November 24, 2007

Eagles Use Another Big Second Half in Victory

Nov. 24, 2007

Final Stats

Anchorage, Alaska -

The Eastern Washington University men's basketball team had yet another second-half comeback, but this time, the Eagles didn't come up short.

Eastern picked-up its first victory in six all-time games at the Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout in Anchorage, Alaska, with a 64-62 victory over host Alaska-Anchorage Saturday (Nov. 24) at Sullivan Arena.

The Eagles went on a 19-4 run to overcome a three-point halftime deficit and open a 12-point lead, but then had to hold off a furious rally by the Seawolves. Eastern scored just five points in the last 5:50 of the game, but the Eagles never gave up the lead as Alaska-Anchorage missed three shots in the final 11 seconds that could have won the game or sent it to overtime.

Senior Kellen Williams had his second double-double of the season with 13 points and 11 rebounds to earn tournament player of the game accolades. Six-foot-9 sophomore center Brandon Moore made all six of his shots from the field and finished with 15 points. Three other Eagles -- Adris DeLeon, Trey Gross and Milan Stanojevic -- each had nine points and three assists.

Eastern made a season-best 47 percent of its shots from the field, including 9-of-21 three-point shots. Eastern is now 1-5 in two appearances in the Great Alaska Shootout, having gone 0-3 just two seasons ago. Eastern captured seventh place by winning Saturday's consolation game against Alaska-Anchorage.

The Eagles are now 2-5 this season while the Seawolves fell to 2-3. After playing six of their first seven games on the road, the Eagles now return home for a rare game at Reese Court in Cheney, Wash. Eastern hosts a tough 3-1 Santa Clara team on Thursday (11/29) at 7 p.m.

Against the Seawolves, Eastern fell behind at halftime for the seventh time in seven games this season, but this time it was a just a three-point deficit at 26-23. But Eastern followed another trend by rallying in the second half.

Eastern has now been outscored in the first half 246-159. In the second half, Eastern has been outscored by just four points, 239-235, with advantages after intermission in four of seven games.

Kellen Williams led the Eagles with seven points and seven rebounds in the first half, then hit a pair of three-pointers in EWU's 19-4 run to start the second half. DeLeon and Gross also had treys in the run as EWU took a 42-30 advantage with 15:26 to play on a two-point basket by DeLeon.

The 12-point lead represented the largest of the year for the Eagles. The previous best was a nine-point advantage in Eastern's win over UC Riverside on Nov. 15.

But Alaska-Anchorage chipped into the lead, particularly after Moore hit a basket to give EWU a 59-49 advantage with 5:50 left. Eventually UAA pulled to within 64-62 with 1:23 left.

However, Eastern kept the Seawolves from scoring again. After a UAA three-point miss with 11 seconds left, the Eagles gave the Seawolves a second and third chance after Moore missed the front end of a one-plus-one bonus opportunity with five seconds left.

Carl Arts led the Seawolves with 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting. Point guard Luke Cooper had 13 assists after getting 10 one game earlier against Western Kentucky to break the Great Northwest Athletic Conference record. He now has a current total of 617.

Santa Clara, Eastern's opponent next Thursday, is in the midst of a seven-game road stretch that includes a Sunday (Nov. 25) game at Sacramento State. The Broncos opened the season with a 66-49 home win over Cal State Monterey Bay, won at Simpson University 82-55 and then lost at Nevada 67-54. On Nov. 19, the Broncos recorded a 72-57 triumph at Utah to improve to 3-1.

Six-foot-10 senior center John Bryant led Santa Clara through the first four games with averages of 23.0 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. Six-foot-2 guard Calvin Johnson had a 17.5 scoring average heading into the Sac State game.

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