Unable to snap a five-game losing streak, Eastern allows Seattle to go on a late 8-0 run to pull-out victory in a non-conference game at Key Arena
A late 8-0 run and clutch free throws down the stretch by Seattle sent the Eastern Washington University men's basketball team to its sixth-straight defeat, 68-62, in a non-conference game Monday (Feb. 1) at Key Arena.
Eastern took a 58-55 lead with 3:05 to play on a three-pointer by freshman Kevin Winford, but didn't score in the next 2 1/2 minutes. The Redhawks clinched the win by making 9-of-9 free throws in the final 1:49.
"I told the team at some point we have to start doing the things down the stretch to win a game," said Eastern head coach Kirk Earlywine. "And more importantly, we need to stop doing the things that beat us. That would be in the first step in the right direction."
Taking a break from Big Sky Conference play before playing at Sacramento State next Sunday (Feb. 7), the Eagles are now 2-7 in the league and 6-17 overall, Seattle improved to 10-13.
Freshman Jeffrey Forbes led the Eagles with 14 points, including a three-pointer that gave EWU a 45-43 lead mid-way through the second half. Fellow freshman Glen Dean added 13 points, four assists and a pair of steals, and Winford chipped in nine points.
Although that trio was a combined 3-of-18 from three-point range, Earlywine praised them for their efforts. Eastern as a team made only 3-of-20 for 15 percent, its lowest percentage in its last 12 games.
"I give Kevin Winford a lot of credit to jumping up and hit that shot," he said. "He and Jeff Forbes didn't shoot well, but they competed their butts off and had enough fortitude to hit big threes for us."
Senior Brandon Moore had 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Eagles, giving him his fifth double-double of the season and 11th of his career.
Eastern made just 41 percent of its shots from the field and had 19 turnovers, but Seattle made only 40 percent and had 20 turnovers. The Redhawks had a 38-32 rebounding advantage and made 21-of-28 free throws compared to 11-of-14 by the Eagles.
"We didn't shoot the ball particularly well, we got out-rebounded and they doubled us on the free throw line," said Earlywine. "In spite of all that, we had a three-point lead and control of the game. But we had mental and physical mistakes after that."
Earlier this season, the Eagles defeated the Redhawks 100-97 in overtime on Dec. 12 in Cheney. But since that victory, which gave EWU a 4-5 record on the season, the Eagles have won just twice in their last 14 games with a five-game losing skid and now a six-game streak. Seattle lost nine of its next 13 games after starting the season 5-4 entering the first game against EWU.
The first half featured more turnovers (22) than field goals (20) as both teams shot less than 40 percent from the field. Eastern's only lead was at 6-5 early in the half before Seattle went on an 11-0 run to open a double-digit lead.
The Redhawks led by 12 when Eastern went on a 9-1 run to help it to 26-all tie late in the half. Seattle led 27-26 at intermission.
The scoring runs continued in the second half, with Seattle using an 8-2 run to open a 35-28 cushion and EWU following with a 14-5 streak to regain a 42-40 advantage. The rest of the half included several ties and lead changes, until Seattle went on its final run.
With three freshmen now in their starting lineup -- Glen Dean, Jeffrey Forbes and Kevin Winford -- Eastern hasn't won since beating Montana State 75-73 on Jan. 10 on a basket with 3.8 seconds remaining by Dean. Since then, four of EWU's losses have been decided by six points or less. So far this season, 12 of 23 Eastern games have been decided by six points or less, including the four prior to falling by 22 at Weber State on Jan. 23. EWU is 4-8 in those 12 nail-biters.
Eastern was coming off an 85-77 home loss to Portland State on Jan. 30. Eastern was out-scored 40-18 in the final 15 minutes after taking a 14-point lead with 15:33 remaining.