Friday, January 13, 2012

Eastern Washington Eagles @ Sacramento State Hornets Game in Review

Boy was that a fun game!  I didn’t get to watch it all as I was attending to my wife and battling a bad video stream through parts of the game.  I did get to see enough to offer some analysis and to revisit my preview.

Last night, EWU capitalized on their chance to get back over .500 both in conference and overall and with a win tomorrow they can match their win total from last year.  Collin Chiverton (#24) and Cliff Colimon (#11) were right on cue leading the Eagles with 21 and 17 points respectively.  Colimon, 8 of 9 from the free throw line, helped keep the score close through out, while Chiverton’s fireworks, 6 of 8 from beyond the arc, helped the Eagles surge back into control late in the second half.  

The Eagles came out hot in the first half, quickly jumping out to a 7-0 lead before allowing the Hornets to get on an 18-3 run.  Only the Eagles persistent rebounding and solid efforts from the free throw line kept them in the game.  They went into halftime trailing only 29 to 25 when they rightfully could have been down by double digits.  Ultimately the game didn’t get prettier in the second half as it continued to be a physical slugfest.  Even with 43 personal fouls the ESPN Northwest radio broadcast was indicating that the refs were letting both teams play through almost everything.

With Collin Chiverton still nursing an injured foot, Freshman Parker Kelly (#10) and Junior Kevin Winford (#23) both saw some minutes, but were largely unproductive.  Junior forward Jordan Hickert (#25), a transfer student from Bunbury, Australia, provided a big body on defense, but got into foul trouble.  Overall I came away with the impression that the Eagles were a bit undisciplined in their approach both offensively and defensively.  I expect them to continue to grow in that respect throughout this season and Coach Hayford’s tenure.

The Eagles definitely brought a physical game against a younger Hornets squad and while the edge in free throws was slight (20 of 28 vs 18 of 27), the Eagles ability to convert their chances kept them in the game long enough for their shooters to find the mark and bring home the victory.  They kept the pressure on Sacramento State and didn’t let them get settled into their offense or defense.  They managed to get Dylan Garrity (#5), John Dickson (#32) and Konner Veteto (#41) into foul trouble fairly early which limited their options down the stretch.  Additionally the Eagles started both halves extremely fast, forcing time-outs by Sacramento State within the first minute of both.

At the end it was the offensive brilliance of Chiverton and Colimon that carried the day.  Next up for Sacramento State (0-4, 5-10) is a visit from Idaho State (1-3, 3-13) on Saturday night.  The Eagles (3-2, 9-8) will also be in action Saturday night* as they continue their road trip heading to Greeley, Colorado for a show down with the Northern Colorado Bears (2-2, 5-10).

*Programming note: due to the Denver Broncos playoff game at the New England Patriots the tip off for Saturday’s game has been moved up to 3:05pm pst