Eagles Open Hayford Era at GU, Home Versus South Dakota

Playing hard and improving as the season progresses are the most important immediate goals as new head coach Jim Hayford begins his NCAA Division I coaching career

Complete Release in .PDF Format 

 

Upcoming Games

EWU at Gonzaga
Friday, Nov. 11 - 8 p.m. Pacific
McCarthy Athletic Center - Spokane, Wash

EWU vs South Dakota
Tuesday, Nov. 15 - 6:05 p.m. Pacific
Reese Court - Cheney, Wash

Coverage

TV: Both games will be televised in the Spokane area and throughout Eastern Washington on SWX (SWX Digital 6.2 in Spokane, 25.3 in the Tri-Cities & 23.3 in the Yakima area; Comcast 115; Time Warner 306; Charter 287, Cable One 466). The Gonzaga game will also be televised regionally by Root Sports (formerly Fox Sports Northwest).
Radio: (all EWU games) 700 ESPN "The Ticket" and http://www.espnnorthwest.com
Radio via iPhone App: Search for “Spokane Radio” and download app
Webcasts: (All home games and all Big Sky Conference games) http://www.bigskytv.org
Live Stats:  (Gonzaga) CLICK HERE (South Dakota) CLICK HERE 

 


Jim Hayford is no stranger to season openers, but this opener is downright daunting.

The Hayford era at Eastern Washington University begins Friday (Nov. 11) when the new head coach opens his NCAA Division I basketball coaching career against national powerhouse Gonzaga at the McCarthy Center in Spokane, Wash. Four days later, the Eagles open their home schedule against South Dakota at Reese Court in Cheney, Wash.

Eastern takes on the 25th-ranked Bulldogs at 8 p.m. Pacific time on Nov. 11, and hosts South Dakota from The Summit League at 6:05 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 15. Both games will be televised in the Spokane area and throughout Eastern Washington on SWX (SWX Digital 6.2 in Spokane, 25.3 in the Tri-Cities & 23.3 in the Yakima area; Comcast 115; Time Warner 306; Charter 287, Cable One 466). The Gonzaga game will also be televised regionally by Root Sports (formerly Fox Sports Northwest).

The radio broadcast of the both games, featuring play-by-play announcer Dennis Patchin, may be heard on 700-AM ESPN "The Ticket", via the web at www.espnnorthwest.com and via iPhone application (search for “Spokane Radio” and download the free app).

Hayford, who compiled a gaudy 217-57 (.792) record in 10 seasons at NCAA Division III Whitworth University in Spokane, inherited an EWU team that finished the 2010-11 season with a 10-20 record overall. The Eagles finished 7-9 and in a fifth-place tie with Montana State in the Big Sky Conference standings, advancing the Eagles to the Big Sky Conference Tournament for the first time in five years.

His first Eastern team will feature eight returning letterwinners, including six who combined to start 125 games a year ago. He also has available five newcomers, plus three players who will redshirt the 2011-12 season.

Above all else, Hayford has one major goal in mind for the GU game – and it doesn’t involve the scoreboard.

“We are going to play hard,” he vowed. “We want Eastern fans to take great pride in the effort we are going to give. The strengths of the team are the six players who saw significant playing time last year – three guards and three bigs. We’re blending them in with some talented newcomers, and we are spending as much time as the NCAA allows us with players in the gym to make individual improvements.”

Eastern is 7-52 all-time versus Gonzaga, and hasn’t defeated the Bulldogs since Jan. 8, 1990, in Spokane by a 70-55 score. A year ago, Gonzaga defeated EWU handily on Nov. 30, 2010, by an 86-57 margin to extend its winning streak over EWU to 23 games. Also last season, the Eagles lost 78-72 versus South Dakota on Dec. 20, 2010, in Vermillion, S.D., in the only previous meeting between the two schools.

The Eagles play a total of seven games in November, including three in a seven-day span from Nov. 11 to Nov. 17. After the South Dakota game, Eastern plays at Oregon on Nov. 17. After two weeks of practices and scrimmages, Hayford is seeing progress.

“Our expectations are starting to be understood by the players,” he said. “The coaches are starting to get a little more familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of each player. But this is a long race and we are just getting out of the starting gate. I like the initial start we have had, but we have a lot more work to do.

“I know in January and February we are going to be a good basketball team,” he added. “In November and December we play a really tough schedule that will make us a better basketball team. That familiarity process takes a step forward each day. We will be a really good basketball team during Big Sky Conference play.”

 

PDF Link to Fact Book

The complete version of the 2011 EWU football fact book may be found at:
http://goeags.com/trads/ewas-factbooks.html

 

More Eagle Basketball Links and Headlines
Eastern Basketball -- http://goeags.com/sports/m-baskbl/index
Big Sky Conference Basketball -- http://www.bigskyconf.com/index.aspx?tab=basketball&path=mbball
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

 

GAME NOTES

Eagles Versus Gonzaga

Gonzaga was 25-10 a year ago and 11-3 in the West Coast Conference under Mark Few, who has compiled a 361-81 (.817) record in 12 seasons at the helm of the Bulldogs. Seven-foot center Robert Sacre and 6-7 Elias Harris return for GU after both averaged more than 12 points and six rebounds per game a year ago. Sacre had 13 points and seven rebounds last season versus EWU, but Harris did not play.

“It’s great to play Gonzaga – they are the standard of how to make the most of what you do have and use it to create more opportunities,” praised Hayford. “They are a high-major program that is in a conference with other teams who have maybe a similar situation as we do in the Big Sky. I’m glad to be playing them.

“What Coach Few has done there is unbelievable -- he has set a high bar,” Hayford continued. “In all honesty we can’t call it a rivalry because Eastern hasn’t kept its end of the deal to make it a rivalry. We are going to use this opportunity to go out and play hard. What I would love at the end of the year is for their coaching staff to say that we played them as hard as anyone else they played. If we play hard, I’ll take whatever the result is on the scoreboard.”

 

Eagles Versus South Dakota

South Dakota was 18-15 a year ago under veteran coach Dave Boots, who is 483-196 in 23 seasons at the helm of the Coyotes. In fact, in the 1999-2000 season, Boots’ South Dakota squad knocked off Hayford’s University of Sioux Falls team 95-73. Hayford went on to finish 15-15 in his first season as a collegiate head coach, while the Coyotes finished 22-6.

Charlie Westbrook, a 6-4 guard, returns after averaging 16.2 points and 4.7 rebounds per game last season. Also back are 6-1 guard Louie Krogman (14.8 points, 4.9 rebounds) and 6-9 center Trevor Gruis (9.6 points, 6.8 rebounds). Gruis scored 19 with eight rebounds, and Westbrook had 15 points and eight boards, in last year’s meeting.

“Thankfully we follow the Gonzaga game with a home game, and South Dakota is a school we should be competitive with,” said Hayford. “I’ve known Dave Boots for over 12 years and he is a great coach. He has a program that has been successful and has had winning seasons. For us to have a home opener against them is a great challenge, but an opportunity for us to go earn a quality win.”

 

Debut Schedule for Hayford Features Games Versus 11 Participants in 2011 National Tournaments

His debut schedule as a NCAA Division I head coach is incredibly difficult, but that doesn’t bother Jim Hayford.

The schedule for the first-year Eastern men’s basketball coach is top-heavy with perennial NCAA Tournament teams, including the likes of Gonzaga, Oregon, UCLA and Saint Mary’s.

In all, the Eagles play 15 games versus 11 NCAA Division I schools who played in national postseason tournaments in 2011. The Eagles will play all 11 of those foes on the road, as well as four league home games.

“This will be a very difficult preseason schedule,” admitted Hayford. “It’s road-heavy and the opponents are very good. But it’s also the kind of schedule we need to play to prepare ourselves to become a perpetual postseason team.”

Headlining the list of opponents are 2011 NCAA Tournament participants Gonzaga from the West Coast Conference, UCLA from the Pac-12 and Northern Colorado from the Big Sky. Eastern officially opens its season at Gonzaga on Nov. 11, and plays at UCLA on Dec. 14. The Eagles and Bears play in Greeley, Colo., on Jan. 14 and in Cheney, Wash., on Feb. 15.

The Eagles play a pair of road games against teams which played in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) a year ago – Washington State from the Pac-12 (Dec. 3) and Saint Mary’s from the WCC (Dec. 20). The Cougars won three games before losing in the semifinals to Wichita State.

A third Pac-12 foe on Eastern’s road schedule is Oregon (Nov. 17), which won last year’s College Basketball Invitational Tournament (CBI). Other EWU opponents who played in the CBI are Big Sky rivals Montana and Weber State.

The Eagles also play three teams who participated in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT), including road games at Hawaii (Nov. 22) and Idaho (Nov. 30). Northern Arizona from the Big Sky also played in the CIT in 2011.

Eastern’s other NCAA Division I non-conference games are against South Dakota (Nov. 15 at home), UC Davis (Nov. 27 at home), Cal State Fullerton (Dec. 11 on the road) and Seattle (Jan. 16 on the road). The Eagles will also play on the road in an ESPN BracketBusters game on Feb. 17 or 18.

Eastern’s Big Sky Conference slate begins Dec. 28 and Dec. 30 with road games at Montana State and Montana, respectively. The Eagles open their league home schedule on Jan. 5 versus Weber State, then host Northern Arizona two nights later. Eastern home games will begin at 6:05 p.m. Pacific time this season, except for a Sunday afternoon game versus UC Davis (1:35 p.m.).

The quarterfinals of the Big Sky Conference Tournament are scheduled for March 3 at campus sites. The regular season champion will host the semifinals on March 6 and the championship game on March 7.

 

Coaches Pick Eagles to Finish Third

Whether or not the respect is warranted will be determined next March. But for now, new Eastern men’s basketball coach Jim Hayford and his team received notable respect from Big Sky Conference head coaches by being picked to finish third, the league announced on Oct. 19.

With eight returning letterwinners and several talented newcomers, Eastern was picked by the coaches to finish behind predicted winner Weber State and runner-up Montana in the league race. The Eagles were just one point ahead of fourth-place Northern Colorado, the league’s defending regular season and tournament champion.

In the media poll, Eastern was picked to finish sixth, just three points away from No. 5 Portland State. Weber State, Montana, Northern Colorado and Northern Arizona held down the first four positions.

“The coaches who have been in the conference know about this much more than me,” said Hayford, “and they are saying it looks like a very competitive conference race with many close games in store for our team.”

The top six teams in the regular season standings advance to the league’s postseason tournament, which begins March 3, 2012. Last year, Eastern finished 10-20 overall and 7-9 in the Big Sky to advance to the tournament for the first time in five years.

“Both polls pick us to be in the post-season,” added Hayford, who was 217-57 the past five seasons at NCAA Division III Whitworth University. “I hope they are correct.”

Eastern opens the 2011-12 season on Nov. 11 at Gonzaga, and its league opener is Dec. 28 at Montana State.

 

Coaches Poll
1. Weber State (8) – 64 votes
2. Montana (1) – 56
3. Eastern Washington – 42
4. Northern Colorado – 41
5. Portland State – 38
6. Northern Arizona – 35
7. Montana State – 24
8. Sacramento State – 16
9. Idaho State – 9

Media Poll
1. Weber State (19) – 210
2. Montana (4) – 193
3. Northern Colorado (1) – 141
4. Northern Arizona – 125
5. Portland State – 112
6. Eastern Washington – 109
7. Montana State – 101
8. Sacramento State – 45
9.  Idaho State – 41

 

Eagles Versus Ranked Teams

Now 1-17 versus nationally-ranked teams, Eastern takes on a Gonzaga team ranked 23rd in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today preseason coaches' polls.

Eastern lost to Washington 98-72 on Nov. 16, 2010, and 86-57 to Gonzaga on Nov. 30, 2010, in EWU’s most recent games against nationally-ranked teams. Washington was ranked 17th by Associated Press and 15th in the ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll, and Gonzaga was 24th by the coaches.

In the 2009-10 season, the Eagles fell 94-52 to Gonzaga on Dec. 28, 2009. The Bulldogs were ranked 22nd by ESPN/USA Today, but were just out of the top 25 at No. 26 by Associated Press. The 2008-09 season was the first time since 2002-03 that Eastern did not play a nationally-ranked team. The Eagles played 12 such games in the five seasons before that.

Eastern’s list versus nationally-ranked teams includes three games in the 2004-05 season alone as well as three the year before. Seven of the games came under former head coach Mike Burns and five others came under Ray Giacoletti from 2000-2004.
11/11/11 vs. #23 Gonzaga

11/30/10 vs. #24 (ESPN/USA Today) Gonzaga - L, 57-86
11/16/10 vs. #17 Washington - L, 72-98
12/28/09 vs. #22 (ESPN/USA Today) Gonzaga - L, 52-94
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

 

Hayford Enters First Season as Head Coach

After spending 10 seasons building nearby Whitworth University into a NCAA Division III powerhouse, Jim Hayford was announced as Eastern’s new head men’s basketball coach on March 29, 2011. He becomes Eastern’s 17th head coach in history and ninth at the NCAA Division I level (since 1983-84).

In his tenure at the helm of the Pirates, Hayford had a record of 217-57 and a winning percentage of .792. He coached the Pirates to eight 20-win seasons, six appearances in the NCAA Division III Tournament (including the last five seasons in a row), five Northwest Conference titles, three NCAA DIII Sweet 16 appearances (2008, 2010, 2011) and one Elite Eight appearance (2011).

Hayford, 43, earned five NWC Coach of the Year awards and was honored by the National Association of Basketball Coaches as the West Region Coach of the Year in both the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons. In Hayford’s final two years at Whitworth, the Pirates were 54-5 overall and 31-1 in league play. Whitworth was ranked 21-consecutive times in the D3hoops.com NCAA Division III rankings over Hayford’s final three seasons at Whitworth.

During his 10 seasons leading the Pirates, Hayford coached six Northwest Conference Players of the Year – Bryan Depew (2003), Lance Pecht (2006), Bryan Williams (2007), Ryan Symes (2008), Nate Montgomery (2010) and Michael Taylor (2011). During the same period, 25 Whitworth players earned All-NWC honors, including 18 first-team selections.

Including his two seasons at Sioux Falls (1999-2001), Hayford’s win-loss record is 254-84 (.751) in 12 seasons as a head coach. His career winning percentage ranks among the top 10 among all active NCAA Division III coaches.

Whitworth spent three weeks in the 2010-11 season ranked No. 1 in the D3hoops.com NCAA Division III rankings, including the top ranking at the end of the regular season. The Pirates set a school record for victories  and winning percentage in finishing 28-2 (.933), and ended the season ranked fifth nationally after losing at Wooster 76-66 on March 12, 2011. Whitworth advanced to the NCAA Division III Sectional Final (Elite Eight) for the first time in school history, while making its fifth-straight NCAA DIII Tournament appearance. The Pirates also claimed their fifth-straight NWC Tournament title.

 
 

SEASON OUTLOOK

Although team has eight returning players, it’s going to feel like 16 newcomers to Hayford and his coaching staff

Having experienced players is always a nice bonus, but everybody seems like a newcomer to a new head coach.

For first-year Eastern Washington University men’s basketball head coach Jim Hayford, blending eight returning letterwinners with eight newcomers will be the early-season challenge for his coaching staff. By the time Big Sky Conference play rolls around on Dec. 28, Hayford hopes it will be an entirely different situation than the one his team will face in his Eastern head coaching debut Nov. 11 at Gonzaga.

“It isn’t eight newcomers, it is 16 newcomers getting used to four new coaches,” he said. “That is a big part of the situation. Our opening game is at Gonzaga, and it will be the first time we will learn how players respond to our coaching. We’ll see what they’ve picked up and what they have not picked up. It will be baptism by fire right off the bat.

“On the other side, there are eight of those players who have been on this journey before,” he continued. “They know what it will be like and have received good coaching before I was here. We are certainly going to build on that. But there are name tags on everybody’s chest right now.”

Hayford inherited a team that finished 10-20 a year ago and finished 7-9 in the Big Sky to advance to the league tournament for the first time in five seasons. After having won 79 percent of his games (217-57) in 10 seasons at Whitworth University, he hopes he can instill that winning attitude in his players.

“The players want to win, and they are open to being taught how to win,” he said. “They are very coachable and teachable. They are eager, and for a teacher it’s exciting when you have eager students. Where we have deficiencies in size, speed and skill, we are going to work hard to improve those. I think it will be a competitive season, particularly when we get into conference play following some bumps in the non-conference season. They have to get used to me and I will get familiar with them.”

The ultimate goal, Hayford said, is to make the Eagles a perennial postseason entrant. That was the case in 2003 and 2004 when Eastern advanced to the NIT and NCAA tournaments, respectively.

And to achieve that again, the Eagles need lots of practice time and a difficult preseason schedule to help them improve.

“Throughout my coaching career, my main goal has been to get better every day,” he said. “We need to improve in each and every practice and game. The non-conference schedule is tough. But those are the types of teams we need to be able to compete with if we are going to reach our goal of having Eastern Washington be a part of the postseason every year.”

Hayford knows what building a championship contender is like. Before he arrived at Whitworth, the school was 13-12. His first year at the helm the Pirates were 20-7, and his second season they were 23-4 and advanced to the NCAA Division III Tournament. In his final two seasons, Whitworth was 54-5 overall and 31-1 in league play, and advanced to the DIII Sweet 16 in 2010 and the Elite Eight in 2011.

“The beginning of each new season brings promise and opportunity,” he said. “This is a new beginning for Eastern Washington basketball and there is hope on the horizon. In between hope, promise and opportunity and realizing our goals, is just a bucket load of work. It’s time to go to work and that is our focus. We’re excited – we think we’ve added some players to our roster who will make us even more competitive.”

 

Improved Shooting, Execution and Offensive Rebounding are Three Keys to the Season

Hayford is hoping to find a way to improve the team’s shooting percentage, which was at 40.8 percent overall and 36.9 percent from 3-point range in the 2010-11 season. Eastern hasn’t shot better than 41.6 percent from the field since the 2006-07 season when the Eagles made 49.5 percent and featured current professionals Rodney Stuckey and Paul Butorac. Eastern hasn’t shot better than last year’s percentage from the three-point stripe since the 2001-02 season when it made 38.5 percent from the arc.

A year ago, Eastern finished the season ranked eighth out of nine schools in the Big Sky in field goal percentage, but did make up for it somewhat by leading the league with an average of 12.3 offensive rebounds per game. Hayford hopes that effort on the boards is duplicated this season.

“We need to shoot the ball at a higher percentage than Eastern has in the past,” he said. “To improve your team field goal percentage, the first thing you have to do is make shots. We need each player to be living in the gym shooting the basketball – that’s the best way I know to be a better shooter.

 “Secondly, our execution has to be good because good shots come from good teamwork,” he continued. “Next, we are going to have to become a good offensive rebounding team, because if you shoot, miss and put it back in, my math says that is 50 percent. So as we improve our execution, our shot selection, our skill development and our rebounding, we will see our field goal percentage rise. With that will come success.”

 

Guards Feature Experienced Trio Who Averaged at Least 24 Minutes Each . . .

Three guards return who all averaged at least 24 minutes per game, including senior point guard Cliff Colimon and juniors Jeffrey Forbes and Kevin Winford. That trio combined to start 60 games last year and have 99 total starts in their careers.

“The most experienced part of our team is the backcourt,” said Hayford. “We have three guards who have been through Big Sky play and have performed in conference games at a high level. That is the most solid part of the foundation that we are building on.”

Colimon averaged 10.4 points and 1.8 assists as a 15-game starter a year ago. Forbes and Winford started 23 and 22 games, respectively, and both have started since they were freshmen. Forbes averaged 9.8 points and 2.0 assists a year ago, and Winford averaged 9.9 points and 1.0 assists.

That trio – all standing between 5-foot-10 and six feet tall – combined to nail 169 3-pointers in the 2010-11 season.

“Last year, those three players were frequently on the court together,” Hayford explained. “As we looked at video, that created match-up problems because they are all under 6 feet tall. We don’t plan to have all three of those guys on the court at the same time too much, which means we’ll have two guys with some experience but other spots with not as much experience. This is where we need to find out the right blend.”

A junior college transfer, Colimon came on strong at the end of his junior season and now takes over the reins as EWU’s full-time point guard. He averaged 19.0 points in the last three games of the season, closing the year with a career-high 27 points in Eastern’s 79-70 loss to Weber State in the Big Sky Conference Tournament. His late-season surge helps soften the blow of having Glen Dean, a second team All-Big Sky Conference point guard last season and the league’s 2009-2010 Freshman of the Year, transfer to Utah.

“As I’ve talked with other coaches in the Big Sky and reviewed video, over the course of the last five or six games of the conference season, Cliff played as good as any guard in the league,” praised Hayford. “Cliff is excited to be the undisputed leader of this team his senior season, and I expect him to be one of the standout guards in the Big Sky Conference.

The trio of returning players will be joined in the backcourt by some taller newcomers in Willie Hankins (6-3), Tyler Harvey (6-4) and Parker Kelly (6-4), in addition to St. Joseph’s transfer Justin Crosgile (5-11). Harvey and Crosgile will redshirt the 2011-12 season.

 

Eagles Hope Tremayne Johnson Turns Potential into Reality his Senior Season . . .

One of the most talented players in the Big Sky Conference, 6-foot-7 Tremayne Johnson joins a pair of returning starters along the front line. Johnson came off the bench in 22 of 30 games and ranked in the top 23 in the Big Sky Conference in three categories, finishing with averages of 10.0 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.2 blocked shots per game.

Johnson scored in double figures 13 times, including four performances of at least 20 points. But he also had 11 performances of five or less points, meaning consistency is a major factor in how much he is able to help Eastern win this season.

 “I think Tremayne Johnson is going to have a great senior year,” said Hayford. “He’s maybe the biggest “X” factor on this team and needs to reach his potential. I’ve told him the worst word you want next to your name heading into your senior year is potential. I expect him to have a great year.”

The two returning starters in the front court are 6-8 senior Laron Griffin and 6-7 senior Cliff Ederaine. Griffin averaged 6.1 points, 6.8 rebounds and 0.9 blocked shots per game. Ederaine was slightly better at 8.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.1 blocked shots each outing. Both also averaged better than one assist per game, and Ederaine led the team with 29 steals in 30 games.

Ederaine was a 46.7 percent shooter from the field and Griffin finished at 43.6 percent. But both struggled from the free throw line, making 45.6 and 56.8 percent, respectively.

Also back at forward are a pair of sophomores – Rocky Brown and Jaylen Henry. Brown, a 6-6 small forward, averaged 1.6 points and 2.1 rebounds in 21 games off the bench in the 2010-11 season. Henry, a solid 6-7, 230 pounds, averaged 1.5 points and 2.9 rebounds in 11 games as a freshman.

Among Eastern’s newcomers is high-scoring junior college transfer Collin Chiverton. The 6-6, 200-pound junior averaged 19 points, five rebounds and 2.5 assists per game in leading City College of San Francisco to a 32-1 record and the 2010-11 California Community Colleges Athletic Association title. Most importantly, in the four seasons he has played since his junior year in high school, teams that Chiverton has played on have won 114 of 131 games for an 87 percent winning rate.

“Collin was a prolific junior college scorer and one of the top high school players on the West Coast,” said Hayford. “He can slide down and play the shooting guard position, which makes us bigger in the backcourt as well.”

Also available this season in the front court is 6-9 Jordan Hickert, a native of Australia who attended and played at Neosho County Junior College in Chanute, Kan., for two seasons. As a sophomore, Hickert made 56-of-130 3-point attempts, and his 43.1 percent shooting accuracy from the 3-point arc ranked 17th among all National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division I players.

“We recruited a really good shooter in Jordan Hickert, so he brings size to the forward position,” said Hayford. “He’s a great shooter. And then we have Cliff Ederaine – he’s a very versatile player, but we need to improve his free throw shooting. Laron plays hard and is a great rebounder. Those players as a group really rebound the ball well, and that is one of the strong points of our foundation.”

Justin Omogun, a 6-8, 240-pound sophomore, joins the Eastern program from Western Nebraska Community College. Martin Seiferth, a 6-10, 230-pound junior from Berlin, Germany, will redshirt after playing previously at the University of Oregon.

 
 

SERIES HISTORY

EWU versus Gonzaga Series History: Eastern has lost the last 23 meetings against Gonzaga, with the last Eastern win in the series coming on Jan. 8, 1990, in Spokane by a 70-55 score. Eastern is 5-33 versus Gonzaga since Eastern moved to NCAA Division I in the 1983-84 season, including a 2-15 record at Gonzaga, 2-12 mark in Cheney and 1-5 record on neutral courts. The two teams paired off in the Inland Empire Classic at the old Spokane Coliseum in November of 1986 and 1987. The Bulldogs lead the all-time series 52-7. Here is a list of the meetings since EWU became a member of NCAA Division I in the 1983-84 season.
12/7/83 - L - 57-86 - A
1/10/84 - L - 80-91 - H
2/5/85 - L - 52-62 - A
2/11/85 - W - 66-63 - H
1/10/86 - W - 56-54 - H
2/12/86 - W - 60-58 - A
11/29/86 - W - 62-60 - N
12/20/86 - L - 58-87 - A
1/20/87 - L - 69-79 - H
11/28/87 - L - 61-82 - N
12/5/87 - L - 63-75 - A
1/5/88 - L - 68-88 - H
12/1/88 - L - 63-75 - H
12/10/88 - L - 68-70 - A
1/8/90 - W - 70-55 - A
12/13/90 - L - 67-108 - H
12/15/90 - L - 63-81 - A
12/15/91 - L - 67-74 - A
1/4/92 - L - 49-67 - H
12/23/92 - L - 50-71 - A
1/9/93 - L - 68-73 - H
12/11/93 - L - 54-99 - A
12/22/94 - L - 58-68 - H
12/22/95 - L - 55-68 - A
1/5/96 - L - 53-63 - H
12/21/96 - L - 65-80 - H
12/14/97 - L - 78-100 - A
11/30/98 - L - 59-81 - H
11/26/99 - L - 47-81 - A
11/17/00 - L - 65-74 - H
12/4/01 - L - 74-84 OT - A
12/22/02 - L - 64-67 - N
12/31/03 - L - 49-70 - N
12/21/04 - L - 70-83 - N
12/19/05 - L - 65-75 - N
11/10/06 - L - 75-90 - A
12/28/09 - L - 52-94 - A
11/30/10 - L - 57-86 - A

 

Last Season Versus Gonzaga -- Three-Pointers Bury Eagles as Gonzaga Cruises to 86-57 Win

A barrage of three-pointers in the first half helped 24th-ranked Gonzaga open a 49-20 lead at halftime and the Bulldogs went on to defeat undermanned Eastern Washington University 86-57 Nov. 30, 2010, in a non-conference college basketball game at the McCarthey Center in Spokane, Wash.

Gonzaga, unranked in the Associated Press poll but ranked 24th by the coaches, hit 9-of-10 treys in the first half, including a remarkable 6-of-7 performance by Steven Gray. The victory improved Gonzaga’s record to 4-2.

Guard Jeffrey Forbes scored 18 points and had seven rebounds and three assists to lead the Eagles, who fell to 1-5 this season. Eastern was playing its third game in seven nights.

Because of injuries, the Eagles played the game without a true point guard for the third time in six games. Returning starter Glen Dean (stress fracture in his foot) missed his sixth-straight game, and Cliff Colimon (sprained ankle) missed the GU game and two others. The absence of a true point guard helped lead to 12 first-half turnovers for the Eagles.

Including the absence of Rashano McCrae (concussion), the Eagles played with only eight players against GU.

Gray finished with all 18 of his points in the first half. A total of four Bulldogs scored in double figures, including 13 by Mathi Moenninghoff, who made all five of his shots and all three of his three-point attempts.

The Bulldogs finished the game making 58 percent of their shots from the field, including 11-of-16 three-point attempts (69 percent). Eastern made only 34 percent, including 8-of-24 from the three-point stripe (33 percent). The Eagles were out-rebounded 37-36 and finished with five more turnovers than GU (21-16).

Guard Kevin Winford added 11 points, and Tremayne Johnson and Cliff Ederaine chipped in nine and eight, respectively.

The game was knotted at 2-2 when Gray hit a trey in an 8-0 run that gave the Bulldogs a 10-2 early advantage. Gonzaga led 20-10 when Gray hit a trio of three-pointers in a 16-2 Bulldog run that gave them a 36-12 lead. Eastern went 4 1/2 minutes without scoring during that stretch. Gonzaga added two more three-pointers after that, and never allowed the Eagles to score back-to-back baskets in the first 20 minutes.

Gonzaga scored the first five points of the second half to open a 34-point advantage, then continued to pad its lead as the Eagles went 4:14 without scoring during one stretch to turn fall behind 80-38 with 7:07 to play.

 

Last Season Versus South Dakota -- Eastern Can’t Hold Seven-Point Lead in Second Half and Loses 78-72

The Eastern Washington University men’s basketball team ended its pre-Big Sky Conference schedule with a 78-72 loss to South Dakota Dec. 20, 2010, at the DakotaDome in Vermillion, S.D. The Eagles, who led by as many as seven points early in the second half, fell to 3-8 on the season while the Coyotes improved to 5-7. It was the first-ever meeting for EWU against the Coyotes.

Eastern made only 37 percent of its shots from the field against South Dakota, including only 32 percent in the second half. Two days earlier, Eastern made a season-low 21 percent of its shots in a 72-42 loss at Nebraska. Eastern made only 7-of-32 three-pointers against South Dakota for 22 percent; against Nebraska the Eagles made only 7-of-31 (23 percent).

Eastern was led by the 16 points of guard Glen Dean, who made 5-of-11 shots from the field and 3-of-6 from the three-point stripe. Fellow guards Jeffrey Forbes, Kevin Winford and Cliff Colimon combined for 7-of-31 shooting (23 percent), including just 3-of-22 from the arc (14 percent).

A 10-2 run helped erase Eastern’s 38-31 advantage early in the half, and Eastern sent the Coyotes to the free throw line 24 times in the second half where they made 16. In the first half, South Dakota shot just two.

Forward Cliff Ederaine scored 14 points for the Eagles, and also hauled down a game-high nine rebounds. True freshman Jaylen Henry came off the bench to score five points and grab seven rebounds, one game after getting three points and six boards versus Nebraska.

 
 

2010-11 REVIEW

Eagles Conclude 2010-11 Season 10-20

Eastern finished the 2010-11 season with a 10-20 record overall as the Eagles advanced to the Big Sky Conference Tournament for the first time in five years. The Eagles finished 7-9 and in a fifth-place tie with Montana State in the Big Sky Conference standings.

Eastern’s season came to an end with a 79-70 loss at Weber State in the quarterfinal round of the tournament. That came just three days after the Eagles stunned WSU at home 75-59 to end the regular season, marking just the fourth victory in 29 tries all-time in Ogden for Eastern. It was also one of just two road wins in 16 attempts in the 2010-11 season for EWU, which snapped a five-game losing streak to WSU.

Because of the upset, the Wildcats lost their chance at a first-round bye and had to face the Eagles again. In the rematch, WSU out-scored EWU 46-25 in the second half as the Wildcats overcame a 12-point EWU halftime lead and a 15-point deficit early in the second half.

One game earlier, a stunning 59-55 overtime victory over league-leader Montana helped clinch the postseason berth for the Eagles. In the process, EWU kept the Grizzlies from clinching at least a share of the league title.

With a 7-9 league mark, Eastern garnered its first berth in the Big Sky Conference Tournament since the 2005-06 season. Although the Eagles and Wildcats had never met in the quarterfinals, Eastern defeated the Wildcats three times in the semifinals of the Big Sky Conference Tournament (72-53 in 2004, 62-57 in 2002 and 83-67 in 1990).

Eastern is now 7-10 in 11 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.

 
 

2010-11 TEAM & PLAYER NOTES

Eastern Breaks School Records For Three-Pointers Made and Attempted as Trio of Sophomores Climb Lists

 The Eagles finished the 2010-11 season with a pair of school records for three-point shooting. Eastern finished with 242 makes and 656 attempts, breaking the single season makes record of 241 set in 1999, and the record for attempts of 649 set the same season.

Three sophomore guards led the way and already rank in the top 10 on several Eastern season and career lists. Kevin Winford made 66 three-pointers in the 2010-11 season to rank fifth in single season school history, and his 187 attempts are fourth. On career charts, his 100 makes are eighth and his 291 attempts are seventh. Jeffrey Forbes has 102 three-pointers made in his career to rank seventh, his 263 attempts are 11th and his .388 percentage ranks 10th. Glen Dean, who has since transferred to Utah, had a career three-point field goal percentage of .422 that currently ranks fifth in school history, and his 95 treys made are 12th.

That trio of players has also been impressive from the free throw line in their careers. Forbes, in fact, set a single season school record for free throw percentage (.900, 54-of-60), just ahead of the previous record of .899 set by Darren Cooper in 2002). In his career, Forbes has made what would be a school record at 88.8 percent (103-of-116), but he is four attempts shy to meet the minimum of two free throw attempts per game. Dean is currently ranked ninth on EWU’s career list (79.1 percent, 163-of-206), and Winford’s 84.8 percent (56-of-66) would rank third had he met the minimums (he has 66 and would need 116). Currently with the school record is the 84.9 percent performance of Eastern Athletics Hall of Fame member Dick Edwards (1953-55).

 

Blocked Shots Totals High Too

With 120 blocked shots for the season, Eastern finished only 10 blocked shots away from the school record of 130 set in 2006. A trio of Eastern players recorded three of the top 11 single season performances in school history including Tremayne Johnson (35, third), Cliff Ederaine (34, tied for fourth) and Laron Griffin (28, tied for 11th).

 

Eagles in Big Sky Conference Statistics

In Big Sky Conference statistics, Eastern had the league’s third-leading rebounder in junior college transfer Cliff Ederaine, who averaged 7.4 rebounds per game. Teammate Laron Griffin was sixth (6.8), with Griffin and Ederaine ranking 2-4 in the league in offensive rebounds, respectively (3.1, 2.8). As a team, Eastern led the league in offensive rebounds (12.3) and was second in offensive rebound percentage (.340). Tremayne Johnson was fourth in blocked shots (1.2), Ederaine was fifth (1.1) and Griffin was eighth (0.9) as the Eagles ranked third as a team in the league (4.0).

The Eagles led the league in three-pointers made per game (8.1), and were fourth in rebounds per game (34.4) and three-point field goal percentage (.369). Eastern ranked eighth in field goal percentage (.408) and free throw percentage (.663), and were seventh in scoring defense (70.6), scoring margin (-3.2) and rebounds allowed (35.3).

Point guard Glen Dean averaged 13.3 points and 4.2 assists per game to lead the Eagles in both categories and ranked ninth and third, respectively, in the Big Sky. He was also fourth in the league in assist-to-turnover ratio (+1.7 per game with 97 assists and 56 turnovers), was seventh in three-pointers made per game (2.0), sixth in three-point field goal percentage (.416) and ninth in free throw percentage (.778, 77-of-99).

Also, Kevin Winford was fifth in three-pointers made per game (2.2) and is 26th in scoring (9.9). Jeffrey Forbes was 10th in three-pointers made per game (1.8) and 28th in scoring (9.8). Johnson finished 23rd in scoring (10.0), 16th in rebounding (5.1) and 14th in free throw percentage (77-of-101 for 76.2 percent), and Cliff Colimon was 21st in scoring (10.4).

In statistics from league games only, Eastern was first in the league in turnover margin (+2.0 per game) and was second in three-pointers made per game (7.6). Its worst rankings were eighth in total rebounds per game (31.8) and seventh in rebounding margin (-1.5 per game). Individually, Dean was 10th in scoring (13.9), fourth in assists (4.6), third in assist-to-turnover ratio (+1.8 per game with 74 assists and 41 turnovers) and sixth in free throw percentage (56-of-69 for 81.2 percent). Ederaine ranked seventh in rebounds (6.8) and was fifth in offensive rebounds (2.6), and Griffin was eighth in rebounds (6.5) and third in offensive rebounds (2.8).

 

Eagle Trends

The Eagles were just 10-20 in the 2010-11 season, but had a winning record at 8-5 when they had a better field goal percentage than their opponents, and were 6-3 when they made at least 45 percent from the field. However, Eastern was just 2-15 when it was out-shot from the field, and 4-17 when it made 44 percent or less.

Eastern was 8-7 when it out-rebounded or was tied in rebounding, but was 2-13 when it was out-rebounded. The Eagles were also 7-5 when they scored at least 70 points and 3-15 when they scored 69 or fewer.

In EWU’s only two road wins of the season -- a 75-59 victory at Weber State on March 2 and a 69-67 win at Idaho State on Feb. 5 that snapped an 18-game road losing streak dating back to last year -- the Eagles had some important milestones. Those were the only times in 17 games in the 2010-11 season the Eagles won when they did not have a better field goal percentage than their opponent. The ISU game was also only one of two times they won in 15 games when they were out-rebounded. Eastern had a season-low seven turnovers in the win over the Bengals, bettered the next game with just five at home versus Weber State.

 

Eagles Shoot 45 Percent at Home and 38 Percent on the Road

With an 8-6 record at home and 2-14 mark on the road, you didn’t have to look much further than shooting percentage to see a major reason why. Eastern made 44.6 percent at home (40.9 percent from the three-point line), leading to an average of 74.7 points per game. On the road, Eastern shot at a 37.5 percent clip (33.0 percent from the arc) and averaged just 61.1 points per game.

Opponents made only 41.2 percent at Reese Court but 46.1 percent on their home courts. Additionally, Eastern had a plus 3.6 rebounding margin at home, and was a minus 4.9 on the road.

 

Normally Frosty on the Road, Forbes Heats Up in Ogden

Eastern sophomore guard Jeffrey Forbes entered the March 2 game at Weber State averaging only 6.6 points per game on the road on 31.7 percent shooting (30.5 percent from the three-point line). But he responded in a huge way, making 7-of-9 shots overall and 3-of-5 attempts from the arc in EWU’s 75-59 win. He finished with 17 points and also had a pair of steals as EWU forced a season-high 23 turnovers leading to a season-high 29 points off turnovers. His scoring performance was his best in 16 games since back-to-back 21-point efforts to open the league season against Sacramento State and Northern Colorado in late December.

For the season, Forbes averaged 12.9 points per game at home, making 46.8 percent of his shots overall and 47.8 percent from three-point range. On the road, he was sixth on the team with a 7.2 average on 35.7 percent shooting overall and 33.8 percent from the arc.

Forbes scored in double figures 13 times, and led the team in scoring three times. He had a team-leading four 20-point performances -- all at home -- including 23 versus New Hope and 21 in back-to-back home games versus Sacramento State and Northern Colorado. He finished fifth on the team with a 9.8 scoring average, making 41.2 percent of his field goal attempts overall and 55-of-134 three-point attempts (41.0 percent). He also averaged 2.0 assists per outing. He also led Eastern in assists and steals eight times each, rebounds twice and blocked shots once.

Forbes set a single season school record for free throw percentage (.900, 54-of-60), just ahead of the previous record of .899 set by Darren Cooper in 2002. On EWU career lists, Forbes has a .888 free throw percentage (103-of-116) that would rank as the school record ahead of Dick Edwards (.849 from 1953-55), but Forbes doesn’t meet the minimum of two attempts per game to qualify (he has 116 and would need 120). His 102 three-pointers made in his career ranks seventh, his 263 attempts are 11th and his .388 percentage ranks 10th.

 

Cliff Notes

Two key Eastern newcomers -- both juniors who transferred from junior colleges -- are known as “Big Cliff” and “Little Cliff,” and both were huge in Eastern’s last two victories of the 2010-11 season. In a 59-55 overtime win over Montana, six-foot-seven forward Cliff Ederaine had 14 points and six rebounds, while six-foot guard Cliff Colimon had 13 points, a season-high seven rebounds and a pair of assists. They followed that by combining for 33 points in a 75-59 win over Weber State on March 2, with Ederaine scoring 16 with six rebounds. Colimon had 17 points, including 13 in the second half when he made a trio of three-pointers to help EWU turn a six-point lead into an 11-point advantage.

Colimon, who averaged 19.0 points in the last three games of the season, closed the year with a career-high 27 points in Eastern’s 79-70 loss to Weber State in the Big Sky Conference Tournament. He made 8-of-15 shots from the field, including 5-of-7 three-point attempts, and sank 6-of-9 free throws. He scored 22 in the first half alone when he bettered his previous high of 21 set earlier in the 2010-11 season against Northwest University. His previous high versus a NCAA Division I opponent was 18 against Seattle.

Big Cliff and Little Cliff were also impressive in an 83-70 Big Sky victory over Idaho State on Jan. 29. Ederaine had 13 points and six rebounds, and made a three-pointer in the second half as the shot clock expired on his first attempt of the year. A 37.6 percent free throw shooter entering the game, he also made both of his free throws. He is from Moreno Valley, Calif., and played previously at College of the Sequoias in California.

Colimon scored 10 with four assists in the victory over the Bengals, including a pair of baskets early in the second half to help turn a three-point halftime deficit into a 13-point win. However, it was his defense on ISU guard Broderick Gilchrest that was the key to the game. Idaho State’s leading scorer entering the game with a 15.0 average per game, Gilchrest scored only six points on 2-of-9 shooting. Colimon is from Brooklyn, N.Y., and transferred to Eastern from Eastern Utah Junior College.

For the season, Ederaine scored in double figures 10 times, including a career-high 22 points with eight rebounds against Sacramento State on Dec. 29. He had one double-double with 12 points and 17 rebounds against New Hope on Dec. 4 as his rebounding performance equaled the fifth-best recorded performance in school history. He led Eastern in scoring once and rebounding on 13 occasions, and averaged 8.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.1 blocked shots per game on the season. He was the only Eagle to have started all 23 games in the 2010-11 season until that streak ended against Weber State on Feb. 12, but he started 29 of 30 for the season.

Colimon scored in double figures 13 times, including a career-high 21 points in the second game of his EWU career against Northwest University on Nov. 18. He averaged 10.4 points to rank second on the team, and also averaged 1.8 assists and 2.3 rebounds per game. He led the team in scoring and assists four times each, steals on 11 occasions and blocked shots once.

 

Winford Climbing Up Three-Point Charts

Sophomore guard Kevin Winford made 66 three-pointers in the 2010-11 season to rank fifth in single season school history, and his 187 attempts are fifth. On career charts, his 100 makes are eighth and his 291 attempts are seventh. In addition, his .848 free throw percentage would rank third in school history if he had enough attempts to qualify (he has 66 and would need 116).

For the season, Winford scored in double figures 13 times, but none in his last eight games of the season when he averaged only 5.3 points per outing. He led the team in scoring on six occasions, steals seven times, assists in three games and blocked shots twice. He was fourth on the team with a 9.9 scoring average for the season, making 37.5 percent of his field goal attempts overall and 66-of-187 three-point attempts (35.3 percent). He also made 34-of-41 free throws (82.9 percent), including 26-of-30 in league play (86.7 percent). However, he averaged just 7.9 points per game in league, making only 32.5 percent of his shots overall and 31.3 percent from the arc.

Winford sparked the Eagles to a pair of come-from-behind victories, scoring 12 points in the second half of wins over Portland State (65-51 on Jan. 27) and Idaho State (83-70 on Jan. 29). In the two games he scored 26 points, with 24 of them coming in the second half when he made a collective 9-of-11 from the field and 6-of-7 from three-point range. He was 0-9 overall and 0-7 from the arc in the first half of those games.

The Eagles had a collective 96-62 advantage after intermission in those victories, compared to a 59-52 deficit in the first half as EWU trailed at halftime of both games. In both games, Winford fueled runs that opened up the game for the Eagles. He scored six of EWU’s points in a 12-2 run against PSU that gave EWU a 48-37 lead. Two nights later, he hit a trio of threes in a 14-4 Eastern run that gave EWU a 53-43 advantage.

Winford poured in 39 points -- including a record 10 three-pointers -- in Eastern’s overwhelming 112-41 non-conference victory over New Hope Christian College on Dec. 4. En route to the fifth-best scoring night in school history against New Hope, Winford broke the school record of nine treys he set just a week earlier against Idaho on Nov. 27. As a team, the Eagles broke the school record for made three-pointers (18) and three pointers attempted (43), and tied the mark for field goals made in a game with 45. Previous records were 16 three-pointers versus Cascade on Dec. 14, 2007; 38 attempts versus Nevada on Feb. 14, 1991; and 45 field goals made against U.S. International on Feb. 2, 1991.

Winford’s 23 three-point attempts were also a Big Sky Conference record, breaking the previous mark of 17 set by Nevada’s Kevin Franklin against Oregon on Dec. 16, 1989. His makes were third-most, with Portland State’s Brian Towne owning the record with 12 in a 1998 game against Idaho State. As a team, Eastern was two made three-pointers from the Big Sky record of 20, but its 43 attempts were a record. The previous league mark of 41 was set by Weber State against Utah State in the 1993-94 season.

Against Idaho just seven days earlier, Winford finished with what was then a career-high with 28 points as he made 8-of-16 treys, breaking the record for attempts as well. Winford, a 2008 graduate of Bartlett High School in Anchorage, Alaska, broke the previous record of seven three-pointers set on 11 different occasions by five different Eagles. The latest was Marc Axton versus Gonzaga on Dec. 21, 2004, and the first was Greg Gaulding versus New Mexico on Feb. 1, 1987. Shannon Taylor had five of the performances during his two-year career from 1998-99.

Winford’s previous career high for points was 20 set twice in the 2009-10 season as a redshirt freshman.

 

Former Junior College Teammates Tremayne Johnson and Laron Griffin Contribute in Big Ways

Junior forward Tremayne Johnson scored 29 points and had nine total rebounds in back-to-back games versus Idaho State (Feb. 5) and Weber State (Feb. 12). Two games earlier against Idaho State on Jan. 29, he only scored three points but had eight rebounds, a career-high four assists and a blocked shot in EWU’s 83-70 win. Three of his rebounds came on the offensive end.

For the season, Johnson scored in double figures 13 times, including four performances of at least 20 points. He led Eastern in scoring five times, including a 20-point effort in a 65-51 win over Portland State on Jan. 27. In addition, he rebounded in double figures twice and led the Eagles on the boards in three games. He also was the team leader in blocked shots in 15 games, steals in seven outings and assists on one occasion. He finished third on the team with a 10.0 scoring average for the season, making 42.1 percent of his field goal attempts. He also averaged 5.1 rebounds and 1.2 blocked shots per game.

Johnson is an extremely athletic and talented 6-foot-7 forward who played one season with EWU teammate Laron Griffin at Los Angeles Southwest Junior College. Johnson attended EWU for the first time in January 2010 after completing his associate degree, but as a mid-year transfer, could not play because of NCAA rules. He was recruited by San Francisco and Arizona, but originally signed a letter of intent with the Eagles in spring 2009 and then re-signed in November 2009.

A junior, Griffin concluded his second year on the floor for the Eagles, and started 28 of 30 games. He averaged 6.1 points, 6.8 rebounds and 0.9 blocked shots per game. As a sophomore, he averaged 4.8 points and 3.8 rebounds, and currently has 47 career blocked shots to rank sixth in school history.

Griffin led the Eagles in scoring three times, rebounding on 13 occasions, blocked shots in nine games, steals in seven and assists twice. He had career highs of 19 points, 16 rebounds and five assists against Northwest University on Nov. 18. He also had a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds against Sacramento State on Jan. 22 and his third of the season against Montana State on Feb. 24 with 12 points and 15 boards. He had a total of seven double-figure scoring performances and six in rebounding.

Johnson had by far his best game of the season in Eastern’s 95-91 victory over Seattle on Dec. 15. He scored a career-high 26 points on 7-of-8 shooting from the floor and 9-of-10 marksmanship from the free throw line. He also had eight rebounds and four blocked shots as he responded in a big way from a three-point, one-rebound effort at San Jose State on Dec. 12.

A starter in six of Eastern’s first eight games of the season, Johnson came off the bench in the victory over Seattle. One of his baskets included a high-flying, rim-rattling fast-break that caused fans to gasp in amazement.

 

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).

Interestingly, Montana’s 77-69 victory over the Lumberjacks on Feb. 28, 2005, extended Eastern’s streak and ended NAU’s eight-season streak. 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 7-10 in 11 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.
2011 - Quarterfinal (Ogden, Utah) - #6 seed vs. #3 Weber State - L, 70-79
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

 

Eastern Definitely Found Some Magic Against Impressive Wildcats Team

Making EWU’s 75-59 triumph over Weber State to end the regular season on March 2 even more impressive was the fact it was the fifth-straight season Weber State won at least 10 league games, all under head coach Randy Rahe.

Eastern’s lone victories previously in Ogden came in 2006 (76-73), 2001 (81-70) and 2000 (90-78) when Eastern snapped the Wildcats' 30-game home winning streak, which at the time was the fourth longest in NCAA Division I. Following the rematch in Ogden on March 5 when the Wildcats ousted the Eagles from the Big Sky Conference Tournament with a 79-70 win , Weber State is now 41-6 in Big Sky home games under Rahe, and the Wildcats are 58-11 overall (84.1 percent) at the Dee Events Center in those five seasons. The Wildcats have won nearly 80 percent of their home games all-time at that venue.

 

Road Skid Ends at 18

A 69-67 victory at Idaho State on Feb. 5 snapped EWU’s losing streak at 18 games, including 12 games in the 2010-11 season and six to end the 2009-10 season. The last time Eastern had tasted victory on the road was on Jan. 10, 2010, when Glen Dean made a game-winning, six-foot running bank shot with 3.8 seconds to play in a 75-73 victory at Montana State.

 

Eagles Least Experienced Team in NCAA Division I

Eastern had no seniors on its 2010-11 roster, and featured a quartet of returning letter winners from its 2009-10 team that finished 9-21 overall and 5-11 in the Big Sky Conference. In results from a survey of NCAA Division I teams, no other school had less NCAA Division I experience than the Eagles, whose four returnees lettered one year each.

 

Pair of Eagles Return to Puget Sound

Eagles Glen Dean and Jeffrey Forbes returned to the Puget Sound area when Eastern played at Washington on Nov. 16 and Jan. 6 when the Eagles played at Seattle.

Dean is a 2008 graduate of Roosevelt High School in Seattle, and Forbes is a 2009 graduate of Federal Way (Wash.) High School. Forbes helped Federal Way win the WIAA State 4A Championship in 2009.

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