With five wins in its last eight games, Eastern hosts Northern Colorado Thursday and North Dakota Saturday before hitting the road for final Big Sky games of the season
Thursday, Feb. 28 - Reese Court (5,000)
- Cheney, Wash.
6:05 p.m. Pacific - Northern Colorado (7-10/9-17) at Eastern Washington (6-10/9-18)
Saturday, March 2 - Reese Court (5,000)
- Cheney, Wash.
2:05 p.m. Pacific - North Dakota at Eastern Washington
Tuesdays at 6 p.m. at The Swinging Doors in North Spokane . . .
700-AM ESPN, www.700espn.com & via iphone app. (search for
“Spokane Radio” and download app). Shows are each
Tuesday from Jan. 8 to March 12 and feature head coach Jim
Hayford and host Larry Weir. The Swinging
Doors is located at W. 1018 Francis in Spokane.
Radio: All Eastern games are on 700-AM ESPN in Spokane. Larry Weir returns for his 20th season calling the play-by-play, starting 20 minutes prior to tipoff.
Internet Radio: www.700espn.com or www.tunein.com
Radio iPhone App: Search for “Spokane Radio” and download app. An app is also available for tunein radio.
Live Stats: ewulive.statb.us (web/EWU Home Games) or ewustats.com (mobile phones/EWU Home Games)
The sprint to the finish is on.
An exciting race for the final five berths in the Big Sky Conference Tournament continues this week when the Eastern Washington University men’s basketball team hosts Northern Colorado Thursday (Feb. 28) and North Dakota Saturday (March 2) in a pair of immensely important league games at Reese Court in Cheney, Wash.
Thursday’s game starts at 6:05 p.m. and will be EWU Staff/Faculty Appreciation Night, and the evening will also feature a “Pizza Fest” at Reese Court. Rosa’s Pizza, Domino’s Pizza and The Roost will be serving pizza from 5-7:30 p.m., and cost is $5 for three tickets to obtain pizza from vendors of choice.
Tipoff Saturday is 2:05 p.m. and is Senior Day, with Eastern honoring four players taking part in the final game of their careers – Jeffrey Forbes, Kevin Winford, Collin Chiverton and Jordan Hickert. It will also be Father/Son Day, featuring discount tickets available for $2 each.
The radio broadcast of all Eastern games is 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.
The Eagles are 6-10 in the Big Sky Conference and 9-18 overall, but remain in the midst of a logjam in the middle of the conference standings. Eastern is currently ninth in the Big Sky, but is just one game out of fifth and two games out of third place. Only the top seven teams advance to the Big Sky Conference Tournament, and Montana and Weber State have already locked up spots.
Northern Colorado is just ahead of the Eagles at 7-10 (9-17 overall), and North Dakota is in third at 9-8 (12-15 overall) heading into its game Thursday at Portland State. Earlier this season, Eastern lost on the road to the Bears 72-56 and at UND 65-47.
Eastern closes the season with road games at Idaho State on March 7 and Weber State on March 9. The Big Sky Conference Tournament takes place March 14-16 at the site of the regular season champion.
“We figure we have to defend our home court, win at Idaho State and then see where we stand heading into the final game at Weber State,” explained Hayford of his team’s postseason chances. “If we can get three more wins, that would give us nine, and I think nine is the number. But we’re kind of in a must-win situation, and Northern Colorado is playing as well as anybody in that pack. We have a lot of respect for them.”
Eastern is coming off one of the most peculiar wins in school history, in which everything statistically was lopsided – except the score. In EWU’s 81-76 victory over Sam Houston State in the ESPN Ramada Worldwide BracketBusters, the Eagles out-shot the Bearkats 61 percent to 33 percent and had a school and Big Sky Conference record 16 blocked shots compared to just one for Sam Houston State.
However, SHSU dominated rebounding (45-29), offensive rebounds (29-2), second-chance points (20-4), turnovers (6-15) and points off turnovers (17-7). That led to an astonishing 78-38 advantage in shots for the scrappy Bearkats. The Eagles led by as many as 16 in the first half, then made 7-of-8 free throws in the final 54 seconds to preserve the victory.
The win was Eastern’s fifth in the last eight games. And despite playing with its 12th different starting lineup of the season, Hayford was encouraged by the performance and momentum the Sam Houston State game gave his team heading into its most important week of the season.
“We approached (the Sam Houston State game) as our best practice for our big game Thursday against Northern Colorado and our game against North Dakota on Saturday,” said Hayford. “It is neat to see that our team is playing complete games toward our most important games of the season. I thought (the Sam Houston State game) was a complete game.”
PDF Link to Fact Book
The complete version of the 2012 EWU men’s basketball fact
book may be found at:
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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
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* Senior guard Jeffrey Forbes is on the cusp of another school record after hitting a major career milestone in an 81-76 victory against Sam Houston State on Feb. 23. He scored 11 points versus the Bearkats as he became the 16th player in school history to score at least 1,000 career points (he now has 1,004). Forbes went over the 1,000-point mark with 2:39 left on a key 3-pointer that helped EWU maintain a nine-point lead. Later, he made a pair of free throws as EWU made 7-of-8 shots from the charity stripe in the final 54 seconds to hold off the Bearkats. Forbes has now played 117 games in his career – which ranks third in school history and is just two behind the school record of 119 set by Marc Axton from 2002-05 (Alvin Snow had 188 from 2001-04). If he doesn’t miss any more games, Forbes will tie the record on Senior Day on March 2 versus North Dakota. Forbes has already started a school-record 103 games, with Axton holding the previous record with 99. He also ranks sixth in school history with 116 career steals, and is also third in 3-pointers made (169) and second in attempts (453). Forbes started his school-record 100th game for the Eagles Feb. 9 at Northern Arizona, scoring 10 points, including a pair of clutch free throws with nine seconds left that provided the final margin versus the Lumberjacks. He also had four assists and a career-high eight rebounds in the 77-74 overtime win over NAU. He started and scored six points against Sacramento State one game earlier, but essentially did not play in the previous four games because of a cut that required stitches between the pinkie finger and ring finger of his shooting hand. He did not play versus Montana State, played in just the final seconds of the games against Montana and Southern Utah and only the final seconds of the first half versus Portland State. He suffered the injury late in the game versus Northern Colorado on Jan. 19, and one game earlier had missed the first game of his career because of a knee injury suffered in an automobile accident involving one of the team’s mini-vans.
* Continuing his recent hot stretch, redshirt freshman Tyler Harvey made the first start of his career against Sam Houston State in an 81-76 BracketBusters victory. He finished with seven points, eight rebounds, four assists and three blocked shots at point guard, including a pair of key blocked shots in the last 1:21 to help preserve a seven-point advantage. One game earlier, he had a season-high 23 points at Portland State on Feb. 18. In the last four games, starting when he led Eastern to a come-from-behind win over Northern Arizona on Feb . 9, Harvey has averaged 13.8 points on 22-of-37 shooting from the field (7-of-16 3-pointers). Prior to that, he had scored only 17 points in his first 13 games played. He burst onto the scene on Feb. 9 at Northern Arizona when EWU was down by 18 with 7:35 left to play in regulation. He came off the bench to score 14 points in the last 8:31 of the game and rallied the Eagles to an improbable 77-74 overtime victory in Flagstaff, Ariz. Eastern trailed by 13 when Harvey entered the game for the second time with 3:42 left. He never came out after that, and scored eight points in regulation and six in overtime. In EWU’s next game versus Southern Utah, he helped preserve EWU’s 14-point win by scoring all 11 of his points in the last 6:10 of the game. He then scored 17 of his 23 points in the second half of EWU’s 89-80 loss at Portland State, including 11 in a 16-0 run that turned a 12-point halftime deficit into a three-point lead. Harvey had entered the NAU game having averaged just 4.8 minutes in the 13 games he had played thus far as an Eagle. He had made only 6-of-17 overall and 3-of-9 treys for the season prior to the NAU game.
* The Eagles had to play the PSU and Sam Houston State games without starting point guard Kevin Winford, and he is doubtful for this week. He suffered a blow to his shin against Southern Utah on Feb. 16 that resulted in compartment syndrome and required surgery the evening following the game. Winford was averaging 10.3 points and 4.2 assists in EWU’s last six games prior to the injury.
* Eastern broke a 21-year-old Big Sky Conference record with 16 blocked shots to help the Eagles to an 81-76 men’s basketball victory over Sam Houston State on Feb. 23. Sophomore Martin Seiferth had a school-record eight blocks in the game as the Eagles broke the previous league and school record of 13 set on three occasions, with the last coming in 1992. One of the performances was by the Eagles against Portland on Nov. 26, 1991. Earlier this season, Seiferth and true freshman Venky Jois had seven blocks against Cal State Northridge (11/12/12) and Northern Colorado (1/19/13), respectively, to break the previous record of six set back in 1987. Jois has 60 blocks for the season to shatter the school record of 51 set by Paul Butorac in 2006, and Seiferth is now second with 57. On EWU career lists, Jois already ranks sixth and Seiferth is eighth. The Eagles have also shattered the team record with a current total of 158 blocks, with the previous EWU record of 130 set in the 2005-06 season. The Big Sky Conference record is 179 set by Idaho State in the 2005-06 season. “Venky and Martin are athletic players,” said Eastern head coach Jim Hayford. “They are a presence inside. They are a freshman and a sophomore, so we have to balance their athleticism with smarts and wisdom.”
* Eastern is leading the Big Sky Conference in blocked shots with a school-record 158 already for an average of 5.9 per game to rank ninth in NCAA Division I. Individual Eagles are ranked No. 1 and No. 3 in the league, with Venky Jois averaging 2.5 per game to rank 21st in NCAA Division I and Martin Seiferth averaging 2.1 to rank 45th. The previous school record was 130 in the 2005-06 season (4.3 average per game).
* Eastern ranks 13th in NCAA Division I in 3-pointers made per game (8.5) following a 10-of-18 effort against Sam Houston State on Feb. 23. Eastern attempted a season-low 15 on Feb. 16 against Southern Utah, but one game earlier tied a school record for attempts in a 14-of-43 performance at NAU. The Eagles are averaging a league-leading 8.5 makes per game (total of 229) while attempting an average of 25.0 (total of 675). Last year, when EWU set school records with 283 makes and 793 attempts, Eastern averaged 8.8 made treys per game on an average of 24.8 attempts.
* Eastern’s win over NAU on Feb. 9 completed a season sweep and gives the Eagles a key tiebreaking advantage over the Lumberjacks. In addition, the victory was EWU’s first of the season in 12 tries on opponent home courts. It snapped a 13-game losing skid overall on the road as Eastern’s last win on an opponent’s home court was at Idaho State on Feb. 23, 2012, by an 85-78 score.
* Thus far, the Eagles have used 12 different starting lineups because of a variety of reasons and obstacles placed before them. But the one constant has been the continued development of young players, including five freshmen/sophomores who each have started at least three games with a collective total of 83 starts this season (sophomores Parker Kelly and Martin Seiferth, and true freshmen Venky Jois, Thomas Reuter and Daniel Hill). Besides those five players, redshirt freshman Tyler Harvey has provided a recent boost and made the first start of his career on Feb. 23 at point guard. Three times this season sophomores and freshmen have accounted for at least 75 percent of the team’s minutes. They accounted for 80 percent at North Dakota on Jan. 17, and 75 percent in both meetings against Portland State. By contrast, 83 percent of PSU’s minutes against EWU on Feb. 23 were by seniors or juniors. The Vikings won that game 89-80.
* The Eagles are third in the Big Sky in offensive rebounds with an average of 11.0 per game (Southern Utah 12.4, Montana State 11.0). Martin Seiferth has a 2.4 average and Venky Jois is averaging 2.3 to rank fourth and fifth, respectively, in the league. A year ago, Eastern averaged 12.0 offensive boards per game to lead the league.
* Three Eagles rank in the top six in school history in career 3-pointers made. Jeffrey Forbes is third (169), Kevin Winford is fifth (138) and Collin Chiverton is sixth (128). In attempts, Forbes is second (453), Winford (409) is fifth and Chiverton is sixth (330). Chiverton is also 11th in career 3-point field goal percentage (.388), with sophomore Parker Kelly ranking sixth (.412)
* With the league expanded to 11 teams, the Big Sky Conference Tournament includes seven teams this year and will take place March 14-16 at the site of the regular season champion. The host receives a first-round bye, with the other six teams playing for the other three berths in the semifinals. A year ago, Eastern beat Idaho State 81-75 in the first round before losing to eventual champion Montana 74-66 in the semifinals.
More EWU Notes
* True freshman Venky Jois had a career high seven assists and equaled his career high with 14 rebounds in Eastern’s 72-68 victory over Montana State on Jan. 31, and he also had eight points and three blocked shots. Jois, however, missed the last 3:15 with an ankle injury, and then sat out the next three games before playing a total of 49 minutes in the next two. Jois has established himself as a bonafide contender for All-Big Sky Conference honors, as well as the league’s Freshman of the Year and Newcomer of the Year accolades. He has had nine double-doubles this season to lead the Big Sky and rank 51st in NCAA Division I, but he hasn’t had a double-double since finishing with 20 points and 13 rebounds against Portland State on Jan. 28. He also leads the league and ranks 33rd nationally in rebounding (9.4), and is 21st in the nation and tops in the Big Sky in blocked shots (2.5 per game). His 60 blocked shots have broken the school record of 51 set by Paul Butorac in 2006 and ranks sixth already on EWU’s career list. He is also 15th in the league in scoring (12.7) and 10th in field goal percentage (.493). Against Northern Colorado on Jan. 19, Jois equaled the school record of seven blocked shots set earlier this season by teammate Martin Seiferth, but that record was broken on Feb. 23 when Seiferth had eight. Jois had his best game as an Eagle with 22 points and 13 rebounds on 10-of-14 shooting against Cal State Fullerton in EWU’s 79-75 win on Nov. 30 to earn Big Sky Conference Player of the Week honors. In January, he was selected to the Collegehoopsdaily.com All-Big Sky Conference team from the first half of the season, and was also the school’s Scholar-Athlete of the Month for January. Earlier in the season, he was selected to the All-Tournament Team for his performances in the 2012 College Basketball Experience (CBE) Hall of Fame Classic in Santa Clara, Calif. He had a pair of double-doubles with 19 points and 11 rebounds in EWU’s 75-70 win over South Carolina Upstate and 16 points and 11 boards one game earlier in an 86-83 loss to Utah Valley. Jois came to Eastern after winning a pair of MVP awards in Australia. He was the Bob Staunton 2012 U-20 National Championship MVP, after leading the Victoria State Team to the championship and an unbeaten record. Saint Mary’s College and NBA standout Patty Mills won the Bob Staunton MVP Award in 2006 and 2007. In addition, Jois was the South East Australian Basketball League (SEABL) Youth Player of the Year in 2011, an award given to the top under-23 player and previously won by college and NBA standouts Patty Mills and Andrew Bogut.
* Six-foot-10 sophomore Martin Seiferth broke his own school record when he had eight blocked shots in EWU’s 81-76 victory over Sam Houston State on Feb. 23, helping the Eagles to a school and Big Sky Conference record 16 as a team. Seiferth has made 61.9 percent of his shots from the field to rank second in the Big Sky and would rank as the fifth-best single season performance in school history if he had enough attempts to qualify (he has 134 and needs 135). Thus far, Seiferth is averaging 8.8 points, 5.5 rebounds (15th in the Big Sky) and 2.1 blocked shots per game (third in the Big Sky and 45th in NCAA Division I). His 57 blocked shots already rank as the second-most in school history on the single season list and eighth on the career chart. He had his second double-double of the season with 13 points, 10 rebounds and four blocked shots versus Southern Utah on Feb. 16. He scored 13 points with six rebounds and four blocked shots in EWU’s 76-65 win over Portland State on Jan. 28. He made 6-of-7 shots from the field and had 14 points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots in just 26 minutes of action at North Dakota on Jan. 17. Earlier this season he was the Big Sky Conference Player of the Week after finishing with 27 points, 17 rebounds and a school-record seven blocked shots in a 96-79 loss at Cal State Northridge. The transfer from Oregon had to sit out last season because of NCAA transfer rules.
* Sophomore Parker Kelly out of Gonzaga Prep in Spokane has averaged 13.3 points in his last four games, including a new career high with 19 points in EWU’s come-from-behind 77-74 overtime win over Northern Arizona on Feb. 9. Versus NAU, Kelly’s 3-pointer with 15 seconds left in regulation and a subsequent defensive stop by the Eagles helped send the game into overtime tied at 66. Kelly is now averaging 10.4 points per game in his last 21 games after scoring just 10 in the first five games he played. He has started 14 of the 26 games he has played this season, and is now averaging 8.8 points and 1.0 assists per game, while making a team-leading 45-of-116 3-point shots for 38.8 percent. He is currently ranked seventh in school history in career 3-point percentage (.412).
* Although he is currently out with compartment syndrome after a blow to the shin, senior point guard Kevin Winford is averaging 10.3 points and 4.2 assists in EWU’s last six games. He scored 11 points at Sacramento State on Feb. 7 and 12 in EWU’s 77-74 overtime win at Northern Arizona on Feb. 9. He also had five assists in each game, and had a career-high four steals versus the Lumberjacks. But he has missed the last two games after suffering a shin injury against Southern Utah on Feb. 16, which required surgery later that night. Winford ranks 15th in the Big Sky in assists with a 2.6 average per game. Winford has started 46 of the 111 games he has played (seventh-most games played in school history), averaging 19.5 minutes per game. He has made 138-of-409 3-pointers in his career to rank fifth in school history in both categories, with a total of 704 points scored. Winford had his most productive outings in two years with 13 points in both meetings versus Montana State this season. His performances against the Bobcats were his best since scoring 15 versus Northern Colorado on Feb. 3, 2011. He also had his most assists since dishing out a career-high seven versus New Hope on Dec. 4, 2010 (he scored 39 points in that game with a school-record 10 3-pointers). In the first meeting with MSU, Eastern played its second game with Winford in the lineup as starting point guard, with Justin Crosgile no longer on the team after starting the first 12 games.
* Second-year Eastern head coach Jim Hayford will coach in his 400th career game on March 7 when the Eagles play at Idaho State. He is currently 278-119 (70.3 percent) in 13-plus seasons as a head coach, including a 23-35 mark at Eastern. He was 217-57 (79.2 percent) in 10 seasons at Whitworth (2001-2011), and before that was 37-27 in two seasons at the University of Sioux Falls (S.D.).
* Eastern’s game with Idaho on Dec. 6 was the 100th in the Eastern career of senior guard Jeffrey Forbes, and fellow senior Kevin Winford played in his 100th on Dec. 22 versus Idaho State.
* Senior Collin Chiverton scored just 15 points in EWU’s first three outings this season, but he has bumped his average to 10.8 for the season. He is coming off a 20-point effort in just 18 minutes of action in an 81-76 victory over Sam Houston on Feb. 23. He made 7-of-10 shots from the field and 3-of-4 free throws in final 34 seconds of the game for his 15th 20-point performance of his career and his third of the season. He scored 18 points in just 10 minutes of action in EWU’s 86-72 win over Southern Utah on Feb. 16. He had 20 points against Montana State on Jan. 31, including Eastern’s final six in the last 1:21 of the 72-68 victory. He had a season-best 22 points against Northern Arizona on Jan. 10 for his best performance since a career-high 26 against Seattle on Jan. 16, 2012. He played versus Montana on Jan. 3 for his first appearance since Nov. 23. Last year’s Big Sky Conference Newcomer of the Year, Chiverton missed six games from Nov. 30 to Dec. 22 following the death of a close friend in San Francisco. Previously, his mother passed away just as the season began. Foul trouble hindered him early in the year, and he scored 19 points in just 18 minutes before fouling out with 6:20 to play against South Carolina Upstate in EWU’s 75-70 win. One game later, he made 7-of-15 attempts from the field, including 4-of-12 3-point attempts, versus Santa Clara for his second-straight 19-point game. A year ago, he had 12 20-point performances, but was slowed late in the year with injuries.
* Since becoming eligible in mid-December, Australian point guard Daniel Hill has averaged 2.2 points, 1.8 assists and 1.6 rebounds per game in an average of 13.9 minutes per game (18 total games with three starts). He made the first start of his career at point guard on Jan. 17 at North Dakota as an injury replacement for Kevin Winford, and he had a season-high five assists, four rebounds and a steal in 38 minutes. He also had five assists one game later versus Northern Colorado when he played 35 minutes in place of Winford for the second-straight game. Hill had three assists in EWU’s 82-59 win over Northern Arizona on Jan. 10, and a season-high eight points in his third game as an Eagle in a 57-54 victory over Idaho State on Dec. 22.
* True freshman Thomas Reuter has scored in double figures five times this season, including 11 in EWU’s loss to Montana on Feb. 2. For the season, he has started 16 of EWU’s 27 games and is averaging 22.6 minutes, 5.4 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game. He had a season-high 16 points with five rebounds in EWU’s 79-75 win over Cal State Fullerton on Nov. 30.
* When the Eagles lost 89-80 at Portland State on Feb. 18, Eastern missed out on a chance to wrap-up Eastern’s first championship in “The Dam Cup.” The so-named rivalry refers to the four dams linking Oregon and Washington that one passes on the 339-mile drive between campuses. Portland State and Eastern are in the third year of the five-sport rivalry cup, and EWU went into the game leading in points, 8-5. The Vikings picked up two points with the win, but EWU won the cup 10-7 after EWU’s women’s team beat PSU 83-51 on Feb. 21 at Reese Court.
* Until Montana sank 46.2 percent on Feb. 2, Eastern held its last 10 opponents to 44 percent or less shooting from the field. After allowing non-conference opponents to make a collective 48.0 percent against them, the Eagles have allowed conference opponents to shoot at just a 40.4 percent clip (second in the BSC). EWU is now 8-5 when it holds opponents to 43.5 percent or less and 1-13 when it doesn’t. The Eagles made only 38.0 percent versus Idaho State on Dec. 22, but had a season-best defensive effort of 37.9 percent against the Bengals. Eastern bettered that two games later by holding Montana State to 34.5 percent, then held the Bobcats to just 30.3 percent in the rematch on Jan. 31.
* The Montana loss on Jan. 3 was Eastern’s first game without former starting point guard Justin Crosgile, who left the team for personal reasons to be closer to his family. Crosgile, who is from Patterson, N.J., and is a transfer from St. Joseph’s (Pa.), started EWU’s first 12 games and averaged 14.7 points, 5.5 assists, 5.9 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game.
EWU vs. Northern Colorado Series Notes
* The Eagles are 6-8 all-time versus UNC (4-2 in Cheney, 2-6 in Greeley), with the first meeting taking place on Dec. 20, 1971, when Eastern beat the Bears 76-68 in Greeley, Colo. Since then, all of the meetings have been with EWU as a member of NCAA Division I (since 1983-84), starting in the 2006-07 season when the Bears became a Big Sky Conference member. Eastern has lost the last six meetings in Greeley, having not won there since Jan. 4, 2007 (88-87).
* Earlier this season, the Eagles had a record-tying performance by true freshman Venky Jois and another stingy effort on defense, but Northern Colorado was able to down the Eagles 72-56 on Jan. 19 in Greeley, Colo. Jois equaled the school record of seven blocked shots set earlier this season by teammate Martin Seiferth, as Jois finished with yet another monster game with 15 points, eight rebounds, four assists and the seven blocks. The Eagles also held the Bears to 38 percent shooting – the seventh-straight game the Eagles held their opponents to 44 percent shooting or less. After trailing by just three at halftime by a 33-30 score, the Eagles allowed UNC to go on a 13-3 run in the second half to open a double-digit lead it held much of the rest of the game. Senior Collin Chiverton added 13 points for the Eagles, and sophomore Parker Kelly chipped in 11. However, the 6-foot-10 Seiferth played just 14 minutes because of early foul trouble and finished with only four points and three rebounds. Northern Colorado finished with a 47-29 rebounding advantage, with the 18-rebound margin the second-worst for the Eagles this season (21 versus Idaho). Already playing without starting senior point guard Kevin Winford (concussion), guard Jeffrey Forbes played only 20 minutes after suffering a finger injury in the second half that required stitches and limited him after that. “He had his pinky finger almost ripped off, so he wasn’t able to play down the stretch,” said Eastern head coach Jim Hayford.
* A year ago, Eastern split the season series with the Bears in a pair of games decided by a total of four points. Eastern lost 71-70 in Greeley in heart-breaking fashion as UNC won for the fifth-straight time in the series. Collin Chiverton hit the go-ahead basket with 18 seconds to play, then six ticks of the clock later was battling for a loose ball on the floor and called a timeout the Eagles didn’t have. Tate Unruh made two free throws on the technical foul, then EWU was unable to get a potential game-winning shot in the final seconds in a battle for third place in the Big Sky standings. The loss came after Eastern led for more than 16 minutes of the second half. In the rematch later in the season in Cheney, Eastern won 79-76 as Parker Kelly hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 14 seconds to play after EWU rallied from a 17-point second-half deficit. After a UNC turnover 10 seconds later, Chiverton made one of two free throws with 3.5 remaining, but UNC threw the ball away after rebounding a miss on the second shot to preserve the Eagle win.
* In the 2010-11 season, Eastern suffered a heart-breaking 75-73 home loss to the Bears on New Year’s Eve, as UNC’s Elliott Lloyd blocked a potential game-winning shot by Glen Dean with one second remaining.
EWU vs. North Dakota Series Notes
* Eastern is 1-2 all-time against North Dakota, including a 65-47 loss earlier this season in Grand Forks, N.D., which was the first time the two schools have met since EWU moved to NCAA Division I in the 1983-84 season. Eastern hadn’t played North Dakota since Dec. 11, 1982, when EWU lost 75-71 in Grand Forks. A year earlier, the Eagles beat North Dakota 81-72 in Cheney in the only other meeting between the two schools.
* North Dakota went on runs of 8-0 to start the game and 13-0 to begin the second half as the shorthanded Eagles lost 65-47 to UND in a the first-ever Big Sky Conference men’s basketball game between the two schools on Jan. 17 in Grand Forks, N.D. In Eastern’s first trip to Grand Forks since 1982, the Eagles had a season low point total as EWU made just 34 percent of its shots, including a season-worst 13 percent from the 3-point line (3-of-23). Eastern’s 6-foot-10 center Martin Seiferth had14 points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots in just 26 minutes to lead the Eagles, and Venky Jois added his eighth double-double of the season with 12 points and 14 rebounds. Seiferth made 6-of-7 shots from the field after entering the game leading the Big Sky in field goal shooting at 64.9 percent for the season. Jois also added a pair of blocks and two steals. Eastern held North Dakota to 36.7 percent shooting – the sixth-straight game EWU has held its opponent to 44 percent shooting or less. The Eagles were out-rebounded 44-38, and North Dakota forced 16 EWU turnovers leading to a 20-12 advantage in points off turnovers. Eagle true freshman Daniel Hill started at point guard in place of Winford and went scoreless, but he had a season-high five assists, four rebounds and a steal. Sophomore Parker Kelly came off the bench to add eight points and three rebounds.
* Led by the school-record eight blocked shots by sophomore center Martin Seiferth, Eastern broke a 21-year-old Big Sky Conference record with 16 blocked shots on Feb. 23 in an 81-76 win over Sam Houston State. The Eagles broke the previous league and school record of 13 set on three occasions, with the last coming in 1992. One of the performances was by the Eagles against Portland on Nov. 26, 1991. Seiferth broke the record of seven both he and true freshman Venky Jois had earlier this season. Jois had seven against Northern Colorado on Jan. 19, and Seiferth broke the previous school record that had stood for 25 years when he had seven at Cal State Northridge on Nov. 12. Seiferth, who also had 27 points and 17 rebounds in that game, broke the previous record of six set by Dexter Griffen versus Idaho State on Jan. 2, 1987. Seiferth’s 17 rebounds are the sixth-best recorded performance all-time at Eastern. The sophomore from Berlin, Germany, just missed a spot on Eastern’s all-time leading scorers list, with 30 points scored by 10 different players to rank 39th.
* Venky Jois has 60 blocked shots this season, breaking the previous school record of 51 set by Paul Butorac in 2006. Jois already ranks sixth on EWU’s career list. In addition, Martin Seiferth has 57 blocks to rank third on EWU’s single season list and eighth on the career chart.
* With 158 blocked shots as a team, the Eagles broke the school record of 130 set in the 2005-06 season. The Big Sky Conference record is 179 set by Idaho State in the 2005-06 season.
* Senior guard Jeffrey Forbes broke the school record on Feb. 9 with his 100th game started, breaking the previous record of 99 set by Marc Axton (2002-05). Forbes has played in 117 games to rank third in school history, and could break Axton’s school record of 119 games played (Alvin Snow had 118 from 2001-04). If he doesn’t miss any more games, Forbes will tie the record on Senior Day on March 2 versus North Dakota. The only two games he missed in his career came this season versus North Dakota (1/17/13) because of a knee injury and against Montana State (1/31/13) because of a hand injury. Now a 103-game starter, Forbes has averaged 30.0 minutes per game in his Eastern career. He became the 16th Eastern player to go over the 1,000-point mark in his career when he had 11 points on Feb. 23 versus Sam Houston State, and how has 1,004 in his career to rank 15th. He ranks sixth in school history with 117 career steals, just three from reaching No. 5. He is also third in 3-pointers made (167) and second in attempts (453). He is 15 makes and 46 attempts away from school records. In his career at the free throw line, Forbes has made what would be a school record at 86.4 percent (165-of-191), but he is 43 attempts shy to meet the minimum of two free throw attempts per game. Forbes set a single season school record for free throw percentage (.900, 54-of-60) as a sophomore. He also made 55 3-pointers in the 2010-11 season to rank as the 11th-most in Eastern history (now 13th entering the 2012-13 season).
* Senior guard Kevin Winford has played in 111 career games to rank seventh in school history, and also ranks in the top 10 on several Eastern season and career lists for 3-point shooting. On career charts, his 138 makes and his 409 attempts both rank fifth. 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 (now fifth). He owns school records for single game 3-pointers made (10) and attempted (23) when he finished with 39 points – fifth-best in school history – in his sophomore season against New Hope (12/4/10).
* Senior forward Collin Chiverton and his 128 3-pointers rank sixth on EWU’s top 10 career list, and his 330 attempts are sixth and his .388 percentage is currently 11th. In the five seasons he has played since his junior year in high school, teams that Chiverton has played on have won 138 of 187 games for a .738 winning percentage. His junior college and high school teams won 114 of 131 games (87 percent).
* Sophomore Parker Kelly has made 41.2 percent of his 3-point shots in his career (80-of-194) to currently rank sixth in school history.
Recent Game Summaries
* Eastern broke a 21-year-old Big Sky Conference record with 16 blocked shots to help the Eagles to an 81-76 men’s basketball victory over Sam Houston State Feb. 23 at Reese Court in the ESPN Ramada Worldwide BracketBusters series of college basketball games. The Eagles opened a 16-point lead in the first half and needed every bit of it in holding off the comeback attempt of the Bearkats from the Southland Conference. Four Eagles scored in double figures, and senior guard Jeffrey Forbes became the 16th Eagle in school history to hit the coveted 1,000-point mark in his career. Eastern attempted a season-low 38 field goal attempts, but made them count for a 61 percent shooting night. Eastern made a season-best 56 percent from the 3-point line (10-of-18) as Collin Chiverton led four Eagles in double figures with 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting. Sam Houston State, meanwhile, had 29 offensive rebounds and a 45-29 rebounding advantage. Fortunately, the Eagles held SHSU to 33 percent as the Bearkats finished with 78 total shots -- a high against EWU this season. Sophomore Martin Seiferth had a school-record eight blocks as the Eagles broke the previous league and school records of 13 set on three occasions, with the last coming in 1992. The previous individual school record was seven set earlier this season by Seiferth and his teammate, Venky Jois. Sophomore Parker Kelly finished with 17 points and Jois and Forbes each had 11. Jois also has six assists and four of EWU’s blocked shots. Freshman redshirt Tyler Harvey made the first start of his career, and finished with seven points, eight rebounds, four assists and three blocked shots at point guard.
* The Eagles overcame a 12-point halftime deficit to take the lead with a 16-0 run, but Portland State used its hot shooting to pull away from EWU for an 89-80 Big Sky Conference victory Feb. 18 at the Stott Center in Portland, Ore. Redshirt freshman Tyler Harvey fueled EWU’s comeback with a career-high 23 points, including 17 in the second half and 11 in the 16-0 run. True freshman Venky Jois and sophomore Martin Seiferth each had near double-doubles, with Jois scoring 17 points and grabbing nine rebounds, and Seiferth finishing with 16 points and nine boards. Senior guard Jeffrey Forbes added 17 points, as four Eagles combined for all but seven of EWU’s points. Portland State made 53 percent of its shots in the game, including a blistering 66 percent in the first half when it led by as many as 13. Eastern, meanwhile, made only 36 percent in the first half, but heated up to make 53 percent in the second half. After EWU’s 16-0 run put EWU up by three, the Vikings followed with an 8-2 spurt to take the lead for good with 10:26 to play. Portland State then closed out the win by making 11-of-12 free throws in the final 1:29.In a rematch of a 76-65 Eagle win in Cheney, Wash., on Jan. 28, the Viking victory kept EWU from moving into a five-way tie for fifth in the Big Sky Conference standings.
* Read more at: http://goeags.com/sports/m-baskbl/index
Quoting Coach Jim Hayford
On Sam Houston State Win: “I thought our guys were playing a very athletic team, but we kept enough poise to finish it out. I am really proud of them. Obviously, (it helps) when you block 16 shots. We knew we had a height advantage, and they maybe had a quickness advantage. We knew it (the height advantage) would show up somewhere.”
On Big Sky Blocked Shots Record: “To block 16 shots in one game -- I have never seen anything like that in my life. For us to shoot 61 percent from the field shows how we are really improving. Our theme for that game was great effort, great execution and great efficiency. When you look at us offensively, you see all three of those things.”
On Tyler Harvey’s Starting Debut: “The best thing Tyler did today was have eight defensive rebounds. Part of that was chasing down blocked shots. Tyler continues to step up and seize the opportunity. There is a lot of pressure on a freshman point guard that started off as the fourth-string point guard at the beginning of the year. I am very proud of him. He is an outstanding teammate as his teammates will say.”
On NAU Win After Trailing by 18 Late in the Game: “It’s just a fantastic win for us. When you look at where it puts us in the race to achieve our goal of making the Big Sky Tournament, it’s even more dramatic. So I’m really, really happy for our players. I’m really proud of our team -- what a great day for all of our players. You couldn’t write it up to be any more dramatic.”
On Chiverton & Winford Versus MSU on Jan. 31: “The big thing for us was down the stretch is that we had seniors step up. Kevin was a great defensive rebounder in the second half, and Collin made free throws down the stretch. That’s showing the young guys how to do it. When you get those kinds of contributions it will be fun. It is going to be a lot better result.”
On Venky Jois: “Venky has been our most consistent player. He is a great leader even though he is only a freshman. The biggest compliment (I can give him) is that I expect him to play that way.”
On Kevin Winford & Jeffrey Forbes at MSU: “Kevin and Jeff gave great senior performances to lead and show our team how you play on the road. I just want to give those two young men a lot of credit. They both have amazing personal character, are great guys and they really did lead by example.”
On Toughness After ISU Win & WSU Loss: “We need to keep building toughness. The way you get toughness is you face adversity, and you find success against it. When you face adversity -- and fail against it -- you go up the next time and you look for success. That’s what we are committed to do as a coaching staff.”
On Aggressive Play: “I’m scrappy so I’m going to try to make them scrappy every day. That’s the only way I know how to play basketball. It’s just a truth. The team that plays harder wins. That’s the great equalizer -- there’s talent and whatever, but I hope we just get scrappier.”