Late 12-0 run hands Eastern non-conference loss to end stretch of three road games in five nights
The Eagles finally hit the wall.
Eastern Washington University took a 52-51 lead early in the second half and was within one with 10 minutes to play, but it was all Seattle after that as the Redhawks rolled over the Eagles 91-78 in a non-conference college men’s basketball game Monday (Jan. 16) at Key Arena in Seattle, Wash.
The game concluded a stretch of three road games in five nights for the Eagles, who fell to 9-10 on the season. The Redhawks won for just the fourth time in 16 games this season, and for the first time since Dec. 29 to snap a four-game losing streak. Seattle had its best shooting night of the season at 55 percent, as EWU equaled the most points it has allowed to an opponent this season.
“It was a good time for them to play us at home, with us ending our road swing,” said Eastern head coach Jim Hayford. “But you have to be tough enough to play through it. As I pointed out, if you’re a third through sixth seed, you have to play three games like this in the Big Sky Conference Tournament.”
“If there’s one good side in this loss, it’s that it didn’t affect us in the conference standings,” he added.
Aaron Broussard and Sterling Carter combined for 60 points for Seattle, which used a late 12-0 run to pull away. Colin Chiverton had his third-straight 20-point performance – and ninth of the season – to equal his career high with 26.
Senior point guard Cliff Colimon finished with 15 points, five assists and a pair of steals. Senior forward Laron Griffin added a season-high 11 points and had four rebounds.
“Chiverton had 26 points in 26 minutes so we have him kind of rolling now,” Hayford said. “And Laron gave us a really good second half.”
Ranked second in NCAA Division I with an average of 9.7 3-pointers per game, Eastern drained 13 against the Redhawks. Ranked 14th nationally in turnover margin, EWU finished with 14 compared to 17 for Seattle, and the Eagles have now had fewer turnovers than its opponent in 18 of 19 games this season.
“Making 13 threes in 40 attempts is a good night,” said Hayford. “I think 78 points was enough to win against Seattle. It just came down to our inability to defend.”
In its most recent outing, Eastern Washington University fell 71-70 at Northern Colorado Saturday (Jan. 14) in a battle for third place in the Big Sky Conference men’s basketball standings. Prior to that, the Eagles won 65-60 in a physical contest at Sacramento State Thursday (Jan. 12), in which the Eagles made only 35 percent of their shots and still found a way to win.
Eastern doesn’t play again until Portland State visits Reese Court next Saturday (Jan. 21) in the first of three-straight games at Reese Court for the Eagles. After beating Idaho State 80-68 on Monday, the Vikings are tied with EWU for fifth in the Big Sky Conference standings at 3-3 (9-9 overall).
“It was one of those nights where we really have to keep our eye on the big picture,” Hayford said. “We want to turn Eastern Washington into a winning basketball program and that can be done – we are making positive steps in that direction. That’s where I put my head on my pillow tonight.”
The Eagles trailed early 16-9, but a 3-pointer by Kevin Winford and a basket by Chiverton gave EWU a 38-34 lead. Eastern trailed by four at halftime, but scored five quick points in the first 36 seconds of the second half gave the Eagles a 49-48 lead.
Eastern’s last lead was at 52-51 at the 17:42 mark on a basket by Jeffrey Forbes. However, Seattle scored eight unanswered points to take the lead for good. Eastern cut the lead to one on several occasions, including 70-69 with 10 minutes left on a basket by Colimon. But 12-straight Seattle points started a run that ultimately led to a 17-3 spurt that put the Redhawks up 89-72.
Broussard had a career-high scoring night, while Carter came just two points from his. The combination of Seattle’s inside and outside attacks was too much for the Eagles to overcome.
“We knew going into the game that Broussard was a really, really tough matchup for us,” Hayford said. “Teams that win games are teams that exert and impose their will on the game. They were able to get the ball to their best player and he was really, really good.
“We played the percentages and started the game in a zone,” he added. “Seattle is a team that has struggled from the 3-point line, but their shooting guard (Carter) showed up. You have to give credit to those two guys for winning the game.”
Eastern’s Cliff Ederaine was guarding Broussard, but he twisted an ankle and played only 19 minutes. He finished with only three points and five rebounds.
“Cliff was our best matchup against Broussard, but he twisted his ankle and that hurt,” said Hayford. “He was able to only play 19 minutes, but even in those minutes he was saddled in foul trouble. And that hurt.”
Eastern was also out-rebounded 45-26, and Seattle grabbed 14 offensive rebounds.
“When they would miss shots, they would get a big rebound,” Hayford said.
“We’ll get 36 hours of rest and we’ll see where we are,” he added. “We have some bright spots and we’ll keep building as a program.”