Eagles win opener easily, but task is much more
difficult versus only Pac-12 foe on 2013-14 schedule
Sunday, Nov. 17 - Alaska Airlines Arena
at Hec Edmundson Pavilion (10,000) - Seattle, Wash.
5 p.m. Pacific - Eastern Washington (10-21 last season) at Washington (18-15 last season)
Tuesday, Nov. 19 - Reese Court (5,000)
- Cheney, Wash.
6:05 p.m. Pacific - Walla Walla (6-22 last season) at Eastern Washington (10-21 last season)
Shows are Tuesdays from Nov. 26 to Dec. 17 and Mondays Jan. 6 to
March 10 (no shows Jan. 27 and Feb. 24), and feature head coach
Jim Hayford and host Larry Weir.
The Swinging Doors is located at W. 1018 Francis in Spokane. Shows
are broadcast on 700-AM ESPN, www.700espn.com & via iphone app.
(search for “Spokane Radio” and download
TV: The Washington game is broadcast on the
Webcast: The Walla Walla game may be watched via: http://www.watchbigsky.com
Radio: All Eastern games are on 700-AM ESPN in Spokane. Larry Weir returns for his 21st 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: www.gohuskies.com/liveStats/liveStats.dbml (UW game); ewulive.statb.us (web/EWU Home Games) or ewustats.com (mobile phones/EWU Home Games)
While the Huskies are busy playing, the Eagles are waiting in the wings.
The Eastern Washington University men’s basketball team plays its second game of the season this Sunday (Nov. 17) when the Eagles travel to Seattle to play at the University of Washington for the first time in Jim Hayford’s tenure as EWU head coach. Tipoff is at 5 p.m. Pacific time at Alaska Airlines Arena in a game televised by the Pac-12 Networks and broadcast live on 700-AM ESPN.
Eastern is coming off a wire-to-wire 87-58 victory over Pacific on Nov. 10 in Cheney, Wash., while the Huskies picked up an 88-78 win over Seattle University. The Huskies play again on Thursday (Nov. 14) against UC Irvine, a team EWU will play on Nov. 24 in Irvine, Calif., and at home in Cheney on Dec. 15.
The Huskies, who also beat Central Washington 95-65 in an exhibition game on Nov. 6, were 18-16 a year ago overall and 9-9 in one of the toughest leagues in the country. The Eagles return four starters and seven total letterwinners to a team that finished 10-21 overall and just missed the Big Sky Conference Tournament with a 7-13 league mark. Hayford enters his third season at the helm.
“It will be the first time since I have been the head coach that we have played the Huskies and traveled over to Seattle,” said Eastern head coach Jim Hayford. “It is always a neat challenge to see how we stack up against the larger schools in the state.”
The Eagles are 1-11 all-time against Washington, and lost 97-72 the last time the two teams played in 2010. Eastern, with no seniors on its team, does not have any players on its current roster who played against UW in 2010. Eastern beat the Huskies in Seattle 62-58 in 2002, but has lost the seven meetings since then.
“Our players are really eager and are looking forward to the challenge of going and seeing how they stack up against the University of Washington,” said Hayford. “It will be their third home game in a week. We have a week to prepare for them, and I really feel like my team is going to go up there and make Eastern Washington fans proud of their effort. We are not going over there with anything else in mind than finding a way to win.”
After the Washington game, EWU hosts Walla Walla the following Tuesday (Nov. 19) at 6 p.m. Then it’s off to Irvine, Calif., to play in the 2K Sports Classic, where Eastern will play three games in three days from Nov. 22-24.
The Eagles play Boston University, LIU Brooklyn and UC Irvine – teams which had a collective record of 58-43 (57 percent) a year ago, and were 34-18 (65 percent) in their respective leagues.
West Coach Conference powerhouse Saint Mary’s, which was 28-7 overall and 14-2 in the WCC in 2008, will usher in an equally difficult month of December when EWU travels to Moraga, Calif., on Dec. 8.
PDF Link to Fact Book
The complete version of the 2013-14 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:// http://www.goeags.com/tickets
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
* Eastern returns four starters and seven total letterwinners from last year’s team, which finished 10-21 overall and 7-13 in the 11-team Big Sky under head coach Jim Hayford, who is in his third year at the helm of a squad with no seniors. A year ago, Eastern finished with four wins in its last eight outings, but came up short in qualifying for the seven-team Big Sky Conference Tournament. However, three of those late losses included an overtime loss to UNC, a four-point setback to North Dakota and an eight-point loss at Weber State.
* Venky Jois, the Freshman of the Year in the Big Sky Conference a year ago, finished with 22 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, three blocked shots and three steals in EWU’s season-opening 87-58 win over Pacific. He had 16 points and eight rebounds in the second half alone as EWU turned a 15-point halftime lead into a 29-point runaway. He had nine double-doubles as a freshman to rank among the leaders in NCAA Division I.
* Junior college transfer Drew Brandon, the lone newcomer to the starting lineup against Pacific, was impressive in his Eagle debut. He finished with 14 points, six assists, six rebounds and five steals. He helped engineer a 24-5 advantage in fast-break points for the Eagles, as well as a 27-7 domination in points off turnovers.
* Beside Jois and Brandon, EWU’s other three starters scored in double figures. Junior guard Parker Kelly scored 12 of his points in the first half, and finished with 15 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the field. Sophomore guard Tyler Harvey added 13 points, five assists and three steals. Six-foot-10 junior Martin Seiferth chipped in 10 points and three blocked shots as he led EWU’s commanding 54-24 advantage in points in the paint. The Eagles led from start to finish, taking early leads of 13-5, 20-8 and 25-11. Eastern led 42-27 at halftime, and kept building its lead in the second half, ending the game on a 9-0 run.
* Eastern’s remaining non-conference home games include Walla Walla (Nov. 19), Seattle (Nov. 29) and UC Irvine (Dec. 15). Big Sky Conference play begins on the road, but the Eagles host Montana in their league home opener on Jan. 9. Home games will begin at 6:05 p.m. Pacific time for weekday games and Sunday and Saturday games will start at 2:05 p.m.
* In all, Eastern’s 2013-14 schedule includes 10 games versus six 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. Three appeared in the NCAA Tournament – LIU Brooklyn (Nov. 23 in Irvine), Saint Mary’s (Dec. 8 on the road) and Montana (Jan. 9 at home and Feb. 8 on the road). UC Irvine (Dec. 15 at home and Nov. 24 in Irvine) played in the College Basketball Invitational Tournament, and won a game before falling in the quarterfinals. The other three postseason opponents on EWU’s schedule were also in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT). Weber State (Jan. 2 on the road and March 8 at home) won four games to advance to the championship, where it lost to East Carolina 77-74. North Dakota (Jan. 30 at home and March 1 on the road) played in the first round, as did Boston University (Nov. 22 at UC Irvine Tournament).
* The schedule also features a trip to the East Coast to play Connecticut and Seton Hall. Connecticut finished 20-10 overall and 10-8 in the Big East Conference last season, while Seton Hall was 15-18 overall and 3-15 in the league. However, Seton Hall and six other teams in the so-called “Catholic 7” broke off from the league, but will retain the Big East tag. The remaining Big East teams, plus others in the expanded conference, will now be named the American Athletic Conference.
* Eastern has been picked to finish fifth by the coaches and sixth by the media in preseason polls announced by the Big Sky Conference on Oct. 17. EWU was picked to finish behind preseason pick Weber State, North Dakota, Montana and Northern Colorado in the coaches’ poll. The media picked Montana State to finish in fifth just ahead of the Eagles. Weber State was picked to win the league in both polls.
* Eastern will be trying for its third Big Sky Conference Tournament berth in the last four years in 2013-14, and its 13th in 27 years as a member of the league. Eastern has 12 previous appearances (1990, 98, 99, 2000, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 11, 12).
* The Big Sky Conference Tournament will take place March 13-15 at the site of the regular season champion. For the second-straight year, 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.
* The Eagles hope a more experienced team will translate to winning more of the close games they lost in the 2012-13 season. Nine of EWU’s losses were one-possession games with less than four minutes remaining, and the Eagles finished 6-10 in games decided by 10 points or less.
* Hayford won for the 279th time in his 400th game as a collegiate coach on March 7 when the Eagles beat Idaho State 87-73. He entered the 2013-14 season with a 279-122 (69.6 percent) record in 14 seasons as a head coach, including a 25-38 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.).
Quoting Coach Hayford
On Pacific Win: “We had balanced scoring with all our players, and our starters all had double figures. We took care of the ball, we only had 10 turnovers, we shot a good percentage and we got the ball out in transition. We looked like a team that is moving towards having the right identity.”
On Focus of Practice: “We are just going to keep establishing our team identity and our roles. I hate to keep going back to it, but all these guys are going to be playing with each other for the next two years. We don’t have any seniors. We are in the process of focusing on what our identity is, how can we play together to the best to our abilities and how we can keep pushing towards that. We don’t necessarily (focus just on) our opponent, but right now we are trying to be the best we can be and what is the best each individual can do.”
On Team Identity: “Our identity is that as we are going to play smart and hard basketball, and we are going to do it together. You are going to see an unselfish team that lays it out on the court every night and plays like the band of brothers they are. The biggest difference (from last season) is our players are all a little bit older. We were Eagles that were barely out of the nest last year, and now we can fly a little bit.”
On This Year’s Eagle Team: “We have a great chemistry – they really like each other. A year ago they didn’t know one another. They have been living life together and they do a lot of things as a group. They enjoy spending time with one another, and I think that will spill over into on-court success.”
On New Point Guard Drew Brandon: “Drew has responded well. He’s eager to lead and he loves the game of basketball. He’s mature, and I think we will be pleased with how Drew adjusts to this group of players. He’s skilled and is a good basketball player. We’re excited he’s on our team.”
On November Schedule: “The early season schedule is tough when you look at it. When you play the Huskies it is a big challenge. I am really excited to play in the tournament down in Irvine because we are getting to play three other mid-major schools that were picked at the top of their leagues similar to a Weber State or a Montana in our league. It is going to let us know how we hold up against what the top of our league looks like. There are no schools on our schedule that look like the bottom or the middle of our league in terms of our non-conference schedule, but that is only going to prepare us more.”
On Playing at UConn and Seton Hall: “The East Coast trip jumps out at you -- it is an excellent opportunity for our guys to see a different part of the country and to experience playing against one of the nation’s elite programs. I know the guys are looking forward to that trip.”
On Big Sky Conference Race: “I think the Big Sky Conference is going to be more difficult -- there are many teams returning solid rosters. We have a very challenging preseason that will prepare us for a great conference season.”
On Competitiveness of Big Sky: “There were a number of close games. That is part of being in a competitive conference. The hard part about experience is getting it. Hopefully we got it, and we will win more than our fair share of those close games this year. I do like that our guys found ways to win some of those last year.”
On Playing Difficult Schedule: “You cannot be afraid of a tough schedule playing these bigger schools regardless of the outcome. You just focus on it making you better and better. I think we have a non-conference schedule that will put us in the fire. It will refine us, make us stronger and prepare us for Big Sky play. That is what this year’s schedule is, so we embrace it.”
EWU-UW Series Notes
* The Eagles are 1-11 all-time against Washington. Coupled with an 11-55 record versus Washington State and an 0-11 record against other members of the Pac-12, the Eagles have a 12-77 record all-time against that league. Since Eastern moved to NCAA Division I in the 1983-84 season, EWU is 2-36.
* Eastern’s lone victory over the Huskies was 62-58 in December 2002. Washington won the previous four meetings which all took place between December 1989 and December 1996. The last time two schools played each other was on Nov. 16, 2010, and EWU fell 98-78.
* Last season, Eastern lost 88-69 at Washington State for its 16th-straight loss to current teams from that league. The year before, Eastern lost 73-65 to Oregon, 79-49 to Washington State and then 60-47 to UCLA.
* Eastern’s win at Washington in the 2002-03 season snapped a five-game losing streak versus Pacific 10 Conference opponents dating back to Eastern’s 83-82 overtime win versus Washington State on Dec. 22, 1997, in Kennewick, Wash. That victory over WSU was Eastern’s first-ever victory over a Pacific 8 or Pacific 10 Conference opponent since the inception of the conference in 1968. It was also Eastern’s first win over Washington State since Dec. 1, 1952, when the Eagles pulled out a 72-71 overtime road win, which is EWU’s last win in Pullman in the series. The Cougars had led the all-time series 50-10 and had won 17-straight games over the Eagles prior to that EWU victory in 1997.
* Against new members of the Pac-12, the Eagles are 0-2. Eastern has lost twice to Colorado (79-61 on Dec. 18, 1999 and 87-67 on Dec. 2, 1994) and has never played Utah. Eastern has also never played Arizona State or Stanford.
Here is a list of the previous meetings against Washington:
12/13/89 - L - Washington - 58-74 - A
11/25/94 - L - Washington - 48-64 - A
11/28/95 - L - Washington - 55-74 - H
12/29/96 - L - Washington - 54-81 - A
12/14/02 - W - Washington - 62-58 - A
11/29/03 - L - Washington - 91-104 - A
12/05/04 - L - Washington - 56-89 - A
12/16/05 - L - Washington - 74-91 - A
11/24/06 - L - Washington - 83-90 - A
11/18/07 - L - Washington - 68-82 - A
12/20/08 - L - Washington - 50-83 - A
11/16/10 - L - Washington - 72-98 - A