Eastern Hosts Two of the Big Sky’s Top Three Teams

Montana State visits Thursday before Eagles host Big Sky-leading and defending champion Montana on Saturday

Complete Release in .PDF Format

Upcoming Games

Thursday, Jan. 31 - Reese Court (5,000) - Cheney, Wash.
6:05 p.m. Pacific - Montana State (6-4/9-9) at Eastern Washington (3-7/5-15)

Saturday, Feb. 2 - Reese Court (5,000) - Cheney, Wash.
6:05 p.m. Pacific - Montana at Eastern Washington

Coaches Show

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.

Coverage

TV: The Montana game is televised live in the Eastern Washington region on 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)
Webcast:
http://www.bigskytv.org
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 Eagles are hoping to become a second-half team in more ways than one.

The first half of the Big Sky Conference schedule is history, and now the Eastern Washington University men’s basketball team opens the final 10 games of the league schedule with visits from two of the top three teams in the league standings – Montana State on Thursday (Jan. 31) and Montana on Saturday (Feb. 2). Both games begin at 6:05 p.m. at Reese Court in Cheney, Wash.

The Montana game will be televised live in the Eastern Washington region on SWX. As part of “Alumni Appreciation and White Out Reese Night” at Reese Court, the first 1,500 Eagle fans Saturday will receive free “Our House” t-shirts courtesy of Northern Quest Casino and Resort.

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 successfully began its three-game homestand by leading from start to finish in a 76-65 win over Portland State on Monday (Jan. 28). The Eagles led 33-25 at halftime, then went on a 9-2 run to start the second half and open a double-digit lead it held most of the rest of the game.

In the four games prior to that – all losses – the Eagles out-scored opponents 125-114 in the first half, but were out-scored 152-86 in the second half (average differential of 16 points, 38-22).

“(The second half) half has been a frequently discussed subject on our team, so it was really important,” said Hayford of his team’s 43-40 advantage over PSU in the second half. “I am really happy for our guys. They put a lot of work in, and to taste a win is really special. We have the youngest team, and halfway through the league season we are one win away from (being in position to qualify for) the Big Sky Tournament. We need to keep pushing and keep improving every day.”

Eastern is now 5-15 overall and 3-7 in the league, tied with Portland State, Northern Colorado and Idaho State for eighth in the Big Sky. Eastern is one game out of seventh place (Northern Arizona at 4-6) and two away from fourth (Sacramento State, North Dakota, Southern Utah at 5-5).

Montana State is 6-4 in the Big Sky and 9-9 overall, and is currently in third place in the league standings -- two games behind second-place Weber State (8-2). Earlier this season, EWU lost to UM in Missoula 81-66 and to MSU in Bozeman 70-68 in overtime.

The Bobcats feature the league’s best top team in turnover margin, with a +3.9 average per game to rank 19th in NCAA Division. Montana State has forced an average of 16.2 per game while giving up just 12.3 per outing. The Grizzlies are a prolific shooting team, ranking seventh in free throws (76.5 percent), 13th in 3-point field goals (39.9 percent) and 34th in field goals overall (46.6 percent).

Now that Eastern has found the recipe for success, the key for the second half of the season is keeping it. Hayford has his wish list for the rest of the season.

 “We need to make shots, we need to execute better, we need to play with urgency on the court and we cannot relax,” he said.

Eastern’s 11-point victory over PSU was as complete a victory Eastern has had, with the possible exception of an 82-59 home win over Northern Arizona on Jan. 10. In that game, Eastern had a season-high 18-point lead at intermission, then led by as many as 25 in the second half. The 23-point winning margin was Eastern’s best of the season after winning its previous three games by a collective 12 points -- five, four and three points.

Despite starting two true freshmen and two sophomores, a key to the Portland State game was EWU’s composure. The Eagles had just eight turnovers – equaling their fewest since a season-low four versus Idaho on Dec. 6.

 “I think the Portland State game and the NAU game were very complete games,” he said. “When (Portland State) put the press on us we did a good job of punishing the press, and not letting it get crazy down the stretch.”

 

PDF Link to Fact Book

The complete version of the 2012 EWU men’s basketball fact book may be found at:
http://goeags.com/trads/ewas-factbooks.html

 

More Eagle Basketball Links

Eastern Basketball -- http://goeags.com/sports/m-baskbl/index
Link to Ticket Information: http://goeags.com/newtickets/tickets.html
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

 

Quick Shots

* Eastern’s game versus Montana on Saturday, Feb. 2 will be “Alumni Appreciation and White Out Reese Night,” with the first 1,500 Eagle fans receiving free “Our House” t-shirts courtesy of Northern Quest Casino and Resort. The night also 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.

* Venky Jois already has 47 blocked shots this season to rank second in school history, just four behind the school record of 51 set by Paul Butorac in 2006. Teammate Martin Seiferth has 35 to rank fifth. Jois already ranks ninth on EWU’s career list. With 112 as a team, the Eagles are just 18 blocked shots away from the school record of 130 set in the 2005-06 season.

* Starting senior guard Jeffrey Forbes played in just the final seconds of the game at Southern Utah and only the final seconds of the first half versus Portland State because of a cut that required stitches between the pinkie finger and ring finger of his shooting hand. 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. Forbes has now played 111 games in his career – which ranks sixth in school history and is just eight behind the school record of 119 set by Marc Axton from 2002-05. If he doesn’t miss any more games, Forbes will tie the record versus Northern Colorado on Feb. 28 and break it on Senior Day on March 2 versus North Dakota.

* Thus far, the Eagles have used nine 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 two games with a collective total of 60 starts this season. Currently, Eastern’s starting lineup consists of one senior (Kevin Winford), two sophomores (Parker Kelly, Martin Seiferth) and two true freshmen (Venky Jois, Thomas Reuter).

* Eastern has held its last nine 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 39.7 percent clip (second in the BSC). EWU is now 5-4 when it holds opponents to 43.5 percent or less and 0-11 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 to 34.9 percent in the next game. North Dakota won on Jan. 17, but managed only 36.7 percent shooting against the Eagles. Northern Colorado won by 16 on Jan. 19, but made only 38.3 percent from the field. After Southern Utah made 42.6 percent against EWU, the Eagles held PSU to 39.3 percent shooting.

* True freshman forward Venky Jois from Boronia, Australia, 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 21st in NCAA Division I (with eight through games of Jan. 27). He also leads the league and ranks 33rd nationally in rebounding (9.5), and is 37th in the nation and tops in the Big Sky in blocked shots (2.4 per game). His 47 blocked shots this season already ranks second in school history, just four behind the school record of 51 set by Paul Butorac in 2006. He is also 11th in the league in scoring (13.4) and 10th in field goal percentage (.507). He had 20 points, 13 rebounds, three blocked shots and five assists in a 76-65 win over Portland State as he came two points and a rebound away from his season highs. Against Northern Colorado on Jan. 19, 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. 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. 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.

* 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 954 points in his 111-game Eastern career, needs only 46 points to become the 16th player in school history to hit the 1,000-point mark. Currently sixth in career games played, he could break Marc Axton’s (2002-05) school record of 119 games played. Forbes has averaged 30.1 minutes per game in his Eastern career with 98 starts. He ranks eighth in school history wit­­­h 113 career steals, and is also third in 3-pointers made (164) and fourth in attempts (434). Winford has started 41 of the 106 games he has played (11th-most games played in school history), averaging 18.8 minutes per game. He has made 129-of-385 3-pointers in his career to rank fifth in school history in both categories, with a total of 654 points scored.

* After leading NCAA Division I in 3-pointers made per game through games of Nov. 30, Eastern is now 13th through games of Jan. 27. The Eagles are averaging a league-leading 8.7 makes per game while attempting an average of 25.8.  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 is leading the Big Sky Conference in blocked shots with 112 already for an average of 5.6 per game to rank 19th in NCAA Division I. Individual Eagles are ranked No. 1 and No. 4 in the league, with Venky Jois averaging 2.4 per game to rank 37th in NCAA Division I and Martin Seiferth averaging 1.8 to rank 105th. The Eagles had a school-record 130 in the 2005-06 season (4.3 average per game).

* The Eagles are tied with Southern Utah for first in the Big Sky in offensive rebounds with an average of 11.8 per game. Martin Seiferth has a 2.4 average and Venky Jois is averaging 2.3 to rank fourth and sixth, 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 (164), Kevin Winford is fifth (129) and Collin Chiverton is sixth (117). In attempts, Forbes is fourth (434), Winford (378) is fifth and Chiverton is 10th (297), and Chiverton is also 10th in career 3-point field goal percentage (39.1).

* 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

* Six-foot-10 sophomore Martin Seiferth has made 63.3 percent of his shots from the field to rank second in the Big Sky. Thus far, Seiferth is averaging 7.9 points, 5.1 rebounds (16th in the Big Sky) and 1.8 blocked shots per game (fifth in the Big Sky). His 35 blocked shots already rank as the fifth-most in school history. Most recently, he scored 13 points with six rebounds and four blocked shots in EWU’s 76-65 win over Portland State. 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 eight 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 equaled his career high with 17 points in EWU’s 76-65 win over Portland State on Jan. 28. He made 5-of-8 3-point shots against the Vikings, and is now averaging 9.6 points per game in his last 14 games after scoring just 10 in the first five games he played. He has started eight of the 19 games he has played this season, and is now averaging 7.6 points and 1.0 assists per game, while making 31-of-82 3-point shots for 37.8 percent.

* 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 10.1 for the season. He had a season-best 22 points against Northern Arizona on Jan. 10 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.

* Since becoming eligible in mid-December, Australian point guard Daniel Hill has averaged 1.9 points, 1.7 assists and 1.7 rebounds per game in an average of 15.9 minutes per game (11 total games). 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.

* 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 Eagles played the North Dakota game on Jan. 17 without a pair of senior starters who were injured the day before in Grand Forks in an accident involving one of EWU’s team mini-vans. Senior starting point guard Kevin Winford (concussion) and senior shooting guard Jeffrey Forbes (knee) sat out, and Winford also sat out the Northern Colorado game two days later.

* En route to a season-best 50.0 percent shooting night against Northern Arizona on Jan. 10 in an 82-59 win, Eastern had a season-high 44 points inside the paint and a season-high 20 second-chance points. The Eagles had 17 offensive boards and out-rebounded the Lumberjacks 49-37.

* 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 on Dec. 6, Montana State on Jan. 5 and Sacramento State on Jan. 12 – came after EWU held double-digit second-half advantages. Eastern is now 3-6 when trailing or tied at halftime, and 1-9 when it trails.

* As an illustration of their balance, the Eagles had six double figure scoring performances 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.

* 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.

* Portland State and Eastern are in the third year of a five-sport rivalry cup called “The Dam Cup.” Eastern Washington currently leads the competition, 8-5.  The so-named rivalry refers to the four dams linking Oregon and Washington that one passes on the 339-mile drive from the Portland State campus to the Eastern Washington campus. Located along the Columbia River, they are Bonneville Dam, The Dalles Dam, The John Day Dam and the McNary Dam. The winner of the Dam Cup will possess The Dam Trophy acknowledging the achievement for the following year. Portland State currently possesses the Dam Trophy having won the inaugural Dam Cup in 2010-11 by a 9-8 score, and the 2011-12 Cup by a 15-2 score. The annual football game is worth four points, the women's soccer match is worth one point, each women's volleyball match is worth two points for a total of four points possible, and each men's and women's basketball game is worth two points for a total of four points possible in each sport, The total points possible are 17, which means that to win the cup a school would need to win at least nine points. Here is a listing of the 2012-13 Dam Cup Series games and current point totals: Volleyball - Sept. 17 PSU 3, @ EWU 0 - PSU leads 2-0; Soccer - Sept. 30 @ PSU 4 @ EWU 0 - PSU leads 3-0; Volleyball - Oct. 18 @ PSU 3, EWU 0 - PSU leads 5-0; Football - Nov. 17 EWU 41, @ PSU 34 - PSU leads 5-4; Women's Basketball - Jan. 21 EWU 68, @ PSU 56 - EWU leads 6-5; Men's Basketball - Jan. 28 @ EWU 76, PSU 65; Men's Basketball - Feb. 18 @ PSU; Women's Basketball - Feb. 21 @ EWU.

* 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.

* 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. Montana State Series Notes

* Earlier this season, 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.

* Since Eastern became a member of NCAA Division I in the 1983-84 season, the Eagles are 24-35 against Montana State (includes two MSU forfeits in the 1993-94 season). Since 1983-84, Eastern is 7-23 in Bozeman and 17-12 in Cheney against the Bobcats. EWU trails in the all-time series 31-43 (19-12 in Cheney, 9-28 in Bozeman, 3-3 neutral). A year ago, Eastern swept Montana State. The Eagles 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, then later in the year won in Cheney 69-52.

* Eastern has won 14 of the last 27 after winning just once in the previous 13 games (not counting two MSU forfeits). However, Eastern is just 6-10 against the Bobcats in the last 16 meetings, including losses in Bozeman in seven of the last nine 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.

 
 

EWU vs. Montana Series Notes

* Earlier this season, 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.

* Eastern has lost 11 of the last 13 meetings and 17 of the last 20, including all three meetings a year ago. The lone victories in that 19-game stretch came on Dec. 30, 2006, in Cheney when the Eagles beat the Grizzlies 74-71; Feb. 14, 2010, when the Eagles prevailed 69-68 at Reese Court; and on Feb. 26, 2011, when EWU upset the Grizzlies 59-55 in overtime in Cheney. Eastern’s 2011 victory over Montana helped clinch a postseason berth for the Eagles and, in the process, kept the Grizzlies from clinching at least a share of the league title. Last year’s losses included a 79-71 road loss, a 74-60 home loss and a 74-66 setback in the semifinals of the Big Sky Conference Tournament in Missoula.

* Eastern is 17-45 against the Grizzlies since 1983-84, including a 7-25 record in Missoula, 10-18 in Cheney and 0-2 on neutral courts versus the Grizzlies. Montana leads the series overall 62-38.

* In the 2005-06 season, Eastern lost 73-71 in overtime in the Big Sky Conference Tournament in Flagstaff, Ariz. Eastern trailed by 14 before a late 10-0 run put Eastern back into the game. But Eagle freshman Rodney Stuckey missed a potential game-winning shot at the buzzer to end regulation. Montana then went on a 6-0 run in overtime to end Eastern’s season.

* Prior to the six-game losing streak that Eastern ended on Dec. 30, 2006, Eastern had won 10 of the previous 14 meetings including regular season sweeps three-straight conference seasons from 2001-03. However, the Grizzlies snapped a four-game losing streak to the Eagles when the fifth-seeded Grizzlies upset second-seeded EWU 70-66 in the 2002 Big Sky Conference Tournament championship game in Bozeman, Mont.

* Included in the series history was an 81-75 victory in Missoula to end the 1998-99 season that clinched the sixth and final berth in the Big Sky Conference Tournament for the Eagles. That victory snapped Eastern's eight-game losing streak in Missoula, and a home win in 1998 snapped a 10-game losing streak overall in the series.

* A 77-75 Eagle home loss at the end of the 1999-2000 regular season gave Montana a share of the Big Sky Conference men's basketball title in front of 5,426 fans at Reese Court in Cheney. The Eagles had taken a 12-point lead with 8:06 to play in the second half, but went the next 6:21 without scoring. During Montana's 17-0 run, the Eagles missed 10-straight field goal attempts while the Grizzlies made 6-of-7 shots. The loss was Eastern's first in eight conference home games. Montana made 4-of-6 free throws in the last 23 seconds to clinch the win and hold off Eastern's comeback attempt that included a trio of three-pointers in the last 1:45.

 
 

Records Watch

* Eastern is nearing a pair of blocked shots records. Venky Jois already has 47 blocked shots this season to rank second in school history, just four behind the school record of 51 set by Paul Butorac in 2006. With 112 as a team, the Eagles are just 18 blocked shots away from the school record of 130 set in the 2005-06 season. In addition, Martin Seiferth has 35 blocks to rank fifth on EWU’s single season list, and Jois already ranks ninth on EWU’s career list. Jois equaled the school record of Seiferth with seven blocked shots against Northern Colorado on Jan. 19. Seiferth broke the previous school record of six that had stood for 25 years when he had seven at Cal State Northridge on Nov. 12.

* Senior guard Jeffrey Forbes has played in 111 games to rank sixth in school history, and could break Marc Axton’s (2002-05) school record of 119 games played. . If he doesn’t miss any more games, Forbes will tie the record versus Northern Colorado on Feb. 28 and break it on Senior Day on March 2 versus North Dakota. A 98-game starter, Forbes has averaged 30.1 minutes per game in his Eastern career. He ranks eighth in school history wit­­­h 113 career steals, just four from reaching No. 6. He is also third in 3-pointers made (164) and fourth in attempts (434). He is 20 makes and 65 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 49 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 106 career games to rank 11th 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 129 makes and his 385 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 117 3-pointers rank sixth on EWU’s top 10 career list, and his 301 attempts are 10th and his .389 percentage is currently 10th. In the five seasons he has played since his junior year in high school, teams that Chiverton has played on have won 134 of 183 games for a .732 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

* True freshman Venky Jois had his ninth double-double of the season with 20 points, 13 rebounds, three blocked shots and five assists, and the Eastern Washington University men’s basketball team opened a three-game homestand by defeating Portland State 76-65 Jan. 28 at Reese Court in Cheney, Wash. The Eagles led from start to finish as four Eagles scored in double figures. Sophomore Parker Kelly equaled his career high with 17 points, sophomore Martin Seiferth had 13 points, six rebounds and four blocks, and senior Kevin Winford added 12 points and three assists. A second true freshman, Thomas Reuter, contributed eight points, eight rebounds and three assists. Against Portland State, Eastern led 33-25 at halftime – the seventh time in EWU’s last nine games the Eagles have led at intermission. In the second half, Eastern outscored PSU 43-40. Jois went into the game ranked 21st in NCAA Division I in double-doubles, 33rd in rebounding and 37th in blocked shots, while leading the league in all three categories. He had 14 points, nine rebounds and four assists in the second half alone as he came two points and a rebound away from his season highs. Led by Jois, Eastern made 57 percent of its shots in the second half and had a 19-12 rebounding advantage. Eastern also had only eight turnovers in the game, including just five versus PSU’s full-court pressure in the second half.

* Eastern carved out yet another halftime lead, but saw that fizzle in the second half as Southern Utah registered a 69-55 victory over the Eagles in a Big Sky Conference game Jan. 26 in Cedar City, Utah. Senior Collin Chiverton led the Eagles against Southern Utah with 14 points and three steals, hitting three 3-pointers and 4-of-13 shots overall. True freshman Venky Jois added 11 points, seven rebounds, a pair of blocked shots, two assists and a steal.  But after leading 33-31 at halftime, the Thunderbirds out-scored Eastern 10-2 to begin the second half and took the lead for good. Although the Eagles came up empty as it concluded a three-game road stretch, the Eagles led at halftime two of them – plus its last home game in a loss to Sacramento State on Jan. 12. Senior point guard Kevin Winford, who missed the last two games because of a concussion suffered in the accident, chipped in seven points, as did sophomore Parker Kelly. Senior Jordan Hickert came off the bench to finish with seven points and seven rebounds. The Eagles made only 8-of-27 shots for 30 percent in the second half, including just 3-of-13 from the 3-point stripe. The Thunderbirds made 15-of-28 shots in the second half for 54 percent. Eastern finished at 33 percent shooting in the game, including 25 percent from 3-point range (6-of-24). Eastern was out-rebounded 45-38, but each team had 14 offensive rebounds.

* Read more at: http://goeags.com/sports/m-baskbl/index

 
 

Quoting Coach Jim Hayford

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 Confidence: “Our team is developing confidence, and there is nothing that develops confidence more than a win. (Beating Portland State) was a much-needed win for our team. We are very thankful for that. I am really proud of our team. I believe we can build on this. It showed a lot of character because we were a tired team coming back from Utah.”

On Second Half Versus Portland State: “We have been in all of our games since the Idaho State game (on Dec. 22).  In the last nine games in conference, we have been there at half. At the end of the day our guys showed great determination, and they executed. We shot 57 percent in the second half and we kept our turnovers low. They had an advantage on us on the boards in the first half, but we turned that around and cleaned up the boards in the second half. We did not give them second chance points, and we played a complete half.”

On Overcoming Myriad of Obstacles: “We have to push ourselves through this – it’s a 40-minute game. We have to believe in ourselves. I love our players and they have good character.”

On Southern Utah Loss: “It looked exactly the same as our last three games. Of course the other team is going to up their intensity and we need to do that as well. We have to stick with the gameplan for the whole 40 minutes – especially the first five minutes of the second half. That’s when we have to go to our go-to plays even more.”

On North Dakota Loss, Including 38-18 Advantage by UND in Second Half: “With the adversity we were going through, I thought our guys did really well. We had control of the game in the first half and made it a game that was winnable. In the second half, North Dakota was fired up and we didn’t match their intensity. When you take a couple of punches, you don’t fold – that’s when you get tougher. We have to get our players to a place with their confidence where they know if they work hard enough, good things will come. We did have some players who kept their heads up and kept fighting, and I have to recognize them for that effort.”

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 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.”

 

 
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