Eagles Prepare For 2006-07 Campaign with Dominating Performance

Nov. 4, 2006

Box Score

The Eastern Washington University men's basketball team prepared for the 2006-07 regular-season campaign in dominating fashion, outscoring Northwest Nazarene, 98-55, in an exhibition game played Saturday afternoon (Nov. 4).

"We came out and played pretty well," preseason All-American Rodney Stuckey said. "There were times when I think we let up, but overall it was a good game. It was nice to play a different team tonight instead of just beating up each other in practice. There is a lot of stuff for us to improve on, so we will watch film and go back to practice, work hard and be ready to play at our best on Friday (versus Gonzaga)."

Eastern Washington was able to give the majority of its squad work in the contest, as 10 different players saw at least 15 minutes of playing time and nobody was in the game for more than 25 minutes.

"We are going to play a lot of people this year," head coach Mike Burns said. "Other than (redshirt) Chris Sprinker, everyone is going to play. If we gain the understanding of how hard we have to play, then we will be able to play 10 people."

Derek Risper led the contest in both scoring (22 points on 8-of-9 shooting) and rebounding (eight).

"I wanted to come out today and try to be a leader on the court," Risper said. "We got better as a team today, and now we just have to keep practicing hard this coming week and get better every day until we play Gonzaga."

Four other players also contributed double-digit point totals, including Stuckey (18), Brandon Moore (12), Kellen Williams (11) and Matt Penoncello (10). Williams also pulled down seven boards, while Paul Butorac had five.

"I thought Risper's effort tonight was phenomenal," Burns said. "When we are getting 22 points from Derek Risper on 8-of-9 shooting and then we're getting 12 points on 4-of-4 shooting from Brandon Moore - those guys combining to go 12-of-13 on the day - I think that's pretty good production. Derek was phenomenal, though; he energized the defense with some steals and was a force on the offensive glass. He was very good tonight.

"Rodney Stuckey has scored in double figures every time he has stepped on the court, so you always know what to expect from him. He's a special player who does special things."

As a team, Eastern Washington hit most of its shots, recording a 58.3 shooting percentage, while holding the Crusaders, an NCAA Division II institution, to 37.3 percent shooting.

The Eagles pulled away, when, with 13:11 remaining in the first half, EWU proceeded to score the next 21 points over a period of just under seven minutes to take an insurmountable 39-12 lead. The closest that NNU would get the rest of the contest was 23 points, which came a few minutes later at 41-18. Eastern's largest lead of the contest of 45 was reached twice, at 80-35 and just before the conclusion of the contest at 98-53.

Eastern Washington now sets its sights on local rival Gonzaga, which is the first team listed under "others receiving votes" in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll released last week. The game will be played at Gonzaga's McCarthey Athletic Center after being played the past four years at Spokane Arena. The squads have played each other at least once every season since the 1977-78 campaign.

Last season, the Eagles nearly pulled off a stunning win over the eighth-ranked Bulldogs in front of 11,879 before falling, 75-65. Eastern was down by only three, 65-62, with 3:45 left in the contest before Gonzaga pulled away. The Bulldogs have now won 19 straight meetings with the last EWU victory coming by a 70-55 score in 1989-90.

Tip-off for the game will be at 5:05 p.m. on Friday (Nov. 10).

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