Saturday, January 28, 2012

Preview: MSU Bobcats @ EWU Eagles January 28, 2012

Tonight the Eagles (3-5, 9-12) take on the Bobcats (6-2, 11-8) in what has become nearly a must win game for the Eagles as they look to get back into the win column and start a push for the Big Sky Conference tournament.  Tip off is at 6:05 pm pst.

The Eagles come into the match up on the heels of a four game losing streak that has the team reeling.  Foul trouble, inconsistent shooting and generally streaky play has the Eagles sitting in 6th place in the conference halfway through the conference schedule.  Senior Guard Cliff Colimon (#11) has gone just 2 of 19 from the three point line in the last four games and needs to get this corrected if the Eagles are going to stop this streak.  Junior Guard Jeffrey Forbes (#22) is coming off an injury to his hand suffered during the Eagles loss to Seattle that has limited him to just 23 minutes combined in the last two games.

The Bobcats enter the contest on a 4 game winning streak.  After opening conference play with a loss to the Eagles in Bozeman, but have gone 6-1 since then including a home and home sweep of Portland State (4-4, 10-10).  The Bobcats feature a balanced attack with four players averaging 8.7 to 12.1 points per game and play tough defense with 137 steals and 74 blocks as a team on the year.

Thursday’s game against the Vikings highlighted these as the Bobcats got strong performances from Junior Guard Xavier Blount (#23), 6’4” 205lbs (15 pts, 3 reb, 3 ast), Sophomore Forward Shawn Reid (#20), 6’5” 195lbs (15 pts, 8 reb, 3 ast), and Senior Guard Rod Singleton (#5), 5’10” 185lbs (13 pts, 3 reb, 3 ast).

Freshman Parker Kelly and the Eagles
bench need to step up down the stretch
The Eagles are lead by a trio of upper classmen, Junior Forward Collin Chiverton (#24) 17.5 pts per game, Senior Forward Cliff Ederaine (#42) 10.6 pts and 7.5 reb per game and Senior Guard Cliff Colimon (#11) 14.6 and 5.2 ast per game.  The Eagles need to start seeing a bigger contribution from their bench if they want to make a serious run down the stretch of Big Sky Conference play.  Keep an eye on Junior Forward Jordan Hickert (#25), 18 pts 7 reb and 3 ast in the last four games and Freshman Guard Parker Kelly (#10), 22pts and 4 reb in the last four games.

Up next for the Eagles is a Thursday night trip to Northern Arizona (1-7, 5-15).  Montana State will host the Bengals (4-4, 6-14) on Thursday night.

Last meeting: Eagles 82 @ Bobcats 66 on December 28th, 2010.