In game that included a combined 49 turnovers, 56 fouls and 79 free throws, Eagles make 19-point halftime lead hold up
Seniors Benny Valentine, Mark Dunn and Brandon Moore combined for 63 points as Eastern Washington University held on for a 100-88 victory over Whitman College Tuesday (Nov. 17) at Reese Court in Cheney, Wash.
Valentine scored 23 points and had seven assists as he made 10-of-12 free throws. Dunn had a career-high 21 points, one night after scoring his previous high of 17 in a 67-61 loss at Washington State. He made 7-of-12 shots from the field and 7-of-8 from the line.
Moore had the eighth double-double of his career with 21 points and a career-high 19 rebounds, eclipsing his previous high board game of 14. He made 5-of-7 field goals and 9-of-12 free throws, and also equaled a career high with five blocks.
Eastern finished with 30 turnovers, coming one away from the school record of 31 against Washington in 1995. The game included 49 total turnovers, 56 total fouls (30 by Whitman) and 79 total free throws.
The Eagles made exactly 50 percent of their shots from the floor, but made only 2-of-15 three-point attempts. Eastern scored 56 points in the paint, sank 34-of-42 free throws and out-rebounded Whitman 54-35.
"It was good for us in terms of having our players in late-game situations where teams are trapping and going crazy," said Eastern head coach Kirk Earlywine, who was missing two players because of minor injuries suffered against WSU. "It would have been much better for us to have one day to prepare, but we had 45 minutes today. And we couldn't risk another injury."
"They play a style that is probably not conducive to Division I, but it's very effective at their level and for their team," he said of the NCAA Division III Missionaries. "When you don't have size and you are playing teams that do, you want to scramble the game. You want to make guys that aren't necessarily ball handlers handle the ball and pass the ball in awkward spots."
Eastern led from start to finish, and opened a 24-7 lead mid-way through the first half. Eastern led by 23 on two occasions before settling for a 49-30 halftime lead.
Although Whitman pulled to within 12 with 14:29 left in the game, Eastern never trailed by less than double digits the rest of the way. A 9-0 Eastern run gave the Eagles a 79-57 advantage with 6:18 to play.
Eastern had five total players in double figures, with freshman Jeffrey Forbes finishing with 11 points and three steals. Laron Griffin had 10 points, six rebounds and three assists, and Abebe Demissie made his Eagle debut with eight points, three rebounds and three assists.
Eastern plays at Texas-Arlington on Nov. 21, which will be the fourth game in eight days for the Eagles. Eastern returns to Reese Court on Nov. 24 to face Boise State.