8-8 in Big Sky Conference play to finish fourth in the 2011-12 season, 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.

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