November 9, 2009

Eagles Jump Right Into the Fire Against Portland, WSU

After opener on Saturday against Pilots, Eastern plays back-to-back nights against Washington State and Whitman

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Upcoming Schedule

Date - Opponent - Spokane Radio Station - Time/Pacific
Nov. 14 - vs. Portland at Reese Court - 1050am - 1:05 p.m.
Nov. 16 - at Washington State - 1510am - 7 p.m.
Nov. 17 - vs. Whitman at Reese Court - 1050am - 7:05 p.m.

Eagles on TV/Radio/Webcasts . . .
All EWU home games will be televised live and/or delayed on SWX in Spokane (SWX Digital 6.2, Cheney Cable 12, Comcast 115, Time Warner 306, Charter 287). Eagle Radio Broadcasts home and away in 2009-10 may be heard live, and stations in Spokane/Cheney that may be used are 1510-AM, 1050-AM or 790-AM. Broadcasts may also be heard via the internet -- road games may be heard free of charge via WWW.TEAMLINE.CC and the audio and video of home games may also be heard via WWW.BIGSKYTV.ORG


Eastern Washington University men's basketball head coach Kirk Earlywine admits his team will "jump right into the fire" as the 2009-10 season officially gets underway this week with a trio of games in the span of four nights.

The Eagles open at home on Saturday (Nov. 14) at 1:05 p.m. Pacific time versus Portland, which finished 19-13 overall and 9-5 in the West Coast Conference last season. An early-season home loss for the Pilots came in a 63-58 Eagle win.

"I hope we get tremendous fan support for our home opener against Portland because that is going to be a heckuva game," said Earlywine. "We beat them in a close game at their place last year and I know they'll remember that. So we jump right into the fire with Portland."

The Pilots, in fact, have been picked to finish second in the WCC this season, finishing just four points behind perennial favorite Gonzaga. Portland even received two first-place votes, and T.J. Campbell and Nik Raivio were selected as preseason All-WCC selections.

"That is a big, strong, physical and experienced group coming in here," said Earlywine. "I know they'll remember us going (to Portland) and beating them last year. There is certainly no doubt in my mind that Portland will be ready to play, and it's my job to make sure that the Eagles are ready as well."

Following that game, Eastern makes the short trek to Pullman, Wash., to play Washington State University on Monday (Nov. 16) in a game that begins at 7:05 p.m. Eastern has played WSU just once since the 1998-99 season, with the Eagles falling 68-41 on Nov. 9, 2007, in Pullman in the official EWU coaching debut for Earlywine.

The Cougars are coached by former Portland State head coach Ken Bone, who takes over a WSU team that finished 17-16 overall and 8-10 in the Pacific 10 Conference last season.

One night later on Nov. 17, Eastern plays NCAA Division III member Whitman College. The Missionaries were 9-16 overall last season and 5-11 in the Northwest Conference. Tipoff at Reese Court in that game is 7:05 p.m.

Just a few days after that on Nov. 21, Eastern plays at Texas-Arlington. That will be the fourth game in eight days for the Eagles, a gantlet that Earlywine admits he is not ready for.

"There probably isn't a coach that says they are absolutely, 100 percent ready at this point," he admitted. "There is just no way to have it all done well at this time. No, we're not ready to play four games in eight days. But it's on our schedule so we'll do our best over the next five days to get ready."

Eastern won both of its exhibition games, following a 98-61 romp over Saint Martin's on Nov. 1 with a 67-58 nail-biter a week later against Montana State-Billings. Of particular concern for Earlywine were 21 turnovers by his team against MSUB, leading to 24 points off turnovers for the Yellowjackets.

"(Portland) is going to beat us handily if we turn the ball over 21 times," he said. "It was good experience for us that Montana State Billings was really physical and aggressive. We didn't handle the ball well, we fumbled it all over and we threw back-cut passes out of bounds. We were not sharp offensively by any stretch of the imagination. But that's why we play exhibition games. We'll clean those things up and be ready for Saturday."


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

Recent EWU Men's Basketball Headlines . . .
November 8, 2009 - Eastern Pulls Away for 67-58 Exhibition Win
November 4, 2009 - Eagles Face Larger Challenge in Second Exhibition This Sunday
November 1, 2009 - Eagles Roll Past Saint Martin's 98-61
October 23, 2009 - SEASON OUTLOOK

Schedule includes games with Washington State and Gonzaga -- Eastern's 2009-10 schedule is highlighted by non-conference games against Washington State and Gonzaga, as well as the earliest Big Sky Conference start in school history.

Eastern opens its league schedule on the early date of Dec. 5, giving the Eagles two exhibition games and seven non-conference games to prepare for league play. Among those seven games, Eastern hosts Portland on Nov. 14 and Boise State on Nov. 24, and plays road games at Washington State on Nov. 16 and Idaho on Nov. 28.

"I like our non-conference schedule and the fact we're not stuck on the road very long," Eastern head coach Kirk Earlywine said. "But November is very tough and we have to be ready right from the start."

Eastern plays at Portland State on Dec. 5 before resuming league play on Dec. 31 at home against Sacramento State. The other non-conference games for the Eagles include road games at Nevada (Dec.17), Brigham Young (Dec. 19) and Gonzaga (Dec. 28), as well as an appearance in the four-team Las Vegas Classic at the Orleans Arena on Dec. 22-23.

In addition, Eastern plays both at home (Dec. 12) and on the road (Feb. 1) against Seattle University, a newcomer in NCAA Division I in the 2008-09 season. Seattle defeated the Eagles in overtime last season, but the Eagles were able to edge both Portland (63-58) and Idaho (69-59) before both of those teams finished strong in the West Coast Conference and Western Athletic Conference, respectively.

"We have our hands full with our non-conference schedule, but that's always the case," Earlywine said. "Now that Portland and Idaho have elevated their programs in the last year, it makes our non-conference schedule that much tougher.

 "Everything we do from now until December 5th will be pointing toward conference play," Earlywine continued. "We want to be peaked and ready for every conference game we play."

The Dec. 5 start to league play represents the earliest Big Sky opener in school history. Last year, the Eagles opened league play on Dec. 6 with a 61-55 home win over Montana State, and the previous season opened on Dec. 22 with a 58-57 home victory over Portland State.

"I've made my feelings pretty well known about playing the first conference game in early December," explained Earlywine. "But we've actually been ready to play that game the last two seasons. I shouldn't be too critical because we've won our opener each of the past two years."

Eastern is hoping its five senior letter winners and talented newcomers will help the Eagles earn their first Big Sky Conference Tournament berth in four seasons when that event takes place on March 6, 9 and 10. However, Earlywine expects several other league teams to feature even more returning starters and experience.

"The league is going to be very, very good," he said. "Top to bottom, it may be as good as it's been in the last 10 years. I told our team after our last game last season that our challenge was to go catch the other teams in the league. Nobody is backing up, so we have to go catch them. Our focus has been on doing what we have to do to improve and not count on other teams to stub their toe."

Earlywine has been in the Big Sky Conference for nearly 10 years now, dating back to 1999 when he became an assistant at Weber State. He knows the January to March grind in the league is difficult, but it's made even more difficult this season with the cost-saving measure of playing most weekend doubleheaders on Friday/Saturday instead of Thursday/Saturday.

"The travel difficulties haven't changed - we still have nine institutions spread over eight states," he said. "You go from sea level to altitude, and one time zone to another. It's tough."

 

EWU in Exhibitions -- Until falling 58-56 to Carroll College on Nov. 1, 2008, Eastern had won its last 12 exhibition games, which are contests that do not count in EWU's season record or statistics. Before that setback, EWU'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:
11/8/09 - Montana State-Billings - W, 67-58
11/1/09 - Saint Martin's - W, 98-61
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

 

SERIES HISTORY

EWU-Portland Series History -- Eastern has won the last four meetings, but trails Portland in the all-time series 7-9, with a 4-2 record in Cheney, 3-6 mark in Portland and 0-1 record on neutral courts. The first meeting was a 56-41 Portland win on Feb. 18, 1957, and the last meeting was last year's 63-58 Eagle victory on Dec. 3, 2008.
2/18/57 - L - Portland - 41-56- A
1/3/84 - L - Portland - 55-62 - H
11/30/84 - L - Portland - 44-46 - A
12/2/86 - L - Portland - 57-75 - A
12/29/86 - L - Portland - 57-79 - #
12/15/89 - W - Portland - 74-63 - A
11/26/90 - W - Portland - 91-83 - H
11/26/91 - L - Portland - 89-103 - A
12/1/92 - W - Portland - 89-80 - H
12/10/94 - L - Portland - 77-95 - A
12/7/95 - L - Portland - 72-87 - H
12/15/01 - L - Portland - 61-68 - A
1/4/03 - W - Portland - 89-74 - H
12/9/06 - W - Portland - 87-66 - A
12/17/07 - W - Portland - 84-75 - H
12/3/08 - W - Portland - 63-58 - A
# Anteater Classic in Irvine, Calif. (4th)

 

Eastern 12-67 Versus the Pacific 10 Conference -- The Eagles are 11-51 in the all-time series against Washington State, to go along with a 1-10 record all-time against Washington. Eastern is 0-6 against other members of the Pacific 10 Conference, giving the Eagles a 12-67 record all-time against that league.

Eastern has suffered losses to Washington each of the last six seasons, and has a current nine-game losing streak versus the Pac 10. Eastern lost at Washington 83-50 on Dec. 20, 2008, and the year prior, lost to Washington State 68-41 on Nov. 9, 2007, and Washington 82-68 on Nov. 18, 2007.

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 over WSU 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.

Eastern's lone victory over the Huskies was 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).

Since Eastern moved to NCAA Division I in the 1983-84 season, Eastern is 1-11 against Washington State. Here are those games:
12/14/85 - L - Washington State - 71-80 - A
11/27/87 - L - Washington State - 46-68 - #
11/26/88 - L - Washington State - 47-55 - %
12/11/89 - L - Washington State - 42-81 - A
12/10/91 - L - Washington State - 59-80 - H
12/12/92 - L - Washington State - 66-83 - A
11/29/94 - L - Washington State - 59-87 - A
11/26/95 - L - Washington State - 58-90 - A
12/7/96 - L - Washington State - 46-80 - H
12/22/97 - W - Washington State - 83-82 - &
12/5/98 - L - Washington State - 72-91 - H
11/9/07 - L - Washington State - 41-68 - A
#Inland Empire Classic in Spokane, Wash.
%Inland Northwest Classic in Spokane, Wash.
&WSU home game played in Kennewick, Wash.

 

Eagles versus Whitman -- Eastern is 28-7 all-time against Whitman, with the last meeting a 90-78 victory by the Eagles on Jan. 10, 1995. Before that, the only other meeting since Eastern became a NCAA Division I member in the 1983-84 season came on Dec. 3, 1988, when the Eagles won at home 95-70. Eastern has won the last seven meetings, with the last Whitman victory coming on Jan. 7, 1974, by a 68-62 score.

 

KIRK EARLYWINE COMMENTS

On Brandon Moore's Senior Debut Against MSU-Billings: "I thought he played pretty well -- I didn't see signs of rust. He worked his butt off this past summer and spent a lot of time in the gym. He spent a lot of time working on his body, and it showed. When he got hurt and decided to do the surgery, he spent an extraordinary amount of time doing every aerobic activity under the sun that didn't involve his legs or his feet. It's a credit to him to stay in shape and minimize the amount of rust."

On Exhibition Wins: "The win or the loss isn't important to me in the exhibition games. I want to get tested -- I want our new players to come under fire and see how they react to stressful situations. So far, this group of newcomers have been outstanding in terms of their effort level, competitiveness and doing the same things in games as they do in practice. I couldn't be any happier with the new players."

On Defensive Effort: "We've talked at length over the course of my first two years here -- and we continue to do so with our new players this year -- to not be offensive sensitive. When we're struggling offensively, shots aren't going in and things aren't easy, we have to make sure that we still guard our butts off and we block out and rebound. If we do that, we can stay in games once in a while where we have 21 turnovers, but I don't want to make a habit of it."

 

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