Eastern Hopes for Same Result When MSU Visits Reese Court
Eagles opened league season with 14-point win in Bozeman, but both teams have been going in different directions ever since
EWU versus Montana State
Saturday, Jan. 28 - 6:05 p.m. Pacific
Reese Court (6,000) - Cheney, Wash.
EWU at Northern Arizona
Thursday, Feb. 2 - 5:35 p.m. Pacific
Rolle Activity Center (1,000) - Flagstaff, Ariz.
Mondays 6 p.m. at the Q Sports Bar and Restaurant at Northern
Quest Resort & Casino. . . 700-AM ESPN, www.espnnorthwest.com
& via iphone app. (search for “Spokane Radio” and
download app). Fans are invited to attend the show live and food
service is available. Remaining live shows take place at the Q on
1/30, 2/6, 2/13, 2/20, 2/27, 3/5.
TV: MSU game is 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 NAU
game will be televised live by NAU-TV and Fox College Sports
(DirecTV ch. 617 & 623), and delayed at 10 p.m. Pacific time on
2/2 on Fox Sports Arizona (DrectTV ch. 686 and Dish ch. 415)
Radio: (all EWU games) 700 ESPN "The Ticket" and via the web at http://www.700espn.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: (All EWU Home Games) CLICK HERE; (NAU)
The Eastern Washington University men’s basketball team is hoping for an encore performance.
The Eagles close out a three-game home stand by hosting Montana State – a team it defeated by 14 points a month ago -- on Saturday (Jan. 28), starting at 6:05 p.m. Pacific time at Reese Court in Cheney, Wash.
The radio broadcast of Saturday’s game, featuring play-by-play announcer Dennis Patchin, may be heard on 700-AM ESPN, via the web at 700espn.com and via iPhone application (search for “Spokane Radio” and download the free app). It will also 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).
Saturday is “Alumni Appreciation Night” with free tickets given to alums who signed-up by Jan. 24. There will be also a post-game autograph session featuring Eagle players, and 2011 Walter Payton Award Winner Bo Levi Mitchell will be recognized at the game as well. In addition, EWU coaches will wear sneakers instead of dress shoes with their suits to demonstrate their support for the American Cancer Society as part of the annual Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers awareness weekend.
The Bobcats have won six of seven games since falling to EWU 75-61 in the Big Sky Conference debut for head coach Jim Hayford back on Dec. 28. It was the school’s most lopsided victory in Bozeman in school history. The Eagles are now 9-27 all-time in Bozeman, with the previous largest margin of victory versus MSU in Bozeman coming in a 75-61 Eastern victory on Dec. 29, 1953. Eastern is 18-12 all-time in Cheney, but trails in the series overall 42-30.
The Bobcats beat Portland State 70-65 on Thursday (Jan. 26) to improve to 6-2 in the league and 11-8 overall.
“The Bobcats are playing really good basketball and I’m sure they are fighting mad that we beat them pretty good in the league opener at their place,” Hayford said. “They want to equalize that by getting a win on our home court, so that should make for a great basketball game. Coach (Brad) Huse does a fantastic job there, and I really like the things he does basketball-wise. It should make for an exciting game.”
Meanwhile, the Eagles lost at home to Montana 74-60. The Eagles haven’t won since Jan. 12 at Sacramento, and will be trying to snap a four-game losing streak on Saturday.
“It’s going to take a really good effort to beat Montana State,” said Hayford after the UM loss. “We have to find the right balance within the next 48 hours, get fresh legs and correct some mistakes.”
The Eagles enter Saturday’s game 9-12 overall and 3-5 in the Big Sky, and have fallen into a sixth-place tie with Northern Colorado. Just three games ago, in a 71-70 loss at Northern Colorado, Eastern was battling for third place in the league.
“We have to turn this around,” said Hayford, who took over an Eastern team that finished 10-20 overall and 7-9 in the league. “Last year, EWU won ten games and were trying to get that tenth win.”
Eastern has lost three of its last four home games after a 4-0 start. A season-high crowd of 3,512 fans attended the Montana game, and aside from a 10-2 Eastern run to start the second half, Montana controlled the game and led from start to finish.
Hayford knows that taking advantage of home court advantage is the key to the Eagles keeping the momentum of a 9-8 start to the season (3-2 in conference play) and putting its recent skid behind them.
“Even though we are coming together, you have to give room that the other team is coming together too,” EWU head coach Jim Hayford said. “That makes for great, exciting basketball, and all the more reason we need all our fans to be out here supporting us and to be difference makers.”
Although the Eagles still haven’t played Idaho State, essentially the first half of the Big Sky Conference schedule has concluded for Eastern with eight games down and eight to go.
“I don’t know what it will be like this year or what the carryover will be from my previous years in coaching, but my teams have always been good in the second half of the league schedule,” Hayford, who spent the past 10 seasons at NCAA Division III powerhouse Whitworth University, said before the Montana loss. “We would start to come together at this time of year and that’s what I’m hoping happens to this team.”
Eastern’s Colin Chiverton has had five-straight 20-point performances for the Eagles – and 11 for the season -- but the Eagles have struggled with their shooting eye in recent games. The Eagles fell from second to third in NCAA Division I in 3-pointers made per game after a 6-of-25 performance (24 percent) against PSU in a 78-76 loss on Jan. 21, resulting in a 40 percent shooting night overall (28-of-70). They followed that with a 34-percent shooting night versus Montana, including a 5-of-14 performance from 3-point range. The Eagles made only 20 percent of their shots – just 3-of-10 from the arc – in the first half in falling behind by 13 points at halftime.
The Eagles made 50 percent of their shots in the first meeting versus MSU, but have been above the 45 percent mark once in seven games since then (47.5 percent in a home win against Northern Arizona). Eastern, which is averaging a league-best 9.5 treys per game, is 6-0 when it makes 45 percent or more from the field and 3-12 when it doesn’t.
Although the Eagles had three more turnovers than Montana (14-11), Eastern has had fewer turnovers than its opponent in all but two game this season (the other was Saint Mary’s). The Eagles entered the Montana game ranked15th nationally in turnover margin (+4.1 per game).
PDF Link to Fact Book
The complete version of the 2011 EWU football fact book may be
Football 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
Coaches versus Cancer Awareness is Saturday versus MSU
The annual Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers awareness weekend, a collaborative initiative of the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC), takes place this weekend. Eastern coaches will wear sneakers instead of dress shoes with their suits on Saturday versus Montana State (Jan. 28) to demonstrate their support for the American Cancer Society and its vision of a world with less cancer and more birthdays.
Fans may support this cause by texting COACH to 20222 from any wireless phone to make a $5.00 donation toward Coaches vs. Cancer and help in the search for a cure. For more information, visit the Coaches vs. Cancer Facebook page, facebook.com/coachesvscancer.
This year, Coaches vs. Cancer will also launch a new promotion, "National Sneakers Day", on Friday, Jan. 27, to kick off Suits and Sneakers Weekend. Similarly to coaches wearing sneakers on the sidelines, the public is asked to wear your favorite sneakers to work in support of Coaches vs. Cancer and encourage colleagues to do the same.
Additional information is available at coachesvscancer.org.
Eagles 209th in RPI
In the Ratings Percentage Index lists released by the NCAA on Jan. 23, Eastern was ranked 209th out of 344 NCAA Division I schools. The only Big Sky teams ahead of the Eagles were Weber State (82nd), Montana (137th) and Portland State (159th). After Eastern, which was a season-high 129th on Jan. 2, the next-best league schools were Northern Colorado (243rd) and Montana State (264th).
In the Sagarin Computer Ratings (through games of Jan. 28), the Eagles were 188th with the 124th-highest strength of schedule rating. Weber State was 112th, Montana was 116th, Portland State was 201st, Northern Colorado was 230th and Montana State was 278th.
Thanks to One of Best Non-Conference Records in School History, Winning Season in Reach for Eagles
It’s been five years since the Eastern Washington University men’s basketball team has had a winning record, and its successful non-conference season has helped the Eagles make that an attainable feat. Now in its 25th season as a member of the Big Sky Conference, only seven of those years has Eastern had a non-losing non-conference record. Eastern is now 6-7 in non-conference games, and still has to play an opponent to be determined in the ESPN Bracketbusters in February.
Eastern’s last winning season came in 2006-07 – with sophomore Rodney Stuckey leading the way – when EWU finished 15-14 and 8-8 in league play. One season earlier, the Eagles were 9-5 in the Big Sky in Stuckey’s freshman season – the last time the Eagles have had a winning record in league play.
The 2006-07 season was also the last time Eastern has enjoyed a .500 or better record in the non-conference portion of its schedule. Eastern was 6-5 in the 1989-90, 1990-91 and 1997-98 seasons; 5-5 in 2000-01; 8-6 in 2002-03 when Eastern advanced to the National Invitation Tournament; and 7-6 in 2006-07 when the Eagles tied for fifth in the league but did not advance to the league tournament because of tiebreakers.
Eastern entered league play 6-6, and Hayford looked forward to the new experience of Big Sky Conference play after going 4-0 at home and recording huge road wins at Hawaii and Idaho during the pre-conference portion of his debut season. Until those victories, Eastern hadn’t won consecutive road games since the 2007-08 season.
“Everything is a first-time experience for our program, but I’m loving the journey,” first-year head coach Jim Hayford said prior to the team’s league opener. “I want them to win and they want to win. They are hurting when they lose, and that shows me a lot. I think I owe it to our team to take a big-picture step back and say we have played some good basketball. But we need to keep doing that.
“We’re 6-6 and we’ve played eight out of 12 on the road,” he explained. “Saint Mary’s is probably a top 25 team and Gonzaga spent some time there, and we have three losses to Pac-12 teams. Those are five losses to teams that would be picked to win the Big Sky if they were in our league. We’re 6-1 in the other seven games, and you can take away the non-Division I wins if you want. That’s 4-1 against similar teams and I think we’ll be alright during the league season.”
With Turnover Advantage in All But Two Games Thus Far, Eastern 15th Nationally in Turnover Margin
Eastern has had fewer turnovers than its opponents in 19 of 21 games thus far, with 327 turnovers forced and 249 committed. The result is a Big Sky-leading turnover margin of plus 3.7 per game (its 4.1 margin ranked 15th in NCAA Division I through games of Jan. 22). Eastern is second in the league in turnovers forced at 1568 per game and is also No. 2 in fewest committed with a current mark of 11.9 (its average of 11.8 ranked 30th in NCAA Division I through games of Jan. 15).
In other Big Sky team statistics rankings, Eastern leads the league in 3-pointers made with a current average of 9.5 per game (its 9.7 average was third nationally behind Florida at 10.6 and Troy at 9.8 through games of Jan. 22). The Eagles also are first in offensive rebounds (12.2 per game); and third in steals (7.0), assist-to-turnover ratio (+1.0) and blocked shots (3.3). The Eagles are last in in field goal percentage (.409) and rebounds allowed per game (36.2); and second-to-last in rebounding margin (-2.6).
Individually, Collin Chiverton is tied for the league led in 3-pointers made per game with an average of 3.4 (his 3.4 averaged ranked sixth in NCAA Division I through games of Jan. 22), third in scoring (17.5) and fifth in 3-point percentage (.434). Cliff Colimon is fourth in the Big Sky Conference in steals (1.8 per game), third in assists (5.2), sixth in assist-to-turnover ratio (+1.7), sixth in scoring (14.6), fifth in 3-pointers made per game (2.0), fifth in free throw percentage (.831) and sixth in minutes played (34.1). Cliff Ederaine is second in rebounding (7.5), 17th in scoring (10.6), 10th in field goal percentage (.494), fourth in blocked shots (1.0), ninth in assists (2.8), sixth in steals (1.4) and seventh in offensive rebounds (2.1). Laron Griffin is leading the league in offensive rebounds (3.3) and is sixth overall in rebounding (6.3), and Jeffrey Forbes is 14th in 3-pointers made per game (1.4). Tremayne Johnson is 10th in blocked shots (0.7), 19th in rebounding (4.3) and 12th in offensive rebounds (1.8).
In Big Sky Conference statistics only, EWU leads in 3-pointers per game (9.0) and offensive rebounds (12.5); and is last in field goal percentage (.406), assists (10.8 per game) and rebounds allowed (35.4). Chiverton is tied for the lead in 3-pointers per game (3.1) and Griffin leads in offensive rebounds (3.6).
Eagles Leading Big Sky and Third in NCAA Division I in 3-Point Shooting
The Eagles are currently averaging 9.5 3-pointers per game to lead the Big Sky, just ahead of the 9.2 average for Weber State. Eastern’s average of 9.7 was third in NCAA Division I through games played on Jan 22, ranking only behind Florida at 10.6 and Troy at 9.8. Eastern has made 199-of-554 for 35.9 percent (fifth-best in the league). For Eastern to score the same amount of points from inside the arc with the same amount of shots, the Eagles would have to make 53.9 percent.
Eight different Eagles have made treys, led by the 72 of junior college transfer Collin Chiverton and 43 by point guard Cliff Colimon. Chiverton’s average of 3.4 per game is tied for the league lead (the same average ranked sixth nationally through games of Jan. 22).
Based on the 30-game regular season, Eastern is on pace to finish 284-of-791 and shatter school records for 3-point makes and attempts (242, 656). Chiverton already ranks fifth in school history for treys made in a season, with the record of 103 set by Shannon Taylor in the 1998-99 season. Chiverton is on pace to finish with 102.
The Eagles finished the 2010-11 season with a pair of school records for 3-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. Kevin Winford made 66 3-pointers in the 2010-11 season to rank fifth (now sixth) in single season school history, and his 187 attempts were fourth. Jeffrey Forbes made 55 treys to rank 11th (now 12th).
“We’re confident with our system that we are going to get the 3-point shot no matter who we play,” said Eastern head coach Jim Hayford after Eastern made 13 treys in a 73-66 win over Idaho on Nov. 30. “We are not always going to shoot the percentage we like, but we got 28 looks from three against Idaho and that’s right around where we’ve been. There are times where we might have five 3-point shooters or four on the floor at the same time, and we start the game with only three. (Idaho’s Memorial Gym) was an easy gym to shoot in because it’s small, and I think our players bought into it. So we shot the ball well. And hitting 13 threes – eight in the first half – kind of takes them out of the defense they want to play.”
When an Eastern player takes what Hayford considers a poor shot, more often than not they take a seat on the bench next to the first-year Eagle head coach. Although Eastern sank 52 percent of its shots from the floor – including 15-of-36 3-point attempts in EWU’s 104-54 win over Linfield on Dec. 8 – it happened several times against the Wildcats, who had five blocked shots in the game.
“We have to get better in our shot selection,” he explained. “They know if it’s not a great shot we’re going to sub them out. We get them right back in, but it’s a teachable moment. We had to do that six or seven times against Linfield. In Big Sky games or against Cal State Fullerton on the road, you can’t afford to waste six or seven possessions with a bad shot.”
Coaches Pick Eagles to Finish Third
Whether or not the respect is warranted will be determined in 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 seven returning letterwinners currently on the roster 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.”
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
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
Chiverton Making Early Statement for Big Sky Newcomer of the Year Accolades
Junior college transfer Collin Chiverton is making an early-season case for Big Sky Conference Newcomer of the Year accolades, as he has had 11 20-point performances as an Eagle – including EWU’s last five games. He is tied for first in the league in 3-pointers made per game with a current average of 3.4 (his 3.4 averaged ranked sixth in NCAA Division I through games of Jan. 22), third in scoring (17.5) and fifth in 3-point percentage (.434).
However, an off-season stress fracture in his foot was reinjured over the Christmas break, and the 6-foot-6 Chiverton has been hampered ever since. He didn’t play in the first half against NAU on Jan. 7, but scored 12 points in the second half – including EWU’s first 10 of the half to give the Eagles the lead for good in the 76-59 win. He followed that with 21 points in just 25 minutes of action versus Sacramento State on Jan. 12, 21 in 18 minutes versus Northern Colorado on Jan. 14 and 26 in 26 minutes at Seattle on Jan. 16. Thus, in those four games, he scored nearly a point a minute – 80 in 83 minutes – while making 19-of-34 (56 percent) from the 3-point arc.
He followed that by playing 37 minutes against Portland State on Jan. 21, and scored 22 points on 4-of-11 shooting from the 3-point stripe and 7-of-21 overall. His fifth-straight 20-point performance came versus Montana on Jan. 26 when he made 5-of-10 shots overall and 4-of-6 from the 3-point stripe, as well a 8-of-12 free throws.
“It’s an injury that the doctor says he can play through, but with a tremendous amount of pain,” Eastern head coach Jim Hayford explained after the NAU win. “So you have to respect him as a teammate in that he’ll do whatever he can to play. We’re trying to get him as much rest as we can. He had 10 points in his first four minutes, but he also did a great job guarding (NAU guard Stallon) Saldivar.”
For the season, Chiverton is 72-of-166 from the 3-point stripe for 43.4 percent and 51-of-143 inside the arc for 35.7 percent. He made 6-of-8 treys and 1-of-2 2-point attempts en route to scoring 21 points versus Sac State on Jan. 12, but his previous 20-point outing came versus Pacific Lutheran on Dec. 16 when he made 6-of-9 2-point attempts and 4-of-10 treys en route to scoring 26 points.
Chiverton opened his Eastern career in a big way, scoring 25 points in Eastern’s 77-69 loss at Gonzaga on Nov. 11. A former redshirt at GU rival Saint Mary’s in California, Chiverton made 6-of-12 shots from the 3-point arc and 8-of-24 shots from the field against Gonzaga. He scored 25 again in EWU’s 70-61 win over South Dakota, making 9-of-21 shots overall and 6-of-13 from the 3-point arc. He added a third 20-point performance with 20 points in EWU’s 89-72 upset of Hawai’i on Nov. 19.
Chiverton’s debut versus GU was the best for an Eagle since Eastern moved to NCAA Division I in the 1983-84 season. The previous best came a year ago when Chiverton’s Eastern teammate Tremayne Johnson scored 21 in a 67-60 loss at San Jose State. Interestingly, current Detroit Piston Rodney Stuckey scored only 14 points in his debut against Pacific Lutheran in the 2005-06 season. Chiverton’s scoring output was also the second-best season-opening performance by an Eagle since David Peed scored 29 points on Nov. 25, 1989, in EWU’s 96-84 loss to BYU.
After leaving Saint Mary’s – a team he scored 18 against on Dec. 20 -- Chiverton played one season at Salt Lake Community College before leading City College of San Francisco to the 2010-11 California Community Colleges Athletic Association title. He averaged 19 points per game as a sophomore, including an average of 30 per game in the tournament, as San Francisco finished the season 32-1 with a 27-game winning streak.
Colimon Impressive in Eastern Victories
Senior point guard Cliff Colimon has been impressive in Eastern victories, including his 22-point effort on 8-of-16 shooting from the field in EWU’s Big Sky Conference-opening 82-66 victory over Montana State on Dec. 28. For the season, he has scored at least 20 points on six occasions.
In Eastern’s victories this season, Colimon is averaging 17.2 points per game on 45.5 percent shooting from the field (23-of-53 from the 3-point arc for 43.4 percent). In EWU’s losses, he is averaging 12.7 points on 33.1 percent shooting from the field (20-of-65 3-point shooting for 30.8 percent).
For the season, Colimon is fourth in the Big Sky Conference in steals (1.8 per game), third in assists (5.2), sixth in assist-to-turnover ratio (+1.7), sixth in scoring (14.6), fifth in 3-pointers made per game (2.0), fifth in free throw percentage (.831) and sixth in minutes played (34.1).
Colimon struggled with his shot in Eastern losses to Saint Mary’s (77-61 on Dec. 20), UCLA (60-47 on Dec. 14) and Washington State (75-49 on Dec. 3). He was just 4-of-33 (12.1 percent) from the field in those three games, including only 2-of-13 (15.4 percent) of his 3-point attempts.
But it’s hard to put up better numbers than what Colimon compiled in a victory over Linfield (104-54 on Dec. 8) and a loss to Cal State Fullerton (91-76 on Dec. 11). In 72 minutes of action, Colimon had 46 points, 15 assists, 10 rebounds, six steals and just one turnover. He combined to make 18-of-34 shots from the field and 7-of-16 from 3-point range en route to scoring 23 points in each outing.
Colimon followed that with five assists, two steals and two turnovers in 40 minutes versus UCLA, but scored just five points on 1-of-12 shooting. Two nights later versus PLU, he made 8-of-12 shots from the field, 4-of-6 3-pointers and 6-of-9 free throws to finish with a season-high 26 points – one from his career high. He also added seven assists and three steals, but also had an uncharacteristic seven turnovers.
In Eastern’s 104-54 win over Linfield on Dec. 8, Colimon scored 23 points and had three steals and a career-high 11 assists to equal the seventh-most in school history. It was Eastern’s top assist performance in more than 10 years since Jason Lewis had 12 versus Cal State Northridge on Jan. 20, 2001. Colimon also had no turnovers in 32 minutes of action.
Head coach Jim Hayford said it best after the Linfield game: “I loved Colimon’s line – 11 assists, 23 points and no turnovers.”
“We stopped calling him Little Cliff – his name is ‘Tough Cliff’ now,” Hayford said in reference to the nickname given to Colimon and the “Big Cliff” moniker given to forward Cliff Ederaine. “Colimon was hurt more than anybody by his performance at Washington State – he had a tough night down there. Hopefully the confidence he gained against Linfield will be fuel in his tank.”
He scored 17 points and had eight assists in his season-opener against Gonzaga on Nov. 11. The eight assists versus the Bulldogs was his career high until the output of 11 versus Linfield. His assists total against Gonzaga doubled his previous career high of four set last season against Idaho State (1/29/11) and Sacramento State (12/29/10).
Colimon’s career high of 27 points came in the final game of the 2010-11 season against Weber State (3/5/11) in the Big Sky Conference Tournament. In fact, in his last three games last season and first game this year, Colimon averaged 18.5 points per game, including victories over Montana (59-55) and Weber State (75-59), and near-misses versus Weber State (79-70) and Gonzaga (77-69).
Ederaine Wins Big Sky Player of the Week Award After November Victories
After leading Eastern to a pair of late November victories, senior forward Cliff Ederaine was selected as Big Sky Conference Player of the Week, the league announced Nov. 29. The 6-foot-7, 205-pound senior forward from Moreno Valley, Calif., averaged 20.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists and two blocks per game as the Eagles notched a road win over Hawai’i (89-72) on Nov. 22, and topped UC Davis (79-59) on Nov. 27 in Cheney.
So far this season in Big Sky Conference statistics, Ederaine is second in rebounding (7.5), 17th in scoring (10.6), 10th in field goal percentage (.494), fourth in blocked shots (1.0), ninth in assists (2.8), sixth in steals (1.4) and seventh in offensive rebounds (2.1). He has had four double-doubles this season (five in his career), including 12 points and 12 rebounds in a 71-70 loss at Northern Colorado on Jan. 14 and 10 points and 13 boards against Montana on Jan. 26.
He had a splendid outing in a 76-69 loss to Weber State on Jan. 5, finishing with 20 points, nine rebounds, five assists, a career-high five steals and a pair of blocked shots. He had no turnovers in 34 minutes after having five in 23 minutes in EWU’s previous game, a 79-71 loss at Montana.
“Big Cliff played a great game -- he was the best big man on the court,” said Eastern head coach Jim Hayford after the Weber State game. “We were able to run the offense through him. He felt bad about the turnovers in Missoula so I asked him what he was going to do about that the next game. He really worked hard tonight.”
Interestingly, in Eastern’s victories this season Ederaine is averaging 14.0 points (66.7 percent shooting), 7.9 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.2 blocked shots per game. In losses, he is averaging only 8.1 points (37.8 percent shooting), 7.3 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.7 steals and 0.8 blocks per game. Prior to the Weber State game, in losses he was averaging only 6.1 points (27.3 percent shooting), 6.1 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.0 steals and 0.7 blocks per game.
En route to a career-high 23 points versus UC Davis, Ederaine made 8-of-9 shots from the field, including his first trey of the season and only the second of his career. A 45.6 percent free throw shooter a year ago, he made 6-of-9 for the line against the Aggies to improve to 20-of-26 – 76.9 percent (currently he is at 64.1 percent, 59-of-92).
To add to his night, Ederaine also had eight rebounds, three blocked shots and a steal. Ederaine scored 11 points in the first 6:24 of the game as Eastern held early leads of 13-4 and 17-9. He had 11 points, five boards and five assists in the second half alone. “We were running our offense through the high post and Big Cliff put the team on his shoulders,” said Eastern head coach Jim Hayford.
In another home game this season – a 70-61 win over South Dakota on Nov. 15 -- Ederaine had 15 points, 14 rebounds, five assists, two blocks and two steals. In the team’s third home game on Dec. 8 versus Linfield, he had his third career double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds, and also had six assists.
His performance against South Dakota was his second career double-double, with his first coming against New Hope last year when he had 12 points and 17 rebounds, as well as his previous career high for assists with four. He had 10 double figure scoring performance and seven with at least 10 rebounds in the 2010-11 season.
Eagles Continue to Climb Three-Point and Free Throw Career Lists
A pair of Eagles already rank in the top 10 on several Eastern season and career lists. Junior Jeffrey Forbes has 132 3-pointers made in his career to rank fourth, his 345 attempts are fourth and his .383 percentage ranks 10th. Fellow junior Kevin Winford has 108 makes to rank sixth and his 318 attempts are fifth.
Those 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) in the 2010-11 season, just ahead of the previous record of .899 set by Darren Cooper in 2001-02). In his career, Forbes has made what would be a school record at 87.5 percent (126-of-144), but he is 18 attempts shy to meet the minimum of two free throw attempts per game. Winford’s 85.3 percent (58-of-68) also exceeds the school record, but he also does not meet the minimums (he has 68 and would need 152). Currently with the school record is the 84.9 percent performance of Eastern Athletics Hall of Fame member Dick Edwards (1953-55). Colimon has made 78.6 percent in his career (88-of-112) and is inching toward the No. 10 position (79.0 percent).
Blocked Shots Totals High Too
With 120 blocked shots for the 2010-11 season, Eastern finished only 10 blocked shots away from the school record of 130 set in 2006. A trio of current 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).
In their careers thus far, Griffin ranks fourth in school history with 60, Ederaine is sixth with 55 and Johnson is now eighth with 50.
Tongue-Lashing Keeps Winford Out of UCLA and PLU Games
In a tongue-lashing of a rare kind, junior guard Kevin Winford had to sit out the UCLA game on Dec. 14 and the Pacific Lutheran game two days later because of a swollen tongue. Winford bit his tongue in EWU’s game at Cal State Fullerton on Dec. 11, then spent two days in a California hospital – some of it in intensive care -- because of an inordinate degree of swelling. He returning to play sparingly – just one minute -- against Saint Mary’s on Dec. 20.
Because he is Eastern’s backup point guard, starter Cliff Colimon was forced to play all 40 minutes against UCLA because of the absence of Winford. A 2008 graduate of Bartlett High School in Anchorage, Alaska, Winford is only averaging 11.7 minutes per game this season, and is averaging 2.3 points per game on 7-of-25 shooting from beyond the 3-point arc. But the 5-foot-11 academic All-America nominee provided the play of the game in Eastern’s 104-54 victory over Linfield on Dec. 8.
“The best play of the night was Kevin’s drive and dunk down the lane – that was pretty emphatic,” Eastern head coach Jim Hayford said. “He’s a very athletic player and we want him to show it. That was an example of it. He’s just a great young man – a tremendous student and a great leader. He’s a business major, and some business will be really glad to hire him some day. I just think the world of him. I promise you he’ll be showing his grandkids that dunk someday.”
Kevin Winford poured in 39 points -- including a school-record 10 3-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 3-pointers (18) and three pointers attempted (43), and tied the mark for field goals made in a game with 45. Previous records were 16 3-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 3-pointers from the Big Sky record of 20, but its 43 attempts were a record.
Hayford’s First Eastern Win Has South Dakota Connections
Coming full circle, Jim Hayford’s first win as Eastern Washington’s head coach came in a 70-61 win on Nov. 15 over South Dakota. South Dakota was directed by veteran head coach Dave Boots, who has won nearly 500 games in 23-plus 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.
“I’ll always remember my first win at Eastern was against South Dakota,” said Hayford. “It’s kind of poetic because my first head coaching job was in South Dakota.”
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.
Hayford’s first Eastern team features seven returning letterwinners currently on the roster, including six who combined to start 125 games a year ago. Hayford hopes a challenging schedule, including three games versus members of the Pac-12 Conference, will help his team prepare for the rigors of league play.
“I know in January and February we are going to be a good basketball team,” Hayford said earlier in November. “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.”
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 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.
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 which 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.”
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.
EWU-MSU Series History (Since 1983-84): Since Eastern became a member of NCAA Division I in the 1983-84 season, the Eagles are 23-34 against Montana State (includes two MSU forfeits in the 1993-94 season). Since 1983-84, Eastern is 7-22 in Bozeman and 16-12 in Cheney against the Bobcats. EWU trails in the all-time series 30-42 (18-12 in Cheney, 9-27 in Bozeman, 3-3 neutral).
Eastern has won 13 of the last 25 after winning just once in the previous 13 games. However, Eastern is just 5-9 against the Bobcats in the last 14 meetings, including losses in Bozeman in six of the last eight meetings. Until a 75-73 triumph on Jan. 10, 2010, in Bozeman, the Eagles hadn’t won in Bozeman since Feb. 5, 2004, in a 64-61 triumph. Later in the season on Feb. 12, 2010, Eastern won at home against the Bobcats 74-69 to complete EWU’s first sweep over MSU since 2004.
A year ago, Eastern lost at MSU 71-59 before dropping a 60-56 decision to the Bobcats in Cheney on Feb. 24. Earlier in the 2011-12 season, Eastern recorded a huge 82-66 road victory over the Bobcats in the first Big Sky Conference game in the head coaching career of Jim Hayford.