Vandals Prevail Over Eagles in Overtime Dogfight, 81-79
Justin Crosgile scores 26 in a losing effort for the Eagles as they fall to 2-6 heading into Monday home game against Seattle
The runs of 19-0 and 15-0 were aberrations.
In a closely-contested game, Idaho defeated the Eastern Washington University men’s basketball team 81-79 in overtime Thursday (Dec. 6) in a non-conference game at Reese Court in Cheney, Wash.
Eastern junior guard Justin Crosgile scored 26 points, including eight 3-pointers, in a losing effort that also included eight rebounds and four assists. He hit a trey to help send the game into overtime, and another 3-pointer to give EWU a lead in overtime. But a jumper in the lane with 21 seconds left in overtime by Mansa Habeeb gave the Vandals the win, followed by Crosgile’s missed trey with five seconds left.
Idaho improved to 3-4 while the Eagles fell to 2-6. The Eagles, who were coming off a successful home opener last Friday (Nov. 30) with a 79-75 win over Cal State Fullerton, continues its pre-conference homestand with a game Monday (Dec. 10) at Reese Court in Cheney, Wash.
“It was a great basketball game between two very evenly-matched teams,” said Eastern head coach Jim Hayford. “I thought our team showed great character to force overtime. It came down to that last look. There were some great individual performances by both teams, some big shots, and some big plays. It’s hard to be on this side, but it was a great basketball game.”
Eastern freshman forward Venky Jois had a double-double – his fourth in his last five games – with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Sophomore center Martin Seiferth added 10 points and three rebounds, and freshman forward Thomas Reuter chipped in 11 points, five rebounds and three steals.
But Eastern had a hard time containing 6-foot-10 senior Kyle Barone and 6-5 junior Stephen Madison. Barone had a double-double with 20 points and 11 boards, and Madison had a double-double with a game-high 29 points and 10 rebounds.
“Everything is teaching with a young team,” explained Hayford. “Give Idaho credit. They had upperclassmen big guys. We had underclassmen small guys. It was a war on the boards. They had more offensive rebounds than we had defensive rebounds.”
Eastern was out-rebounded 55-34, including 21 Vandal offensive boards that led to 17 second-chance points. Eastern had just four turnovers, and forced 13 leading to 21 points off turnovers.
“It was amazing that the game was that close,” said Hayford. “It had to do with our experience in the backcourt maybe versus their experience. We took care of the ball and had good ball possession. We were two evenly-matched teams. I will be able to do a lot of teaching with our front court on showing them how to rebound a little better.”
The game featured 22 lead changes and eight ties, and the Eagles held a 34-33 at halftime after Crosgile hit a 3-pointer. That ignited a 19-0 Eastern run, and the Eagles led by 17 at 50-33 with 15:53 remaining. The Vandals went 6:19 without scoring in that stretch.
But Idaho responded with a 15-0 run of its own, and regained the lead at 54-53 with 9:02 left in the game. Eastern went scoreless for 4:57 in that stretch.
“The first half came down to a point,” said Hayford. “Then we made a big run. Give them credit; they did not fold their chips. They came back and answered like we knew they would with a big run.”
Idaho took a five-point lead at the 2:47 mark, but a basket by Jois and Crosgile’s triple sent the game into overtime. Crosgile’s final miss came with five ticks left.
“We were looking for stagger action off the top,” said Hayford of his team’s final play. “We thought we could get Justin to turn the corner, but he saw some daylight. Give him credit; he was making that shot all night. He made 8-of-16 from 3-point range -- 50 percent. I have seen him make that shot 100 times. The ball was in his hands, and I stand behind my man on that shot.”
Thursday’s game was the100th in the Eastern career of senior guard Jeffrey Forbes, who finished with five points, five assists and five steals for EWU. He has now scored 890 points in his Eastern career. Later this season, he could break Marc Axton’s (2002-05) school record of 119 games played. Forbes has averaged over 30 minutes per game in his Eastern career with 89 starts. He ranks ninth in school history with 108 career steals, and is also fourth in 3-pointers made (151) and attempted (400).
The Seattle game will be televised live by SWX (SWX Digital 6.2 in Spokane, 25.3 in the Tri-Cities & 23.3 in the Yakima area; Comcast 115; Davis Cable 514/81.2/12; Time Warner 306; Charter 287, Cable One 466; Northland Cable 115) and via webcast at www.bigskytv.org.
The radio broadcast will air on 700-AM ESPN, via the web at www.700espn.com and via iPhone application (search for “700 ESPN” and download the free app). The broadcast is also available via www.tunein.com and tunein’s mobile phone app. Larry Weir returns for his 20th year as the play-by-play voice of the Eagles.