November 10, 2008

Eagles Officially Open Season at Illinois

Nov. 10, 2008

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Still anxiously awaiting the season debuts of a pair of projected starters, the Eastern Washington University men’s basketball team will officially open the 2008-09 season against Illinois of the Big Ten Conference Friday (Nov. 14). Tipoff at Assembly Hall in Champaign, Ill., is 6:30 p.m. Pacific time in a game broadcast live via radio on 1050-AM in Spokane and via the web at http://www.goeags.com. A live webcast is available via http://www.bigtennetwork.com.

Eastern head coach Kirk Earlywine enters his second season at the helm after leading the Eagles to an 11-19 record overall and 6-10 Big Sky Conference mark last season. Although he has a full roster at his disposal this year, he’s had to enter each of his two exhibition games without projected starters. And this week he expects the same to be true as he anxiously awaits the opportunity to view different lineups on the floor in preparation for the team’s early Big Sky Conference opener on Dec. 6 against Montana State.

"As I’ve said since I arrived here, Big Sky play is what it’s all about and I have to do everything I can to make sure we’re ready to play Montana State on the first Saturday of December (Dec. 6)," said Earlywine. "Hopefully we’ll have a pretty clear picture by the time we play that conference game."

Center Brandon Moore missed the Carroll game on Nov. 1 with a knee injury. Guard Adris DeLeon and junior college transfer Chris Busch are also projected starters who missed both exhibition games and have yet to be cleared to play. Earlywine hopes DeLeon will be cleared this week and Busch possibly the following week.

However, the absences thus far in games have Earlywine concerned about this week’s opener against a Fighting Illini team that finished 16-19 overall and 5-13 in the Big Ten a year ago under head coach Bruce Weber. Plus, one of Earlywine’s early-season concerns in preparing for a mid-November opener is the lack of practice time after practices began on the late date of Oct. 17.

"I would be happy if we had all our players -- that would be a great start," said Earlywine. "There is just no way we can be totally ready, in my eyes, to play Illinois with the five fewer days to practice this year and the practice time players have missed with injuries. And we’re still playing without two players I expected to be starters, so we still haven’t been able to look at the lineup combinations that we need to see."

Regardless, this week Eastern will have to face the talent and size of a Big Ten squad, led by the talented guard tandem of Trent Meacham and Demetri McCamey. Meacham averaged 10.1 points and 2.3 assists a year ago, and McCamey had averages of 8.2 points and 3.3 assists.

Illinois defeated Lewis 62-56 in its second exhibition game on Nov. 9, needing 16 points and a late three-pointer by McCamey to preserve the win. Mike Davis, a 6-foot-9 sophomore forward, led the way with 18 points for the Fighting Illini. In its first exhibition game the previous week, Illinois defeated Florida Southern 82-61 as Meacham scored 17 points.

But defense is the bread and butter of an Illinois program that held opponents last year to 61.1 points per game and 39.9 percent shooting from the field. The Fighting Illini also out-rebounded opponents by nearly five per game.

"Their guards are big, strong and very athletic," said Earlywine. "They’ll get up and really pressure us, so taking care of the ball will be a big factor in the game. How well we are able to deal with the increase in speed of play and the size of their bodies is going to be a factor."

Eastern has never faced Illinois, but is 0-5 all-time against members of the Big Ten Conference. Last year, the Eagles lost by just eight to Michigan at the Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout.

"I would like for us to go in there and get to the last media timeout in a one or two possession game, and see what we can do from there," added Earlywine.

Eastern is coming off a 90-66 exhibition victory over Puget Sound on Nov. 8, holding the Loggers to 31.3 percent shooting and out-rebounding them 56-42. Eastern held the Loggers to just 66 points, well below the 93.2 points UPS averaged last year in going 19-7 overall and 11-5 in Northwest Conference play. The Eagles used an 8-0 run early in the game and a 12-0 run early in the second half to pull away.

"I thought we played harder and were more competitive," said Eagle head coach Kirk Earlywine of the UPS win "We didn’t give away as many baskets defensively and as many possessions offensively with bad shots or turnovers. It was encouraging to play better, but we are nowhere where we need to be to play a conference game in less than a month."

A week earlier, Eastern suffered a 58-56 exhibition loss to Carroll College in which three potential starters did not play. The Eagles out-scored the Fighting Saints 38-25 in the second half, but the damage was done in the first half when EWU made just 21 percent of its shots and fell behind at halftime 33-18.

Both exhibition games do not count in EWU’s season record or statistics.

"We scheduled Carroll and Puget Sound for a reason," Earlywine added. "We knew Carroll was going to be a slow, half-court, grind it out team, and Puget Sound was going to run up and down the floor and play fast. We tried to play two different styles in our exhibition games. Obviously, our press offense isn't where it needs to be, but we just worked on it for one day.

"The thing that was disappointing to me was that I thought there was an evidence of a lack of conditioning -- especially in last two or three minutes of the first half. That's definitely a concern. Part of that is just being in basketball game shape, and until you actually play games on a full court it's hard to understand that. We have to make strides in that direction because Illinois is going to play just as fast as Puget Sound did. Obviously, they will have bigger players and better athletes."

Following Friday’s game, Eastern plays at UC Irvine on Nov. 19 at 7:05 p.m. before returning home to host the University of Texas Arlington on Nov. 22 at 7:05 p.m. at Reese Court. Season tickets, including several packages with selected games, are now on sale. Information is available at http://WWW.GOEAGS.COM.

Links:
Eastern Basketball -- http://goeags.cstv.com/sports/m-baskbl/ewas-m-baskbl-body.html
Big
Sky Conference Basketball -- http://www.bigskyconf.com/sport.asp?path=mbball&tab=mens
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

 

NOTES

-- Eagles Versus the Big Ten Conference -- Eastern is 0-5 all-time versus the Big Ten Conference, with the last meeting taking place last November against Michigan in a 61-53 loss.

11/23/07 - L - Michigan - 53-61 - ~

12/5/03 - L - Iowa - 54-70 - #

11/15/02 - L - Wisconsin - 55-81 - $

12/28/01 - L - Indiana - 60-87 - %

11/24/01 - L - Minnesota - 68-86 - A

11/25/00 - L - Michigan State - 61-83 - &

~Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout in Anchorage, Alaska

#Gazette Hawkeye Challenge in Iowa City, Iowa

$NABC Classic in Madison, Wisc.

%Ameritech Hoosier Classic in Indianapolis, Ind.

&Spartan Classic in Lansing, Mich.

A -- Away

 

-- Eagles Versus Ranked Teams -- Eastern is 1-14 versus nationally-ranked teams -- including three games in the 2004-05 season alone as well as three the year before. Seven of the 13 games came under former head coach Mike Burns and five others came under Ray Giacoletti from 2000-2004.

12/5/07 vs. #3 Kansas - L, 47-85

11/9/07 vs. #10 Washington State - L, 41-68

12/15/06 vs. #22 Oregon - L, 74-100

11/24/06 vs. #16 Washington - L, 83-90

12/19/05 vs. #8 Gonzaga - L, 65-75

12/16/05 vs. #11 Washington - L, 74-91

12/28/04 vs. #14 Arizona - L, 45-79

12/21/04 vs. #13 Gonzaga - L, 70-83

12/5/04 vs. #14 Washington - L, 56-89

3/19/04 vs. #3 Oklahoma State - L, 56-75

12/31/03 vs. #16 Gonzaga - L, 49-70

11/21/03 vs. #14 Oklahoma - L, 59-69

11/15/01 vs. #10 St. Joseph's - W, 68-67

11/25/00 vs. #4 Michigan State - L, 61-83

1/21/85 vs. #10 DePaul - L, 50-72

 

-- Big Crowds -- Eastern’s first two games of the 2007-08 season drew crowds of 10,216 (at Washington State) and 12,016 (at New Mexico), marking the 16th and 17th times since the 2000-01 season that Eastern has played in front of crowds in excess of 10,000 fans. The 18th came on Dec. 12 when Eastern lost to Kansas at legendary Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kan.

In the 2006 season, the Eagles played in front of 10,000 at Washington after the previous two games there drew 9,876 (2005) and 9,418 (2004). In the 2004-05 season, Eastern played in front of a crowd of 14,535 fans at Arizona, 10,216 at Wichita State and 12,000 against Gonzaga. Three of the 10,000+ crowds also came in the 2003-04 season. Several other games have been played in the first game of pre-season tournaments that have drawn at least that many fans, but the Eagles haven't faced the host team.

Unfortunately, Eastern has failed to win all 17 of those games in which it has played in front of at least 10,000 fans. Here is a list of those crowds:

16,840 - 3/19/04 vs. Oklahoma State - L, 56-75

16,374 - 11/15/02 vs. Wisconsin - L, 55-81

16,300 - 12/5/07 vs. Kansas - L, 47-85

14,759 - 11/25/00 vs. Michigan State - L, 61-83

14,535 - 12/28/04 vs. Arizona - L, 45-79

12,533 - 11/24/01 vs. Minnesota - L, 68-86

12,299 - 12/31/03 vs. Gonzaga - L, 49-70

12,016 - 11/12/06 vs. New Mexico - L, 57-92

12,000 - 12/21/04 vs. Gonzaga - L, 70-83

11,879 - 12/19/05 vs. Gonzaga - L, 65-75

11,268 - 11/21/03 vs. Oklahoma - L, 59-69

11,031 - 12/5/03 vs. Iowa - L, 54-70

11,000 - 12/22/02 vs. Gonzaga - L, 64-67

10,432 - 12/28/01 vs. Indiana - L, 60-87

10,216 - 11/20/04 vs. Wichita State - L, 62-80

10,215 - 11/9/06 vs. Washington State - L, 41-68

10,210 - 3/12/03 vs. Weber State - L, 57-60

10,000 - 11/24/06 vs. Washington - L, 83-90

 

-- Eagles Picked to Finish as High as Seventh -- The Eastern Washington University men’s basketball program has been picked to finish as high as seventh in the Big Sky Conference in preseason polls released Oct. 22 by the Big Sky Conference.

The league’s head coaches selected EWU seventh, while the media picked EWU to finish eighth in the nine-team league. Last year, the Eagles finished 11-19 overall and seventh in the league with a 6-10 mark under first-year head coach Kirk Earlywine.

The Eagles had only three players with NCAA Division I experience on their roster last year and a total of just eight players who participated in at least 15 games. This season, Eastern has a full roster of 14 players that include six returning letter winners. Returning starters are center Brandon Moore and guards Trey Gross and Gary Gibson.

-- Three Eagles Miss Carroll Game -- Of the three Eagles who missed the opener, returning center Brandon Moore had a knee injury and returned to play 14 minutes against Puget Sound. Forward Chris Busch and guard Adris DeLeon are currently not cleared to play. Earlywine said he doesn’t expect Busch, a transfer from Merritt Junior College in California, to be cleared in time to play this week. He is unsure on the availability of DeLeon, who averaged 12.5 points and 3.1 assists in 27 games last year for EWU.

In any event, the absence of those three players has made it difficult for Earlywine to get a good feel for his team and how the team’s five newcomers blend with six returning letter winners and three returning redshirts in game situations.

"It was hard because there are some questions I have about this year’s team that we needed the exhibition games and early-season games to answer in terms of combinations in our lineup, minutes and so forth," explained Earlywine. "I couldn’t get any of those questions answered against Carroll.

"I didn’t see as much personnel as I would have liked, and obviously I was disappointed but not discouraged at all," he added. "I knew that when we scheduled Carroll that they would come in and be competitive and would compete. I didn’t want to schedule somebody that we were going to beat by 20, 25, or 30 points and not get anything out of the game.

 

-- Earlywine Sees Carroll Loss as Learning Opportunity -- Earlywine wasn’t as concerned about the loss to Carroll as he was with the learning opportunities.

"Like I told our guys, that loss will be long forgotten and meaningless in March if we can use the things that we learned from that loss to get better and improve," he said. "We need to keep taking steps in the direction we need to go.

"I also told our players that Ohio State (by Findlay) and Michigan State (by Grand Valley State) were defeated by non-Division I teams last year," Earlywine added. "It’s not the end of the world. What we do from here to improve is much more important than the final score in an exhibition game."

 

-- Positives from Carroll Game -- Returning starter Trey Gross scored 17 to lead the Eagles against Carroll, and returning guard Milan Stanojevic chipped in 11. Six-foot-8 Mark Dunn added seven points and 10 rebounds, and Gary Gibson had six points, three steals and three assists -- all in the second half as he fueled EWU’s comeback from a 19-point deficit.

"Certainly, Mark Dunn’s play was a positive," Earlywine said. "Double-digit rebounds for him was a pleasant surprise. His conditioning continues to get a little better and a little better and his play was very encouraging. He certainly played more minutes against Carroll than he would have if Brandon had been healthy.

"I also thought Gary Gibson’s play in the second half was a positive," he added. "But those two things were really about the extent of the good news from the Carroll game."

 

-- Practice Time a Premium for Eagles -- One of Kirk Earlywine’s early-season concerns in preparing for a mid-November opener is the lack of practice time prior to that opener after practices began on the late date of Oct. 17.

"I think more than anything else, the five fewer days of practice this year makes it difficult," he explained. "This year it was the nature of the calendar -- we start practice on the Friday nearest to October 15th. A year ago that was October 12th and this year it was on October 17th. So we lost five days of practice this year.

"I think as you establish a program and have more returning guys in your program, that’s probably a little easier to overcome," he said. "But it’s not enough time when you have new players and are trying to establish a program. We were nowhere near to being ready to play a full game against Carroll -- we hadn’t even scrimmaged or had referees in our gym yet. We certainly looked like it."

 

-- Moore Impressive in Last Eight Games of 2007-08 Season-- Sophomore Brandon Moore averaged 11.3 points and 7.6 rebounds on 53.1 percent shooting in the last eight games of the 2007-08 season. He closed the season with seven points and 12 rebounds in a loss at Portland State, but in his previous game at Northern Colorado he played just 22 minutes because of early foul trouble and finished with only two points and one rebound.

The 6-foot-9 Moore helped lead the Eagles to a crucial home sweep over Weber State (69-57) and Idaho State (63-53) in mid-February as he scored 35 points and had 14 rebounds. He made 14-of-20 shots in the two games and added two blocked shots and two steals. Six of his rebounds were on the offensive end, including four offensive boards versus Weber State.

  

EXHIBITION RECAPS

-- Eastern Washington 90, Puget Sound 66 -- Eastern held high-scoring Puget Sound to 31.3 percent shooting on Nov. 8 in a 90-66 exhibition win at Reese Court in Cheney, Wash. The Eagles shot 45.8 percent from the floor and out-rebounded the Loggers 56-42 in the contest.

Eastern held the Loggers to just 66 points, well below the 93.2 points UPS averaged last year in going 19-7 overall and 11-5 in Northwest Conference play. The Eagles used an 8-0 run early in the game and a 12-0 run early in the second half to pull away. Eastern, which lost to Carroll College a week earlier in its first exhibition outing, led UPS by as many as 26 points at 81-55 late in the game.

Guard Benny Valentine nailed 7-of-12 shots and had game-high totals in points (21), assists (five) and steals (three). The Texas Tech transfer hit just 1-of-10 attempts from the floor in EWU’s loss to Carroll.

"He definitely played better and wasn't in quite as much of a hurry," said Earlywine of the transfer from Texas Tech who redshirted the 2007-08 season at EWU. "In essence, he hasn't played a game in close to two years. He broke his hand right after Christmas (in the 2006-07 season) and really never got to play after that. He is game rusty -- I don't know how to cure that other than to play games."

Forward Mark Dunn made 5-of-7 shot attempts and had a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds. Forward Jeff Christiansen added 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting.

Center Brandon Moore, seeing his first action of 2008-09 after recuperating from a knee injury, had five points and three rebounds in 14 minutes of action.

"We did play better but it was still disappointing to shoot 46 percent from the field considering the number of layups we had," Earlywine said. "We have to shoot better and score more efficiently than we did the first two exhibition games. That, as well as our rebounding, are definitely concerns for us."

While Earlywine was pleased with his team’s improvement, he saw several areas to address in practice before the team’s official opener at Illinois. The Eagles finished with 16 turnovers against UPS and allowed the Loggers to grab 16 offensive rebounds.

"The turnovers were fatigue turnovers," said Earlywine. "We were beat to two or three offensive rebounds that bounced. I thought we were heavy legged out there and Puget Sound beat us to those balls. Our conversion from offense to defense deteriorated rapidly in the last five minutes of the first half."

 

-- Carroll 58, Eastern Washington 56 -- Eastern couldn’t overcome 21 percent shooting and a nearly nine-minute scoreless drought in the first half and lost 58-56 to Carroll College in a men’s basketball exhibition game Nov. 1 at Reese Court in Cheney, Wash.

"That's what these exhibition games are for -- to find out where you are, what you need to improve on and what you're doing well," said Eastern head coach Kirk Earlywine, whose team was playing without three key players on his anticipated active roster of 11 players.

"I don't think I did a good enough job of expressing to our guys how good Carroll is," he continued. "I knew that they would be good and that is precisely why I scheduled the game. I knew that they would come in here and that we would have our hands full. That turned out to be true."

The Eagles rallied from a 19-point deficit to pull within one in the closing seconds, but Eastern’s Milan Stanojevic missed a three-pointer at the buzzer that would have won the game.

The Eagles made just 16-of-50 shots in the game for 32 percent. In the first half alone, Eastern was just 6-of-29 overall (21 percent) and 2-of-15 from the three-point stripe (13 percent). Eastern was out-rebounded by Carroll 39-32, including 26-16 in the first half.

"You have to give them a lot of credit," added Earlywine. "I thought that they out-competed us, particularly in the first half. They out-rebounded us by 10 in the first half and held us to 21 percent. So our hats are off to Carroll."

Eastern returning starter Trey Gross led the Eagles with 17 points and Stanojevic added 11. Both players hit a trio of three-pointers, but the rest of the team was 0-of-9.

In the first half, Eastern went 8:52 without scoring as the Fighting Saints scored seven-straight points in that span to take an 11-point advantage. Carroll led by as many as 18 in the first half before taking its biggest lead of the night at 39-21 with 14:41 to play.

Eastern rallied, pulling to within five at 49-44 at the 5:04 mark and three at 53-50 with 1:22 left on a driving layin by Gary Gibson. Gibson sparked the Eagles in the second half with six points, three steals and three assists.

Two free throws by Gross pulled Eastern to within one, but a three-pointer by Chad Vaculin put the Fighting Saints back up by four. After a basket by Gross, Vaculin made a free throw with 3.9 seconds left prior to Stanojevic’s miss.

"I thought Gary Gibson played very well in the second half," said Earlywine of his team’s positives. "Milan made three from the arc in the second half. I think that Andy Genao and Jeff Christiansen both did exactly what I'm asking them to do -- take care of the ball, defend, and play hard. On the defensive end we were much better in the second half. On the offensive end we were a little better in the second half."

Guard Benny Valentine, who sat out last season after transferring from Texas Tech, had five steals in his first game in an EWU uniform. However, he made just 1-of-10 shots from the floor.

The Eagles played without returning center Brandon Moore, who missed the game with a knee injury. Also sitting out were returning guard Adris DeLeon and junior college transfer Chris Busch, who are both not yet eligible to play.

 

OTHER NOTES

-- More on the Big Sky Conference Polls -- Ken Bone’s Portland State Vikings have been selected by the coaches and the media to capture the 2008-09 Big Sky Conference men’s basketball title in preseason polls released Oct. 22. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own teams.

Portland State, which finished 23-10 in 2007-08, earned seven first-place votes from the coaches and 63 total points. The Vikings earned 23 of 26 first-place votes from the media and 230 total points.

Portland State won the regular-season title in 2007-08, finishing 14-2 in conference. The Vikings won their first ever postseason championship, downing Northern Arizona 67-51 in the championship game. Portland State’s season came to an end with a loss to eventual national champion Kansas in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

The Vikings return Big Sky MVP Jeremiah Dominguez, a senior guard from Salem, Ore. Dominguez averaged 14.2 points and four assists per game. The Vikings are expected to be bolstered by Phil Nelson (Washington), Dominic Waters (Hawai’i) and Jamie Jones (Portland), who all sat out last season after transferring from Division I institutions.

The University of Montana was selected second in both polls. The Grizzlies earned two first-place votes from the coaches and 56 total points. Montana also earned two first-place votes from the media and 180 total points. Wayne Tinkle’s Grizzlies finished the 2007-08 season 14-16, losing in the quarterfinals of the Big Sky Championship. The Grizzlies will be led by senior forward Jordan Hasquet, and junior guard Ryan Staudacher. Montana will also benefit from the addition of Division I transfers Jack McGillis (Oregon State) and Michael Taylor (Eastern Washington).

Joe O’Brien’s Idaho State Bengals were selected third in both polls. The Bengals received one first-place vote from the media, and 169 total points. In the coaches’ poll, the Bengals earned 49 total points. Idaho State returns four starters from a team that finished 8-8 in conference play last season, including senior guard Matt Stucki and junior guard Amorrow Morgan. The Bengals returned seven of the top eight scorers from last year’s squad.

Northern Arizona, which has advanced to the Big Sky Championship game three consecutive years, was picked fourth by the coaches and fifth by the media. Weber State, which claimed the 2006-07 championship, was tabbed fourth by the media and fifth by the coaches. Northern Arizona will be led by senior guard Josh Wilson, who ranks fifth on the Big Sky’s career assists list with 551. Weber State will be led by senior forward Daviin Davis and senior guard Kellen McCoy.

Northern Colorado, entering its third year of league play, was picked sixth in both polls. Tad Boyle’s Bears return four starters and nine lettermen from the 2007-08 team, which won 13 overall games. Leading the way is senior forward Jabril Banks, who averaged 13.2 points and 5.8 rebounds per game as a junior.

Rounding out the polls were Eastern Washington, Montana State and Sacramento State. EWU was picked seventh by the coaches and eighth by the media. Montana State was picked seventh by the media and eighth by the coaches. Sacramento State, which enters the season with new coach Brian Katz, was selected ninth in both polls.

Weber State will be the first team to play this season, opening against Miami, Ohio, on Wednesday, Nov. 12 in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic in Westwood, Calif. Six other Big Sky teams open play on Friday, Nov. 14.

The Big Sky Championship begins with quarterfinal games on Saturday, March 7. The semifinals and championship will be played on Tuesday, March 10, and Wednesday, March 11 at the home of the regular-season champion.

The semifinal games will be televised on Altitude Sports & Entertainment. The championship game will be shown live on ESPN2.

Coaches Poll

Team (First-place votes) - Total Points

1. Portland State (7) - 63

2. Montana (2) 56

3. Idaho State - 49

4. Northern Arizona - 41

5. Weber State - 34

6. Northern Colorado - 29

7. Eastern Washington - 22

8. Montana State - 14

9. Sacramento State 10

Media Poll

Team (First-place votes) - Total Points

1. Portland State (23) - 230

2. Montana (2) 180

3. Idaho State (1) - 169

4. Weber State 165

5. Northern Arizona - 153

6. Northern Colorado - 104

7. Montana State - 76

8. Eastern Washington - 64

9. Sacramento State - 38

 

-- Pre-Season Losses Lead to Big Sky Conference Wins -- In the last nine seasons (including the 2007-08 season), Eastern has entered Big Sky Conference play with a collective 45-67 (.401) record. Those difficult schedules have yielded an 81-53 (.604) Big Sky Conference record in that span. Eastern has finished third or better in the Big Sky regular season standings in six of the last nine years en route to a pair of regular season Big Sky titles, one Big Sky Tournament title and three-runner-up tourney finishes.

In 2007-08, Eastern entered conference play 5-8, which compares favorably to the previous eight seasons (most recent are listed first) -- 6-6, 5-8, 3-10, 4-9, 8-6, 6-8, 5-5, 3-7. One of Eastern’s worst pre-conference records was in 2003-04 (4-9), yet resulted in an 11-3 league mark, Big Sky regular season and tourney titles and the school's first-ever NCAA Tournament berth. In the 1999-2000 season -- EWU's final season under former head coach Steve Aggers -- the Eagles were just 3-7 before sharing the Big Sky Conference regular season title with Montana as they both finished 12-4 in conference play.

 

-- Eagles 0-15 Versus Big 12 -- Eastern Washington has lost all 15 games it has played against current members of the Big 12 Conference, including an 0-4 record versus Nebraska. In the last three meetings against Big 12 foes, Eastern has played a nationally-ranked team. Here is the complete list:

12/30/80 - L - Nebraska - 68-82 - A

1/12/84 - L - Kansas State - 57-64 - A

1/14/84 - L - Nebraska - 71-105 - A

1/9/85 - L - Kansas State - 43-81 - A

12/16/88 - L - Missouri - 68-81 - A

12/21/91 - L - Nebraska - 67-102 - ~

12/2/94 - L - Colorado - 67-87 - #

11/29/97 - L - Baylor - 51-67 - A

11/20/99 - L - Baylor - 61-68 - A

12/18/99 - L - Colorado - 61-79 - A

12/16/00 - L - Kansas State - 56-70 - A

12/31/02 - L - Nebraska - 60-63 - A

11/21/03 - L - #14 Oklahoma - 59-69 - $

3/19/04 - L - #3 Oklahoma State - 56-75 - %

12/5/07 - L - #3 Kansas - 47-85 - A

~ -- Nebraska Ameritas Classic in Lincoln, Neb. (2nd)

# -- Mile High Classic in Boulder, Colo.

$ -- Sooner Invitational in Norman, Okla.

% -- NCAA Tournament in Kansas City, Mo. (first round)

A -- Away

 

-- Eastern 12-66 Versus the Pacific 10 Conference -- With losses to Washington each of the last five seasons and a 1-9 record all-time against the Huskies, Eastern is now 12-65 all-time versus current members of the Pacific 10 Conference. Eastern has a current eight-game losing streak versus the Pac 10 after losing at Washington State 68-41 on Nov. 9 and Washington 82-68 on Nov. 18 in the 2007-08 season.

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 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 win in Pullman. The Cougars had led the all-time series 49-10 and had won 17-straight games over the Eagles prior to that EWU victory.

Prior to falling at 16th-ranked Washington 90-83 on Nov. 24, 2006, Eastern’s last game against a Pacific 10 opponent was a 91-74 loss to 11th-ranked Washington on Dec. 16, 2005. In the 2004-05 season, Washington was ranked 14th in the nation and defeated EWU 89-56. The Huskies also prevailed 104-91 in 2003, but Eastern defeated the Huskies 62-58 in December 2002. Washington won the previous four meetings which all took place between 1990 and 1997.

Other recent meetings against the Pac 10 have yielded losses to Oregon (100-74 on Dec. 15, 2006), Arizona (79-45 on Dec. 28, 2004), California (56-27 on Nov. 16, 2001 and 94-63 on Nov. 25, 1998), Oregon State (58-50 on Dec. 19, 2000 and 78-62 on Dec. 15, 1999) and Washington State (91-72 on Dec. 5, 1998).

 

-- EWU in Exhibitions -- Until falling 58-56 to Carroll College on Nov. 1, Eastern had won its last 12 exhibition games, which are contests that do not count in EWU’s season record or statistics. It’s last exhibition loss came on Nov. 13, 1999, to the Northwest Basketball Camp (NBC) Thunder. In that 73-71 loss, former Pepperdine player Shann Ferch made a three-point play with 19 seconds to lift NBC to the win. Here is a list of recent exhibition games:

11/8/08 - Puget Sound - W, 90-66

11/1/08 - Carroll - L, 56-58

11/3/07 - Pacific - W, 91-49

11/4/06 - Northwest Nazarene - W, 98-55

11/13/05 - UC-San Diego - W, 75-44

11/13/04 - Central Washington - W, 79-63

11/12/03 - Ukraine Touring Team - W, 83-55

11/7/03 - Northwest Sports - W, 100-79

11/7/02 - Northwest Basketball Camp (NBC) Thunder - W, 99-72

11/1/02 - Northwest Sports - W, 117-73

11/2/01 - NBC Thunder - W, 108-106

10/10/01 - Alumni - W, 94-85

11/14/00 - SON Blue Angels - W, 90-78

11/4/00 - NBC Thunder - W, 72-63

11/13/99 - NBC Thunder - L, 71-73

11/5/99 - The Hoop USA - W, 106-64

 

-- Eastern Just The Fifth BSC School to Make Nine-Straight Tournament Appearances -- Although its streak came to an end in the 2006-07 season, Eastern is just the fifth school in league history to make nine-straight appearances in the Big Sky Conference Tournament. Eastern started the streak back in 1998 after making just one trip to the tourney in their first 10 seasons as a member of the conference.

Weber State had its string of 24-straight appearances stopped in 2005-06, and Montana had a string of 21-straight from 1978-98. The other streaks were 16 by Idaho (1981-96) and 11 by Nevada (1982-92). Two years ago, Eastern equaled the streak of eight by Northern Arizona (1997-04).

Interestingly, Montana's 77-69 victory over the Lumberjacks on Feb. 28, 2005, extended Eastern's streak and ended NAU's. Eastern's streak started in 1998 with an end-of-year victory at Montana. That "winner advance, loser eliminated" game ended Montana's 21-year streak.

Eastern is now 7-9 in 10 appearances in the league tournament. Eastern ended its season with losses to Montana in both 2005 and 2006, but the year before won the title with a 71-59 championship game victory over Northern Arizona.

Here is a list of Eastern’s appearances in the Big Sky Tournament.

2006 - Semifinal (Flagstaff, Ariz.) - #3 seed vs. #2 Montana - L, 71-73 (ot)

2006 - Quarterfinal (Cheney, Wash.) - #3 seed vs. #6 Portland State - W, 81-75

2005 - Quarterfinal (Missoula, Mont.) - #6 seed vs. #3 Montana - L, 48-58

2004 - Championship (Cheney, Wash.) - #1 seed vs. #2 Northern Ariz. - W, 71-59

2004 - Semifinals (Cheney, Wash.) - #1 seed vs. #5 Weber State - W, 72-53

2003 - Championship (Ogden, Utah) - #2 seed vs. #1 Weber State - L, 57-60

2003 - Semifinals (Ogden, Utah) - #2 seed vs. #4 Idaho State - W, 76-67

2002 - Championship (Bozeman, Mont.) - #2 seed vs. #5 Montana - L, 66-70

2002 - Semifinals (Bozeman, Mont.) - #2 seed vs. #3 Weber State - W, 62-57

2001 - Championship (Northridge, Calif.) - #2 seed vs. #1 CS Northridge - L, 58-73

2001 - Semifinals (Northridge, Calif.) - #2 seed vs. #5 Northern Arizona - W, 58-53

2000 - Semifinals (Missoula, Mont.) - #2 seed vs. #3 Northern Arizona - L, 65-82

1999 - Quarterfinals (Ogden, Utah) - #6 seed vs. #3 Portland State - L, 74-80

1998 - Quarterfinals (Flagstaff, Ariz.) - #3 seed vs. #6 CS Northridge - L, 98-104 (ot)

1990 - Championship (Boise, Idaho) - #2 seed vs. #1 Idaho - L, 62-65

1990 - Semifinals (Boise, Idaho) - #2 seed vs. #5 Weber State - W, 83-67

 

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