Eagles Will Take on Griz in Semifinals

A limited number of tickets are available in the Eastern cheering section, and will be on sale Monday from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

2012 Big Sky Conference Championship Tournament
(All Times Pacific)

Saturday, March 3 – Quarterfinals
#4 Eastern Washington 81, #5 Idaho State 75
#3 Portland State 75, Montana State 53

Tuesday, March 6 – Semifinals
(at Dahlberg Arena in Missoula, Montana)
4:35 p.m. - #2 Weber State (23-5) vs. #3 Portland State (17-13)
7 p.m. - #1 Montana (23-6) vs. #4 Eastern Washington (15-16)
televised by Altitude Sports & Entertainment

Wednesday, March 7 – Championship Game
(at Dahlberg Arena in Missoula, Montana)
televised on ESPN2 at 6 p.m. Pacific

Portland State defeated Montana State 75-53 Saturday night (March 3), and as a result, Eastern Washington University will play Montana Tuesday (March 6) in the semifinals of the Big Sky Conference Men’s Basketball Championship in Missoula, Mont.

Big Sky runner-up and No. 2 seed Weber State (23-5) will take on No. 3 seed Portland State (17-13) at 4:30 p.m. Pacific time at Dahlberg Arena. The fourth-seeded Eagles (15-16) will take on the top-seeded and hos Grizzlies (23-6) at approximately 7 p.m. Pacific time.

Eastern has a limited number of all-session tickets available in the EWU cheering section for the semifinals and championship game. Those tickets are available on a first-come, first-serve basis, and cost $45 each. Orders will be taken immediately after today’s game at Reese Court, and then any remaining tickets will be sold Monday 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the EWU Ticket Office at Reese Court, or via phone at 509-359-6059. Tickets will also be available through The University of Montana ticket office, however, they will not be in the EWU cheering section and a sell-out is extremely possible.

Eastern is 0-6 against the three remaining teams in the tournament, but they were decided by an average of just 7.5 points per game with one loss in overtime. Eastern lost at Montana 79-71 on Dec. 30, then fell at home by a 74-60 score on Jan. 26.

In the first meeting, an 18-1 Grizzly run turned a 47-38 Eastern lead with 18:11 left in the game into a 56-48 Montana advantage at the 10:49 mark. Eastern, which made 64 percent of its shots in the first half, missed a total of 10-straight shots in the second half before ending a 9:37 stretch without a field goal.

In the rematch, Montana took a 13-point first-half lead before Eastern went on a 10-2 run to start the second half and pulled within one later in the half. But the Eagles couldn’t overcome 34 percent shooting in the game, including just 21 percent in the first half.

The Eagles are making their 12th appearance in the Big Sky Conference Tournament, and second-straight after a string of four-straight misses.

Now 2-4 in six quarterfinal games, Eastern has advanced to the Big Sky semifinals on seven occasions (record of 5-2) and the championship game five times. Eastern’s only league title came in 2004 when they beat Northern Arizona 71-59, as EWU made its first and only NCAA Tournament appearance.

Both semifinal games in the tournament will be televised by Altitude Sports and Entertainment, with the championship game in the tournament taking place Wednesday (March 7) at 6 p.m. Pacific time and will be televised on ESPN2.

The radio broadcast of Tuesday’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 “700 ESPN” and download the free app).

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