Maintaining home-court advantage is important as Eagles try to even Big Sky Conference record
Saturday, Jan. 12 - Reese Court (5,000) - Cheney,
6:05 p.m. Pacific - Sacramento State (7-6/2-3) at Eastern Washington (4-11/2-3)
Thursday, Jan. 17 - Betty Engelstad Sioux Center (3,064)
- Grand Forks, N.D.
5 p.m. Pacific - Eastern Washington at North Dakota
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.
TV: The Sacramento State game is televised live
in the Eastern Washington region on SWX (SWX Digital 6.2 in
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Keeping a home-court advantage is paramount, as the Eastern Washington University men’s basketball team has found out in its last two games at Reese Court.
The Eagles try to even their Big Sky Conference record when they host Sacramento State on Saturday (Jan. 12) in a game that begins at 6:05 p.m. Pacific time at Reese Court in Cheney, Wash. The game is televised live in the Eastern Washington region on SWX.
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.
Eastern is now 2-3 in the league and 4-11 overall following an 82-59 romp over Northern Arizona on Thursday (Jan. 10). The Eagles won their second-straight league home game, and will try to improve to 3-1 in home league games and 4-3 overall at home when the Hornets visit. Sacramento State is 2-3 in the Big Sky and 7-6 overall following an 87-69 loss at Portland State on Thursday.
Eastern is coming off three of its best shooting efforts of the season, including a season-best 50.0 percent against the Lumberjacks. The Eagles made 25-of-49 (51 percent) from 2-point range and 8-of-17 (47 percent) from the 3-point arc, but were just 8-of-20 from the free throw line.
Eastern has made 47 percent of its shots from the field in its last three games, after entering that stretch making 39.5 percent for the year. The Eagles are currently shooting at a 40.3 percent clip.
“Shooting is part of the system,” said Eastern head coach Jim Hayford, whose team is 3-1 when it makes at least 45.0 percent and 1-10 when it makes less than that. “Against Northern Arizona we made a big emphasis to go inside, and we still made eight threes. The shots I’d like us to shoot better are our free throws.”
Eastern had a season-high 44 points inside the paint against NAU and a season-high 20 second-chance points. The Eagles had 17 offensive boards and out-rebounded the Lumberjacks 49-37.
The Eagles were also bolstered by a 22-point outing from senior forward Collin Chiverton, who had his best scoring performance since netting a career-high 26 against Seattle on Jan. 16, 2012. He equaled his career high with three assists, and made 8-of-14 shots from the floor, 3-of-4 free throws and sank 3-of-6 of his 3-point attempts. He scored eight points in a 16-1 run in the first half which gave EWU the lead for good and a 40-22 lead at halftime.
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.
“It’s been an interesting year for Collin,” said Hayford. “He has had to keep battling through the adversity. The takeaway from the Northern Arizona game for me was that he was playing basketball with a smile on his face. He did a great job defensively in the first half. He can score points -- that’s what he does best – and that’s what he did against NAU.”
Chiverton, as well as fellow seniors Jeffrey Forbes, Kevin Winford and Jordan Hickert – have had to blend with four true freshmen, a redshirt freshman, a sophomore and a junior college transfer playing their first games in Eastern uniforms.
“These seniors have a really, really young team to work with, but they are enjoying them,” said Hayford. “It’s a fun lockerroom. Though we have had more losses than wins, this group is really having fun together. Give credit to Collin, Kevin and Jeff. When Collin is at his best he is the spirit of the locker room. It’s great to have a healthy, happy Collin back.”
The Hornets were 10-18 overall and 5-11 in the Big Sky last season, and did not qualify for the Big Sky Conference Tournament. In fact, Sacramento State is trying to secure its first berth since 2006 when it made the fourth of four-straight appearances. The Hornets have been in the Big Sky since the 1996-97 school year, and those four appearances are their only berths in 16 seasons in the league.
A year ago, the Eagles won at Sacramento State 65-60, but then fell at home to the Hornets by a 75-71 score. The victory ended Sac State’s 15-game losing streak to the Eagles at Reese Court.
Eastern and Sacramento State have both played UC Davis, Montana and Montana State this year. Eastern was 0-3 against all three of those common opponents on the road, losing to UC Davis (87-65), Montana (81-66) and Montana State (70-68 in overtime). The Hornets had home losses to UC Davis (87-76) and Montana (61-60), and a home victory against MSU (62-57).
With the league expanded to 11 teams, the Big Sky Conference Tournament includes seven teams this year and will take place Dec. 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.
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* Eastern has held its last four opponents to collective 37.6 percent shooting from the field, and EWU is now 4-1 when it holds opponents to 43.5 percent or less and 0-10 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 NAU 34.9 percent in the next game.
* Eastern has had three of its top five shooting performances of the season in its last three games. The Eagles have made 47 percent of its shots from the field in those three games, after entering that stretch making 39.5 percent for the year. Eastern is 1-10 when it shoots less than 45 percent from the field, but is 3-1 when it has a higher percentage than that. The Eagles made 45.7 percent against Montana on Jan. 3, 44.6 percent two nights later versus Montana State and a season-best 50.0 percent against Northern Arizona on Jan. 10. They were at 59 percent for the game versus MSU before making just three of their last 19 shots.
* If NCAA statistics are any indication, plenty of points should be scored Saturday when Sacramento State visits. Eastern enters the game ranked 109th nationally and third in the Big Sky in scoring offense (70.9 per game), but is last in the league and 336th out of 345 NCAA Division I teams in scoring defense (78.0 per game). Sacramento State ranks fourth in the Big Sky and 127th in NCAA Division I in scoring offense (70.1).
* Eastern’s 40-22 lead at halftime against Northern Arizona on Jan. 10 was easily its biggest halftime advantage of the season, having owned an 11-point lead at intermission against Utah Valley in November. But the loss to Utah Valley – as well as losses to Idaho in December and Montana State on Jan. 5 – came after EWU held double-digit second-half advantages.
* As an illustration of their balance, the Eagles had six double figure scoring performances a week ago on the road at Montana and Montana State, but none were by the same player. Against the Grizzlies on Jan. 3, Venky Jois led the way with 16, with Collin Chiverton and Thomas Reuter coming off the bench to score 15 and 14, respectively. Two nights later at MSU, senior starters Jeffrey Forbes and Kevin Winford scored 18 and 13, respectively, and sophomore starter Martin Seiferth had 11. Four Eagles scored in double figures in the win over Northern Arizona (Chiverton 22, Jois 14, Seiferth 13 and Forbes 11).
* After leading NCAA Division I in 3-pointers made per game through games of Nov. 30, Eastern is now fifth through games of Jan. 10. The Eagles are averaging a league-leading 9.4 makes per game while attempting an average of 26.5. 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.
* Recently, true freshman Venky Jois 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 December. The forward from Boronia, Australia, has had seven double-doubles this season to rank 17th in NCAA Division I (through games of Jan. 10). He had 14 points, 14 rebounds and four blocked shots in his most recent double-double versus Northern Arizona in an 82-59 Eagle win on Jan. 10. He 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. For the season Jois is averaging 33.7 minutes, 13.3 points, 9.4 rebounds, 1.8 blocked shots, 1.0 steals and 1.5 assists per game. He leads the league in rebounding and ranks 32nd in NCAA Division I (through Jan. 10). 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.
* 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. Forbes, who has now scored 941 points in his 107-game Eastern career, could break Marc Axton’s (2002-05) school record of 119 games played. Forbes has averaged 30.8 minutes per game in his Eastern career with 96 starts. He ranks eighth in school history with 112 career steals, and is also fourth in 3-pointers made (161) and attempted (427). Winford has started 38 of the 103 games he has played (13th-most games played in school history), averaging 18.4 minutes per game. He has made 124-of-364 3-pointers in his career to rank fifth in school history in both categories, with a total of 623 points scored.
* Senior Collin Chiverton 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. Chiverton scored just 15 points in EWU’s first three outings, but has bumped his average to 11.8 for the season. He had a season-best 22 points against Northern Arizona on for the 13th 20-point performance of his career, and his best since a career-high 26 against Seattle on Jan. 16, 2012. Foul trouble hindered him early in the season, 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.
* Eastern is second in the Big Sky Conference in blocked shots with 75 already for an average of 5.0 per game to rank 41st in NCAA Division I. Individual Eagles are ranked No. 2 and No. 3 in the league, with Martin Seiferth averaging 1.9 per game to rank 66th in NCAA Division I and Venky Jois averaging 1.8 to rank 77th. The Eagles had a school-record 130 in the 2005-06 season (4.3 average per game).
* The Eagles are second in the Big Sky in offensive rebounds with an average of 12.1 per game (Sacramento State is first at 12.4). Venky Jois is averaging 2.6 and Martin Seiferth has a 2.3 average to rank third and fourth, 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 nine in school history in career 3-pointers made. Jeffrey Forbes is fourth (161), Kevin Winford is fifth (124) and Collin Chiverton is eighth (109). In attempts, Forbes is fourth (427) and Winford (364) is fifth, and Chiverton is eighth in career 3-point field goal percentage (40.7).
* The Montana loss 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.
* The Eagles have been picked to finish as high as third in the 2012-13 Big Sky Conference preseason men’s basketball polls released Oct. 18. The media have picked the Eagles to finish third, and the coaches selected Eastern sixth. Defending Big Sky champion Montana has been selected first in both polls.
* Eastern’s game versus Montana on Saturday, Feb. 2 will be Alumni Appreciation Night, and includes free tickets for alumni if registered by Jan. 31. The event includes alumni basket drawings, a team tunnel spirit lineup at halftime for children ages 4-16, a family concession bundle (four hot dogs and four sodas for $20) and a post-game poster-signing session with players. In addition, the EWU Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) will have a “Furry Friends Round-Up” that night to provide new or gently used stuffed animals to local children’s organizations. The game begins at 6:05 p.m. Pacific time, and registration for the event is available at: http://alumni.ewu.edu/events
More EWU Notes
* Since becoming eligible in mid-December, Australian point guard Daniel Hill has averaged 2.7 points, 0.8 assists and 1.3 rebounds per game in an average of 13.0 minutes per game (six total games). He had a season-high 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.
* Senior point guard Kevin Winford had his most productive outing in two years when he finished with 13 points (on 3-of-3 shooting from the 3-point stripe) and six assists in EWU’s 70-68 overtime loss at Montana State on Jan. 5. Winford had his most points 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). 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.
* The 54 points the Eagles allowed in a three-point win over Idaho State on Dec. 22 were the fewest they surrendered by 16 – the previous best for the Eagles came in a 75-70 win over South Carolina-Upstate on Nov. 21. Eastern held the Bengals to 37.9 percent shooting from the field, which at the time was EWU’s best defensive effort of the season. The previous best was a 38.1 percent effort versus Cal State Fullerton.
* The Eagles had a season high 17 3-pointers made versus UC Davis on Dec. 17, and have attempted at least 39 3-point attempts on three occasions. Eastern had 41 versus UC Davis and a season-high 42 against Utah Valley on Nov. 20. Eastern’s 17 3-pointers were one behind the school record of 18 set on Dec. 4, 2010, against New Hope. Eastern had a record 48 3-point attempts on Jan. 19, 1995, versus Sacramento State.
* Sophomore Parker Kelly out of Gonzaga Prep in Spokane equaled his career high with 17 points to pace the Eagles in their Dec. 17 loss at UC Davis. He made 5-of-8 3-point shots against the Aggies, and is now averaging 9.2 points per game in his last nine games after scoring just 10 in the first five games he played. For the season, he is now averaging 6.6 points and 1.1 assists per game, while making 19-of-56 3-point shots for 33.9 percent.
* Martin Seiferth (Oregon) had to sit out last season because of NCAA transfer rules. Thus far, Seiferth is averaging 7.8 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.9 blocked shots per game. Earlier this season he was the Big Sky Conference Player of the Week after finishing with 27 points, 17 rebounds and a school-record eight blocked shots in a 96-79 loss at Cal State Northridge.
* The Eagles went 1-5 on a season-opening six-game road stretch, including four games in six nights in California. With eight newcomers blending together with six letterwinners (not including redshirts), the Eagles had a lot of highs and lows on the trip. Eastern’s lone win was a 75-70 victory over South Carolina Upstate, a team that won 20 games a year ago and played in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT). The Eagles lost to another 20-game winner and CIT participant, Utah Valley, by just three points (86-83). Eastern led 43-32 at halftime against Utah Valley, and even had a 31-26 lead late in the first half of an 85-66 loss on Nov. 18 to Saint Mary’s – a NCAA Tournament participant a year ago. In EWU’s third game in four nights in California, Eastern fell 89-74 to an unbeaten Santa Clara squad.
* Three Eagles who played for the highly-successful City College of San Francisco basketball team returned to the Bay Area for a quartet of games in November. Collin Chiverton is from San Jose, and Ivan Dorsey and Garrett Moon are both from San Francisco. That trio helped lead CCSF to the 2010-11 California Community Colleges Athletic Association title and finish 32-1. San Francisco finished the season with a 27-game winning streak, and was a perfect 12-0 to win the Coast-North title. The year after, Dorsey and Moon (who is redshirting this season) led the Rams to a 27-3 record, meaning those two players were on the winning end of 54 of 59 games in junior college. Chiverton also returned to his former college on the trip -- he redshirted the 2008-09 season while at Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, Calif. In last year’s 77-61 loss to the Gaels, Chiverton scored 18 points for EWU. He had seven points in just 15 minutes before fouling out in this year’s meeting.
* The EWU men’s basketball team is playing its home games for the 38th season at Reese Court in Cheney, Wash. But last spring new premium seating was added on the scorer’s table/team benches side, and the wooden bleachers were moved to the ends of the court. In addition, a new video board has been added to the existing scoreboard at Reese Court this fall, and made its debut on Nov. 30.
* With the addition of North Dakota and Southern Utah into the Big Sky Conference, Eastern’s league slate will include 20 games for the first time. The Big Sky Conference Tournament will take place March 14-16 at the site of the regular season champion. After being a six-team affair for most of its history, it will now include seven teams, with the regular season champion receiving a first-round bye. The tournament will include a quarterfinal round with six of the teams playing, followed by semifinals and the championship game.
* In all, Eastern’s 2012-13 schedule includes 10 games versus eight schools who participated in national postseason tournaments a year ago. Eastern will play six games against those opponents on the road, and four games at home. Two appeared in the NCAA Tournament – Saint Mary’s (Nov. 18 on the road) and Montana (Jan. 3 on the road and Feb. 2 at home). Washington State (Nov. 10 on the road) played in the College Basketball Invitational Tournament, and lost to Pittsburgh 89-69 in the championship game. The other five postseason opponents on EWU’s schedule were all in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT). Weber State (Dec. 20 at home and March 9 on the road), Idaho (Dec. 6 at home) and South Carolina Upstate (Nov. 21 on the road) advanced to the second round. Utah Valley (Nov. 20 on the road) and Cal State Fullerton (Nov. 30 at home) played in the first round.
* The preseason for the Eagles consisted of a 96-70 victory over Concordia, as well as a closed-door scrimmage two weeks earlier. Eastern also went on a six-game, seven-day trek across British Columbia in September. NCAA Division I schools are allowed to make one preseason foreign trip every four years, including up to 10 practices and six games. Of the 15 players on his roster, 14 of them played during the tour. In winning six games in six nights, the Eagles had a different leading scorer each night. On the floor, the trip helped Hayford blend together returning letterwinners, redshirts, four-year transfers, a junior college transfer and lots of incoming high school players. It also helped develop camaraderie and a team-first attitude among a melting pot of a roster consisting of Germans, Australians and Americans from five different states.
* Eastern finished 15-17 overall and was 8-8 in Big Sky Conference play to finish fourth in the 2011-12 season, and the Eagles hosted and won their first Big Sky Conference Tournament game since 2006. Eastern improved by five victories from the year before, as the Eagles equaled their most wins since Eastern made its first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance in 2004.
* Eastern’s games versus Washington State, Utah Valley, South Carolina Upstate and Santa Clara are all part of the 2012 College Basketball Experience (CBE) Hall of Fame Classic. The WSU game took place in Pullman, Wash., and the other three will be played in Santa Clara, Calif., as part of the CBE Classic, which is hosted by the National Association of Basketball Coaches.
EWU vs. Sacramento State Series Notes
* Since Eastern became a member of NCAA Division I in the 1983-84 season, the Eagles are 26-10 versus Sacramento State, and the two schools did not play against each other prior to that.
* The Eagles have won 19 of their last 25 games against the Hornets, and have a 16-2 record versus Sacramento State in Cheney and a 10-8 record in Sacramento. Until losing 75-71 on Feb. 4, 2012, Eastern had won the last 15 meetings at home against Sac State, dating back to a 68-67 Hornet victory on Jan. 19, 1995.
* Until falling 74-67 at Sacramento State on Feb. 7, 2010, the Eagles had won the last eight meetings dating back to an 88-69 Hornet victory on Jan. 7, 2006, also in Sacramento.
* Senior guard Jeffrey Forbes has played in 107 games to rank 10th in school history, and could break Marc Axton’s (2002-05) school record of 119 games played. A 96-game starter, Forbes has averaged 30.8 minutes per game in his Eastern career. He ranks eighth in school history with 111 career steals, just five from reaching No. 6. He is also fourth in 3-pointers made (161) and attempted (427). He is 23 makes and 72 attempts away from school records. In his career at the free throw line, Forbes has made what would be a school record at 87.9 percent (152-of-173), but he is 41 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 103 career games, and is just three from a spot on Eastern’s top 10 all-time list. He ranks in the top 10 on several Eastern season and career lists for 3-point shooting. On career charts, his 124 makes and his 364 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 109 3-pointers rank eighth on EWU’s top 10 career list, and his 268 attempts are five away from the No. 11 position. In the five seasons he has played since his junior year in high school, teams that Chiverton has played on have won 133 of 178 games for a .747 winning percentage. His junior college and high school teams won 114 of 131 games (87 percent).
* Sophomore center Martin Seiferth broke a school record that stood for 25 years with seven blocked shots in a 96-79 loss to Cal State Northridge on Nov. 12. Seiferth, who also had 27 points and 17 rebounds in the 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.
Recent Game Summaries
* Senior forward Collin Chiverton scored eight points in a key 16-1 run in the first half to help the Eastern Washington University men’s basketball team romp past Northern Arizona 82-79 Jan. 10 at Reese Court in Cheney, Wash. Chiverton scored a season-high 22 points to lead four Eagles in double figures, with forward Venky Jois recording his seventh double-double of the season with 14 points, 14 rebounds and four blocked shots. Eastern made a season-best 50.0 percent of its shots from the field and held NAU to 34.9 percent – EWU’s second-best effort of the year. Six-foot-10 center Martin Seiferth made 6-of-8 shots from the field and finished with 13 points and eight rebounds for the Eagles. Senior guard Jeffrey Forbes added 11 points, four rebounds and two steals. True freshman Thomas Reuter finished with six points, six rebounds and a season-high seven assists for the Eagles, and true freshman point guard Daniel Hill came off the bench to dish out three assists. Eastern trailed early 10-2 and 17-16, but Chiverton started the 16-1 run with a 3-pointer that gave EWU the lead for good. He hit another trey, then made a pair of free throws with 4:18 to play that gave EWU a 32-18 lead. The lone points for the Lumberjacks in that stretch was a free throw at the 6:02 mark. Northern Arizona missed nine-straight shots and had four turnovers during the run. The Eagles led by as many as 25 in the second half and no fewer than 16 after intermission.
* Hot shooting was the recipe for success for Eastern on Jan. 5 in Bozeman, Mont., but suddenly the shots stopped falling as Montana State rallied for a 70-68 victory in overtime. Four Eagles scored at least nine points, as the Eagles led by as many as 15 in the second half. Eastern missed a potential game-winning shot at the end of regulation and two potential game tying shots at the end of overtime. Although the Eagles had five more field goals – and six more 3-point goals – Eastern was out-scored 24-6 at the free throw line. Eastern missed nine of its last 10 shots in regulation – including a string of eight consecutive misses -- and was just 2-of-9 in overtime. Before that, Eastern was shooting at a 59 percent clip before settling at 45 percent for the game. The Eagles also had 20 turnovers compared to just eight for the Bobcats, as MSU had a 21-9 advantage in points off turnovers. Senior guard Jeffrey Forbes led the Eagles with a season-high 18 points with four 3-pointers, and senior point guard Kevin Winford had 13 points and six assists before fouling out late in the game. Six-foot-10 sophomore Martin Seiferth finished with 11 points and six rebounds, and sophomore Parker Kelly added nine points with a trio of 3-pointers. Eastern played the last 6:38 and overtime without true freshman Venky Jois, who entered the game averaging 13.8 points and 9.2 rebounds per game. Jois played only 25 minutes and finished with six points, seven rebounds and five assists.
* Eastern was out-shot 9-4 at the 3-point line and fell at Montana 81-66 on Jan. 3 in a Big Sky Conference men’s game at Dahlberg Arena in Missoula, Mont. The Grizzlies made 9-of-21 from the 3-point stripe (43 percent) after entering the game ranked 11th in NCAA Division I in 3-point percentage (40.7 percent) and 55th with an average of 7.7 treys per game. Eastern led D-I with an average of 9.8 per game, but made only 4-of-16 versus the Grizzlies. A 10-2 run – including a pair of 3-pointers -- helped the Grizzlies pull away from a 37-all tie in the second half. True freshman Venky Jois led the Eagles with 16 points and also had seven rebounds, a pair of assists and a blocked shot. Fellow true freshman Thomas Reuter had 14 points, making 5-of-6 shots from the field and adding eight rebounds. Senior Collin Chiverton had 14 points in his first action since Nov. 23.
* Read more at: http://goeags.com/sports/m-baskbl/index
Quoting Coach Jim Hayford
On Victory Over NAU & Having Collin Chiverton Back: “I do think we are coming together. Not having Collin for that whole month slowed our development, but he’s back, and he is going to have a good finish to his senior year. (Against Northern Arizona) Collin looked like he did last year when he was at his best. What I like the most is seeing him play with a smile on his face and enjoying basketball.”
On Defense Versus NAU: “Our senior guards did a really good job in the backcourt on (Gabe) Rogers and (DeWayne) Russell, so give Forbes and Winford credit. All summer Collin told us he could be a lock-down defender, so give him credit. He did a really good job. I thought Collin’s size really bothered Russell.”
On Montana State Loss: “I’m very, very proud of our team. We played really, really well in the first half and second half. We were trading baskets in the second half and we needed some stops to stop the bleeding. It was a really good game – but there has to be a winner and a loser. Our team played really, really well, and I hurt for them that they couldn’t take a road win home with them. I’m proud of our team, but sometimes the scoreboard doesn’t go in your favor.”
On Kevin Winford & Jeffrey Forbes Versus 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 Point Guard Daniel Hill: “Daniel is going to have a great career. He’s a solid point guard who makes everybody better. Along with senior Kevin Winford, I’m very confident in those players.”
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.”