Saturday, January 14, 2012

Eastern Washington Eagles @ Northern Colorado Bears January 14, 2012 Game Preview

This afternoon our Eagles (3-2, 9-8) will take on the Northern Colorado Bears (2-2, 5-8) tip off is at 3:05pm pst.  The Eagles look to keep rolling coming off wins over Sacramento State on Thursday and Northern Arizona last week.  A win here will allow the Eagles to take 4 conference wins into a 3 game conference home stand, this should give the Eagles an opportunity for some needed rest as they will have two five day breaks during this stretch.  Up next they’ll go on the road to Seattle for a non-conference showdown with the Seattle University Redhawks.

The Eagles will need big contributions defensively from their big men today as the Bears like to bang the ball in close on offense and take high percentage shots.  Cliff Ederaine (#42), Tremayne Johnson (#20), Laron Griffin (#15) and Jordan Hickert (#25) will need to play stout defensively and avoid foul trouble to keep the Bears under control.  Offensively the Eagles to need to take advantage of free throw opportunities and open looks from beyond the arc.

The Bears record is not great, and they are an inconsistent and young team, but they’ve played a pretty tough schedule so far losing to Marquette, Northern Iowa, Iowa State as well as New Mexico State, all of which have double digit wins already.  Look for the Bears to substitute freely and get solid contributions from a deep bench with 8 players averaging at least 16 minutes per game.  They are coming off a home defeat 86-75 at the hands of Portland State (2-3, 8-9).

The Bears also welcomed back their leading scorer, Paul Garnica (#3) a 6’ Sophomore Guard, from a leg injury on Thursday, but he played an unproductive 18 minutes shooting only 1 of 5 from the field.  If he gets hot watch out for his deep shot, 46% of his shots this year have come from beyond the arc and he’s hitting them at a 50.8% clip.  If its not Paul then Tate Unruh (#15) 6’4” Sophomore Guard, will be taking the shots from range, 72 of his 123 shots this year have been from beyond the arc and he’s made 43% of them.

Ultimately, it seems that the strength of this Bears squad is in the solid contributions of their big men: Mike Proctor (#41) 6’8” Senior Forward / Center, Emmanuel Addo (#24) 6’8” Sophomore Forward / Center and Connor Osborne (#34) 6’9” Sophomore Center, figure to see the most time, but Tim Huskisson (#22) 6’5” Freshman Forward & Brendan Keane (#21) 6’9” Freshman Forward, will fill out the rotation.

Proctor appears to be the senior leadership on this team he leads the team in rebounds (79) and is scoring 8.8 points per game.  Osborne leads the team in offensive rebounds (29) and blocks (9).  Addo is hitting 73% of his free throws and 40% of his 3 point shots while amassing 61 rebounds, 16 assists, 4 steals and 3 blocks.

Both the Bears and the Eagles need this win tonight to keep pace in the Big Sky Conference standings.  The Bears are coming off a tough loss on the home court, so look for them to play hard in an effort to redeem themselves after letting Portland State celebrate in their house.

Last meeting: February 3rd, 2011 Eagles 53 @ Bears 63