March 7, 2013

Starting Guards Jeffrey Forbes and Lexie Nelson Honored as March Scholar-Athletes

Heading into the final weekend of the 2012-13 regular-season, pair of Eagle basketball players recognized for efforts on the court and in the classroom

Senior guard Jeffrey Forbes of the Eastern Washington University men’s basketball team and sophomore guard Lexie Nelson from the women’s squad have been selected as the EWU Athletic Department Scholar-Athletes of the Month.

This award recognizes the athletic and academic success of student-athletes, based primarily on performances turned in during the month prior, so in this case, February.

Forbes is a communications major with a 3.06 cumulative grade point average. Nelson, a sophomore-transfer from Montana, has maintained a 3.65 GPA in exercise science in her two years at Eastern.

Both Forbes and Nelson recently etched their names in the EWU basketball record books. Already the school-record holder for games started at 105, Forbes tied the all-time Eastern record for career games play with 119 appearances in his four-year tenure. He is on pace to take sole possession of that record when the Eagles play at Idaho State tonight.

In just her first year on the court, Nelson has quite a ways to go until she reaches the games played record for the women, but the sophomore guard did better a 21-year old school record for single-game free throw percentage when she made 12-of-12 free throws at a home game against Southern Utah on Jan. 26. Nelson bested Lisa Graber’s record of 11-of-11, set in 1992.

Both Forbes and Nelson will be in action tonight, as the men's and women's squads kick off their final weekends of the regular-season. The Eagle women host Idaho State at 6 p.m. at Reese Court in a battle for third place in the Sky, while the men play in Pocatello in a must-win game to keep its postseason hopes alive.

More on Forbes

Forbes became the 16th player in school history to score at least 1,000 career points (he now has 1,015) in an 81-76 victory against Sam Houston State on Feb. 23. Forbes went over the 1,000-point mark with 2:39 left on a key 3-pointer that helped EWU maintain a nine-point lead. Later, he made a pair of free throws as EWU made 7-of-8 shots from the charity stripe in the final 54 seconds to hold off the Bearkats.

He also ranks sixth in school history with 119 career steals, and is also third in 3-pointers made (170) and second in attempts (459). Forbes started his school-record 100th game for the Eagles Feb. 9 at Northern Arizona, scoring 10 points, including a pair of clutch free throws with nine seconds left that provided the final margin versus the Lumberjacks. He also had four assists and a career-high eight rebounds in the 77-74 overtime win over NAU.

The only two games Forbes has missed in his career came this season versus North Dakota (1/17/13) because of a knee injury and against Montana State (1/31/13) because of a hand injury.

In his career, Forbes has averaged 8.5 points, 2.6 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.0 steals per game. He scored a career-high 24 points at UT Arlington as a freshman when he also had career highs for assists (seven) and steals (five).

More on Nelson

In her first official year in red and white, Nelson wasted no time in establishing herself as one of EWU’s biggest offensive threats. She currently leads the Eagles in scoring, and ranks fifth in the Big Sky, averaging 13.9 points per game. She has knocked down a team-leading 54 3-pointers this year on 39.7 percent shooting from beyond the arc, which ranks fifth among all Big Sky players and 24th in the nation. At the free-throw line, Nelson is making 86 percent of her shots, which is the best in the Big Sky and ranks 28th nationally.

Nelson also ranks in the top five for minutes played this year, averaging 33.4 per game. She has started all 27 contests as a redshirt-sophomore, and has scored in double figures in 22 of them.

During the month of February, Nelson shot 46.0 percent from the field, which included an impressive 46.2 percent from downtown. She averaged 11.8 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists to lead EWU to a 3-3 record, with wins against Sacramento State, Southern Utah and Portland State.

In an important road game against the Thunderbirds on Feb. 16 in Cedar City, Nelson poured in a game-high 22 points - just one point shy of her career-high 23. She had 14 points in the very next outing against Portland State, going 5-of-9 from the floor, including 3-of-6 from distance.

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