Butorac Leads Eagles to First Win

Nov. 18, 2006

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Eastern senior Paul Butorac had a career day with 20 points, 22 rebounds and five blocked shots as Eastern Washington surged past Lewis-Clark State 85-70 Saturday (Nov. 18) in a non-conference men's basketball game at Reese Court in Cheney, Wash.

It was Eastern's first win in three tries after falling to Gonzaga and UNLV to open the season. Lewis-Clark State, a NAIA school from Lewiston, Idaho, fell to 2-3.

Butorac did much of his damage in the second half when the Eagles used a 15-1 run to break open a close game. A 6-foot-10 product of nearby Medical Lake, Wash., Butorac's rebounds and blocked shots were both the second-most in school history.

Sophomore Rodney Stuckey led the Eagles in scoring with 33 points as he has now led EWU in scoring in 30-straight games.

"(Paul) Butorac played great for us today," said Eagle head coach Mike Burns. "He gave us the second best rebounding game and second best blocking game in EWU history. Butorac and (Rodney) Stuckey both played like captains should play."

Butorac's rebounding performance was Eastern's best in nearly 35 years since Dave Hayden had a school-record 28 against Oregon Tech on Jan. 15, 1972. He equaled his career high for blocks as he came one from the school record of six set by Dexter Griffen against Idaho State on Jan. 2, 1987.

Now with 77 blocked shots in his career, he needs just two more to set the school record. He ranks second in school history behind the record of 79 held by Chris White (1998-00).

Junior transfer Marcus Hinton came off the bench to add 13 points, with all of those coming in the second half. He was 0-of-2 with three turnovers in the first half, but 3-of-6 from the field and 6-of-7 from the free throw line with no turnovers in the second half.

"Marcus Hinton is excellent at driving to the hole," praise Burns. "When he gets to the lane he can finish, and that's what he did tonight. His performance was great for us."

Stuckey, who scored 21 of his points in the first half, played the first 39 minutes of the game before coming out when the game was well in hand. Three players -- Omar Krayem, Brandon Moore and Kellen Williams -- sat out the game for violation of team rules.

"We were a little short-handed on the bench tonight so I gave Rodney the opportunity to play as long as he wanted with the option of pulling himself out when he felt necessary," said Burns. "Rodney's a tough kid and he sucked it up for 39 minutes and gave us a tremendous performance."

Butorac and Stuckey combined for 18-of-28 shooting from the field, but the rest of the team was just 10-of-34. Eastern out-rebounded L-C State 45-33.

Eastern also had 20 turnovers, giving them 62 in three games thus far. Eastern has now allowed 69 points off turnovers in those three games.

"Having three of our players out of the game tonight definitely impacted the team," said Burns. "I felt like we didn't get the offensive push that we would normally get out of this team. It always impacts your team when something like this happens. But we were able to work through it as a team and win the game."

Eastern led by as many as 11 in the first 5 1/2 minutes of the game, but EWU turnovers helped keep L-C State in the game. The Warriors eventually took a 26-25 lead, but EWU out-scored them 16-7 the rest of the half to take a 41-33 lead at intermission.

Lewis-Clark State tied the game at 47 with 14:02 to play, and trailed by just three at 54-51 at the 11:15 mark. But Hinton scored 10 of Eastern's points in the decisive 15-1 run, including a three-point play with 7:38 left in the game that gave Eastern a 69-52 lead.

The Eagles led by no less than 11 the rest of the way, and held their largest lead at 19.

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