Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Eastern Washington Eagles at Sacramento State Hornets January 12th, 2012 Game Preview

Welcome back Eagle fans!  Today I’m diving into my first game preview of the season.  I can’t wait to watch the game and see how my expectations stand up.  I started out by reading the recaps of the last few games for the Hornets and Eagles and reviewed some of the statistics for each of the teams.  Stats can tell us a lot about players, but sometimes stats are deceiving.  They often don’t tell us about injuries or other things which can affect a players production.

Hopefully as the season goes on these game previews will gain value, perspective and insight, in the meantime I can at least offer some good things to think about before Thursday’s game:

Eastern Washington (2-2 Big Sky, 8-8) @ Sacramento State (0-3 Big Sky, 5-9) January 12, 2012 7:05pm pst.

For the Eagles, this game represents a chance to get back over .500 in conference after ending a two game losing skid by beating up on Northern Arizona last Saturday.  It is also the first stop on a five day, three game road trip that will find them travelling to Sacramento and Colorado before ending their road trip with a non-conference game at the Seattle University Redhawks on January 16th.

Collin Chiverton (#24) and Cliff Colimon (#11) lead the Eagles in scoring with over 15 points each per game.  Chiverton is playing on a wounded foot that limits his playing time.  Saturday it was Kevin Winford (#23) who saw a lot of playing time with Chiverton limited, however despite 23 minutes played Winford produced only 2 points and no assists.  Look for someone else to get a shot Thursday, perhaps Freshman guard Parker Kelly (#10) who has made 13 of 26 field goals, including 7 three pointers, this year in limited playing time.

Sacramento State is four games into a losing streak and at 0-3 in the conference they are already on the ropes.  They are 4 -3 at home and should be desperate for a win and to protect their home court against a rising Eagles squad.  The Hornets are a relatively young team lead by Freshman Dylan Garrity, and Juniors Joe Eberhard and John Dickson.

Garrity (#5) is not having a good year shooting, he’s shooting 28.8% on the year, so don’t look for him to be shooting the lights out.  He’s had a solid year distributing the ball averaging 6.4 assists per game.  He will turn the ball over with 41 so far on the year.  Something which both jumped out at me from his stat lines is that despite his horrific shooting percentage, the Hornets win when he shoots, even if he doesn’t make it.  In wins this year Garrity is averaging 6.6 shots per game at 27.3%, in losses 4.4 shots a game at 30%.  Still he’s a Freshman starting for his team so I expect to see him flash some talent, coupled with some reluctance to take open shots.

Eberhard (#3) is a 6’6” Junior listed as a guard / forward and is hitting 44.4% from beyond the three point line.  Eberhard is one of the Hornets best shooters and is scoring 11.1 points per game this season.  Eberhard is also very competitive on the boards bringing down a team high 6.3 rebounds per game.  His competitiveness seems to show up against better competition as he had his two best games against two of the better teams he’s faced this season.  He managed a double-double against Washington State with 12 rebounds and 16 points and he nearly did it again last week when the Hornets squared off with heavily favored Weber State with 7 rebounds and 15 points.

Dickson (#32) is also a 6’6” Junior, but his stats tell a very different story than those of Joe Eberhard.  Dickson is the teams leading scorer with 14 points per game.  He is also leading the team in blocks (13), steals (11) and personal fouls (37).

Last meeting: January 22, 2011 Sacramento State 57 - 55 EWU