Tuesday, February 28, 2012

EWU Eagle Eye Player of the Week: Laron Griffin (#15)

Laron Griffin (#15) provided a massive
emotional spark for the Eagles
photo from goeags.com
EWU Eagle Eye Player of the Week February 21st to 27th, 2012

Laron Griffin (#15) - @lbuggie15
Senior Forward 6’8” 220lbs

Over the past two games Laron Griffin led his team with a ferocious effort on offense, defense and on the glass.  Its true that Laron has amassed 13 foul outs this year including 6 in a row as well as ten other games with 4 fouls, but Griffin has provided a dominant presence inside that has been all the more noticeable in his absences.  Over the past two games Laron scored 26 pts including a season high 15 pts against Idaho State last week, and collected 16 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 assists.

Griffin’s commitment to attacking the paint resulted in drawing plenty of fouls as Griffin took 18 shots from the free throw line and hit 8 of them.  When the Eagles needed someone to step against Idaho State, Griffin answered the call and scored 6 pts during an 8-2 Eagle run to open the second half.  Griffin’s consistent assault on the Idaho State paint helped the Eagles draw 30 fouls from the Bengals and forcing 3 Bengal players to foul out of the contest.

Griffin at times plays undisciplined, but he has played with heart and fiery determination and the Eagles fed on that in defeating Idaho State and coming up just moments short against Portland State.

All four of the Eagles Seniors were up for consideration this week. Cliff Colimon, Cliff Ederaine and Laron Griffin all received two votes from commenters and twitter followers of the blog. In the end I chose Griffin for the heart he has showed all season long and the fierceness he brings to the Eagles line up each and every night.
Check out the previous EWU Eagle Eye Players of the Week:
February 14th to February 20th, 2012
February 7th to February 13th, 2012
January 31st to February 6th, 2012

EWU Eagle Eye Links for Tuesday Morning

Good Morning Eagles Fans!  Tonight the Eagles will be battling for rights to play the first round of the Big Sky Conference Tournament at Reese Court.  Tip off isn’t until 6:05pm pst, so in order to help pass the time lets take a tour to see what folks are saying about the Eagles on the web.

Stay with us through the jump break:

EWU Eagles host the ISU Bengals in regular season finale

Jeffrey Forbes and the Eagles
will need attack the basket tonight
photo from goeags.com
Tonight at 6:05pm est, the Eagles (7-8, 13-16) will host the Bengals (7-8, 9-19) in a game that is not only the regular season finale for both teams, not only the second meeting between them in 5 days, not only a preview of the first round match up for these teams in the Big Sky Conference tournament, its also the game that will decide which school will get the opportunity to host that first round game.  This game will decide whether or not 6,000 screaming Eagles faithful will be there to cheer their hearts out as the Eagles look for their first win in the Big Sky Conference tournament since Rodney Stuckey’s 38 points led the Eagles to an 81-75 victory over the Portland Stat Vikings in March 2006.

Stay with me after the jump:

Monday, February 27, 2012

EWU Eagle Eye Player of the Week Candidates

Tremayne Johnson (#20) &
Cliff Colimon (#11) teamed up
and both deserve consideration
photo from goeags.com
Ok Eagle’s Fans, its time to consider and select your EWU Eagle Eye Player of the Week for February 21st to February 27th, 2012.  Here are the candidates I think best helped their team compete in victory over the Bengals and close defeat to the Vikings:

Keep reading after the jump:

EWU Eagles lose another close one to Portland State 69-64

Tremayne Johnson (#20)
photo from goeags.com
The Eagles (7-8, 13-16) came into the game looking to avenge the overtime defeat they suffered on January 21st, 2012 when Portland State (9-6, 15-13) came to Cheney.  In both games the Eagles lost by a combined margin of 7 points and in both games the Vikings made 27 more free throws than the Eagles.  Defensively the Eagles had tremendous trouble stopping Chehales Tapscott (combined 11 of 19 free throws), Charles Odum (combined 20 of 26 free throws) and Lateef McMullan (combined 12 of 15 free throws) without sending them to the foul line.

Keep reading after the jump!

EWU Eagle Eye Links for Monday Morning

Good Morning Eagles fans and happy Monday.  It was a very busy weekend for me, between Navy Reserve drill, my refrigerator breaking down and of course watching the Eagles @ Portland State on Saturday so the blog ended up on the back seat just a bit, but don’t worry, I’ll have a game review up tonight and of course we’ll get into our EWU Eagle Eye Player of the week before tomorrow nights game against Idaho State.  In the meantime, here’s a brief look around the web for Eagles news and stories to get your through your Monday.

Melvin Morgan scored 18pts
vs EWU photo from ISUBengals.com
First we’ll take a stop at bigskybball.com where Jon offers an up close and personal recap of the Weber State @ Northern Colorado game from Saturday night.  Jon also passed along some personal news regarding the passing of his grandmother.  Please keep Jon and his family in your thoughts as you watch the Eagles prepare for the Big Sky Conference tournament and remember that athletics and sports can be a therapeutic and healing escape for a couple hours from life’s challenges.

Continued after the break:

EWU Eagles clinch a post season bid with a win over Idaho State 85-78

Laron Griffin's 7 rebounds led all Eagles
in their Wednesday victory
photo from goeags.com
Many of the Eagles games this season have found them trailing much of the first half, battling back in the second and generally hanging around with the other team not allowing them to pull away.  On Thursday night in Pocatello, Eastern got to play on the other side.  Parker Kelly’s (#10) 4th three point shot of the first half at about 2 minutes to go gave the Eagles the lead 38-36.  The Eagles would not relinquish that lead for the rest of the game, but Idaho State didn’t give up, didn’t let the Eagles pull away or get comfortable.  With less than a minute remaining the Bengals had trimmed Eastern’s lead to 2 points at 76-74, but over the final 41 seconds the Eagles would hit 9 out of 10 free throw attempts, including 5 of 6 by Tremayne Johnson (#20), to finally seal the win.

The Eagles opened the first half with a long range assault knocking down nine 3’s in 21 attempts including 4 of 5 from Kelly.  Kelly would finish the game with a season high 34 minutes, as well as matching his season high with 17 pts.  Kelly added 3 rebounds and an assist going 5 of 8 from the field including 5 of 7 from beyond the arc.  Laron Griffin (#15) had a very solid game before fouling out, for the twelfth time this season.  Griffin scored 6 of his 15 pts during an Eagles 8-2 run coming out in the second half.  Griffin added 7 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal to his 15 pts.  Cliff Colimon (#11) did not start the game and did not finish the game as he joined Griffin and Kevin Winford (#23) in fouling out early.  In between, Colimon played 36 minutes and racked up 21 pts, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal and 6 turn overs.  Cliff Ederaine (#42) played 30 solid minutes, adding 7 pts, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 blocks and 1 steal while committing only one turnover and 3 personal fouls.  Jeffrey Forbes (#22) added 13 points, 3 rebounds and an assist, Tremayne Johnson (#20) scored 7 points and added 5 rebounds.

The Bengals also had three players foul out in a game that featured 55 called fouls.  Melvin Morgan (#3) led the Bengals with 18 pts and added 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals.  Andre’ Hatchett (#15) scored 17 pts and added 9 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal and 1 block.  Kenny McGowen (#11) was held to just 1 of 5 from beyond the arc as he scored 12pts with 2 assists and 1 steal before fouling out.  Abner Moreira (#32) scored 10 pts on 5 of 6 from the field and added 4 rebounds before fouling out as well.  Chase Grabau (#2) shot a perfect 4 of 4 on the night including a 3pt shot to finish with 9 pts, 5 rebounds 3 assists and 1 steal before he too fouled out.

The win, combined with a loss by Northern Colorado (5-10, 9-18) clinched a berth in the Big Sky Conference tournament for the Eagles (7-7, 13-15).  Idaho State (7-7, 9-18) had already clinched a tournament bid.  Following Saturday’s games in which both teams lost, the Bengals will head to Eastern Washington on Tuesday in a game that will decide who hosts the first round tournament game between these teams next Saturday.

Friday, February 24, 2012

EWU Eagle Links for Friday Morning

Happy Friday Eagles Fans!  Big win for the Eagles last night and an early morning for me out here in Texas, but that’s no reason not to take a quick tour of the web to revel in the Eagles victory:

First stop, KPVI.com where the Pocatello affiliate of NBC has posted this recap, from Steve Schaak of ISU Media Relations, of last nights action, “That is a really talented team,” Idaho State Interim Head Coach Deane Martin said.

Espnnorthwest.com has Ben Kaplan’s quick recap up, “Tremayne Johnson scored five of his seven points on the night during the final 33 seconds.

The guys over at 700espn.com work pretty hard on keeping us updated on local sports and yesterday they included a link to our own blog here: http://t.co/ymEyeyJ4

Be sure also to head over to 700espn.wordpress.com for the highlights and audio of Coach Hayford’s postgame interview with Dennis Patchin.

Jason Enes of the Idaho State Journal points out that the Bengals “fouled up their chances to beat the Eagles.”

Thursday, February 23, 2012

EWU Eagle Links for Thursday Afternoon

EWU Eagle links for Thursday Afternoon

Welcome to another tour in our near daily quest to find everything Eagles on the web.

We'll start off checking out Jon at bigskybball.com who offers predictions for all of tonight's Big Sky Action here and here.  He seems to think ISU will beat the Eagles in a close one 72-70.

Definitely need to head over to ewureview.com to get their game preview, and be sure to get ready for the twitter conversation with their StatSmack, including my favorite, “Eastern Washington can actually jump, with more rebounds (34.0 per game vs 30.5 per game) than Idaho State this season.”

Head over to the Spokesman Review for a quick glimpse at the outlook for the Eagles, “You want to know Big Sky playoff scenarios?  Sorry there’s no app for that...  also be sure to check out Jim Allen’s blog post regarding a difficult travel schedule for the Eagles.

Frank McNeilly of The Easterner published this notice saying that the Eastern’s film students are holding open casting calls, “[the call] is for our second project for this quarter,” said junior student film director Logan Stoodley.

Troy Machir of beyondthearc.nbcsports.com offers this review / poll of which NCAA DI basketball stars should be considered the one go to guy for a last minute buzzer beater to win. 

The Eagles wll have their hands full
Tonight and next week vs the Bengals
photo from goeags.com
Who should it be on the Eagles squad?  I’d say it’d be tough to choose between Chiverton, Colimon and Kelly.  Kelly has made a few huge shots with the clock draining away late in games recently, Chiverton is among the nation’s leaders in hitting 3pt shots; but of course Colimon’s poise, leadership and determination are so important to this team.  Maybe we should let the EWU Eagle Eye Player of the Week decide?

Of course don’t forget to check out our preview of tonight’s matchup which could go along way towards deciding the Eagles post season fate.

Game Preview: EWU Eagles at ISU Bengals 2/23/2012

Tremayne Johnson (#20) needs to show
the same effort and focus as he did
in the second half against UC Irvine
photo from goeags.com
Tonight the 5th place Eastern Washington Eagles (6-7, 12-15) will be in Pocatello, ID to take on the 4th place Idaho State Bengals (7-6, 9-17).  Tip off is at 6:05pm pst Both teams need every conference win they can get in this final stretch.  The Eagles are still looking to lock up one of 6 spots in the Big Sky Conference tournament and can potentially finish as high as 3rd place in the standings which would allow them to host their opening round at Reese Court.  According to the Big Sky Conference website, the Bengals, along with Weber State and Montana, have already clinched a spot in the post season tournament however the Bengals could finish as high as 3rd or as low as 6th.  The Bengals need to finish as high as they can in order to secure a first round home game.

Both teams also enter the contest having lost 3 of their last 4 games including 2 of 3 in the conference.  As covered previously, the Eagles fell short against UC Irvine on Saturday while the Bengals also fell short, although in a more spectacular finish, to the Pacific Tigers.

EWU Eagle Eye Player of the Week, Cliff Colimon (#11).  Want to know how the Eagles fared in a given game, just look at Colimon’s stats.  In the Eagles 12 wins Cliff has averaged 16.7 points, 6.1 assists, 4 rebounds and 3.1 turnovers while shooting 43% from the field, including 41% from beyond the arc.  In the Eagles 15 losses Cliff averaged 14 pts, 4.2 assists, 3.6 rebounds and 3.3 turnovers while shooting 34.9% from the field and 34.1% from beyond the arc.

The Eagles will also look to their senior forwards to help them start and finish strong.  Cliff Ederaine (#42) is the Eagles 3rd leading scorer (10.8), leads the team in rebounds (7.7) and blocks (1.2).  Laron Griffin (#15) scores 7.1 pts per game, leads the team in offensive rebounds (2.9) is second in overall rebounds (6.3) and would probably be do even more if he could stay on the court.  Griffin has fouled out an astonishing 11 times this season and finished with 4 fouls in ten other games.  Tremayne Johnson (#20) is the third senior forward in the rotation, but showed last week that he too can take over a game with 11 pts, 3 rebounds 1 steal and 1 block all in the second half against UC Irvine.  Johnson averages 6.9 pts, 4.3 rebounds, 0.8 steals and 0.7 blocks in 19 minutes per contest.

Collin Chiverton (#24) a junior forward is the teams leading scorer with 16.1 pts in just 24 minutes per game.  Off the bench watch out for Parker Kelly (#10) the true freshman walk on who has gotten hot of late averaging 9.8 pts including 2.2 three pointers in 20 minutes a contest.

For the Bengals, Senior Guard Kenny McGowen (#11) is their leading scorer (13.7), Senior Guard Chase Grabau (#2) adds 12.8 pts, 5 rebounds and 3.2 assists and Junior Guard Melivin Morgan (#3) scores 11.9 pts and dishes 2.7 assists per contest. 6’9” 220lb Senior Forward Abner Moreira out of Sao Paulo, Brazil is the teams leading rebounder (7.2) and adds 6.1 pts, 1 steal and 0.5 blocks per game.  These four players average 28.9 minutes per game or more.  Among the rest of the team only Sophomore Guard Andre’ Hatchett (#15) averages more than 16 minutes per game (25.8).  Hatchett averages 7 pts 4 rebounds and 1 assist.

Eastern Washington will travel to Portland State (7-6, 13-13) on Saturday before meeting the Bengals (again) in the final regular season game for both teams at Reese Court in Cheney on February 28th.  The Bengals will host Sacramento State (4-10, 9-27) on Saturday.

Last meeting: February 5th, 2011 Eagles won 69-67 in Cheney, just a week after beating Idaho State in Pocatello 83 -70.

EWU Eagle Eye Player of the Week: Cliff Collimon (#11)

Cliff Colimon (#11) helped will his team to victory
with 22 pts, 9 rebounds and 9 assists
photo from goeags.com
EWU Eagle Eye Player of the Week February 14th to 20th, 2012

Cliff Colimon (#11) - @cliff2smooth
Senior Guard 6’0” 170 lbs

Before last week it had been 12 years since a Big Sky Conference player managed a triple-double.  Montana’s Kareem Jamar managed that feat with 21 pts, 11 rebounds and 11 assists and you can find his award write up here.  Why do I point this out in a write up on the EWU Eagle Eye Player of the Week?  Two reasons; first I want to draw your attention to the fact that Cliff heads the list of those also considered for the award and second because Colimon very nearly pulled off a triple-double of his own.

Colimon’s 22 pts, 9 rebounds, 9 assists and 1 steal came with only 4 turnovers and 1 personal foul during the Eagles epic come back win against Northern Colorado.  Cliff did not just lead the eagles in scoring, rebounds and assists, he led everyone on the court that day.  His 8 of 11 free throws helped the Eagles capitalize on a rare opportunity in which they shot and made more free throws that their opponent (20 of 27 to 12 of 17).  Colimon recorded his final 3 assists with less than 2 and half minutes remaining and the Eagles trailing in a win they had to have.  His unselfish play set the stage for 3 epic three point shots, two from Parker Kelly (#10) and one from Collin Chiverton (#24), and ultimately an Eagles win.

Colimon followed up his stellar Wednesday performance with a solid effort against the UC Irvine Anteaters in Saturday’s Sears BracketBuster match up.  13pts, 4 assists, 3 rebounds and 1 steal were not enough to put the Eagles over the top, but his contributions and leadership had his team in position to seize victory in the final minutes of that match up.

Previous EWU Eagle Eye Players of the Week:
February 7th to February 13th, 2012
January 31st to February 6th, 2012

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

EWU Eagle Links for Tuesday Morning

Coach Hayford hopes to see more
high effort defense down the stretch
photo from goeags.com
Good Morning Eagle Fans!  Of course I’ll start with my obligatory plea to all of you to head over to our community links page and share what you’ve been reading: http://bit.ly/y1T5Uf.  While we are waiting for that, lets take a laser-sighted, light-speed tour of the web on a light news day for Eagles Basketball:

goeags.com looks ahead to the final three games of the season and the Eagles hopes for a berth in the Big Sky Conference tournament.  “I know that if we win all three of those games we will be in a very good position,” said Head Coach Jim Hayford. “If we win two of those games we will be in the postseason and if we win one of the three we will probably still be in the playoffs.”

Troy Machir of beyondthearc.nbcsports.com takes us on a tour of the broader NCAA D1 basketball landscape including a humorous look at one of the other D1 programs in Eastern Washington, “- This is hilarious. Washington State’s Reggie Moore is a world-class starer.”

ewureview.com has their stats laden recap posted, along with the always worth a glance StatSmack, “At least you keep showing up. Eastern Washington has an average margin of victory of 15 over UC Irvine in 3 wins since 1986.”

Of course, please do read my game review of Saturday’s BracketBuster matchup and when you’re done with that go back and re-read the recap of Wednesday nights thrilling comeback win.  

All read up on last week’s Eagles games?  Good now its time to tell me who is this week’s EWU Eagle Eye Player of the Week

EWU Eagle Eye Player of the Week: Candidates please!

Ok Eagles Fans, its time to choose our EWU Eagle Eye Player of the Week for February 14th to Ferburay 20th, 2012.  The Eagles played two games this week, a thrilling come from way way behind win against Northern Colorado and of course Saturday’s snatching of defeat from the jaws of victory at UC Irvine.  Below is the list of the Eagles top performers in those two games and their stats.  Please vote for your favorite in the comments section!

Cliff Colimon (#11); 35 pts, 13 rebounds, 12 assists and 2 steals, including his near triple-double of 22 pts 9 assists and 9 rebounds versus Northern Colorado.

Collin Chiverton (#24); 39 pts, 5 rebounds and 2 blocks, a true turnaround from the previous dreadful 3 game stretch in which he averaged 6.7 pts and 1.3 rebounds a contest.

Tremayne Johnson (#20); 13 pts, 6 rebounds and 1 steal, his 11 pt second half against UC Irvine kept the Eagles hopes alive.  The team scored a total of 29 pts in that second half.

Parker Kelly (#10); 19 pts, 7 rebounds, 4 steals and 1 assist.  Kelly led the team (along with Tremayne) in rebounds and steals against UC Irvine.

EWU Eagles @ UC Irvine Anteaters Game Review: Sears BracketBuster match up

Good Morning Eagles fans, first let me apologize for taking 4 days to get this write up done.  This game was very challenging to review in part because I missed about nine minutes of the action altogether while battling with my computer trying to get a working video feed, but mostly because it is a game that in some ways defies standard analysis.  The Eagles dominated many aspects of the game; turnovers (9-23), second chance points (20-13), bench points (21-19), free throws (21 of 27 to 12 of 25), but these were also some of the things that failed the Eagles in the waning moments.

The Eagles, inconsistent and exciting, are still a team
no one confidently wants to face in the Big Sky Tournament
photo from goeags.com
The Eagles went 1-4 from the free throw line, 1-2 from Collin Chiverton (#24) and 0-2 from Cliff Colimon (#11)  in the final two minutes and Tremayne Johnson (#20) committed the final turnover with about 15 seconds remaining and the Eagles trailing by 3 (76-73).  If you assume the Eagles make those free throws and get two points out of the possession Tremayne gave away, then it accounts for 5 points for the Eagles and more importantly would have drastically changed the dynamics of the final moments.  Instead of being down 4 with less than 15 seconds, it would have been tied.

Coach Hayford pointed to the 23 turnovers by the Anteaters in saying that the team played well defensively.  Since I couldn’t see the game I can’t say for sure that their defense was consistently leaving their shooters too open, however that is what their gaudy shooting percentage indicates (61.7%).  UC Irvine is shooting 41.5% on the year.

Things looked up in the opening half as the Eagles finally started quickly, jumping out to leads of 8-5, 13-8 and 18-13 before taking a 44-42 lead into the half.  Mistakes, missed opportunities and Laron Griffin (#15)’s 11th foul out of the year crippled the Eagles in the second half.  The Eagles shot 44.8% from the field in the first half and a dismal 25.7% in the second.  

For the Eagles (6-7 Big Sky, 12-15), Chiverton led all scorers with 20 pts and added 4 rebounds; Colimon had 13 pts, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal and 5 turnovers; Cliff Ederaine (#42) had 11 pts, 2 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 block, Johnson had 11 pts (all in the second half) 5 rebounds and 1 steal; Parker Kelly (#10) scored 10 points and added 5 rebounds and 3 steals; Griffin finished with 8 pts and 4 rebounds.

Chris McNealy led all players with 7 ast
and was second in scoring with 15
photo from ucirvinesports.com
For the Anteaters (5-8 Big West, 10-17) Mike Best (#33) had 12 pts, 6 rebounds, 4 blocks and 2 assists in 15 minutes; Chris McNealy (#5) had 15 pts and 7 assists, Michael Wilder (#23) and Daman Starring (#22) both added 13 pts.

Up next, both teams return to conference play looking to improve their seeding as they head towards their respective post season tournaments.  The Eagles travel to Pocatello, ID to take on the 4th place Bengals of Idaho State (7-6 Big Sky, 9-16) on Thursday night.  The Anteaters will host the Matadors of Cal-State Northridge (5-8 Big West, 10-17) on Saturday night.

Monday, February 20, 2012

EWU Eagle Eye Links for Monday Morning

Melissa Williams (#42) has started every
game as freshman photo by Aaron Malmoe
of The Easterner
Good Morning Eagle Fans!  Take a moment to share any must reads with us at our community links page here: http://bit.ly/y1T5Uf.  Now let’s get to our tour of the web:

It was a long Sunday following another schizophrenic Saturday for the Eagles with a 78-73 loss in their Sears BracketBuster match up with UC Irvine.  There is plenty to read out there on the game, but we’ll start out with some other Eagles and Basketball news.

Al Stover of the Easterner offers a look at Melissa Williams who as a Freshman this year has started every game for the Eagles, “You got to have the right kind of head on your shoulders,” Head Coach Wendy Schuller said. “She’s been a typical freshman in a lot of ways. Certain things have taken longer for her to absorb. A lot of other things she naturally did. We thought she was a perfect compliment to the other players.”

Kyle Franko of the Easterner offers his recap of the Eagles victory over Northern Colorado, “We felt in the first half and the first segment of the second half that they were getting to run their plays,” Hayford said. “We asked our guys to dial up the pressure. ‘Impose your will on them.’

Brian Lynn of Eastern 24/7 give us this profile of the Eagles Theatre program which recently won an award at the Kennedy Center Festival for their portrayal of Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried.  

Tremayne Johnson had a big 2nd half
vs UC Irvine, photo from goeags.com
goeags.com has their recap of the game up, but it’s Coach Hayford who truly best explains the result in decrying a 34% shooting night for the Eagles, “Until we missed those late free throws, we had a great shooting night from the line,” said Hayford. “But you have to make shots from the field and we didn’t do it. We are going to have to do a lot better than this. Getting the ball in the basket is the object of the game.

Also on goeags.com the EWU Indoor Track and Field team had two more players qualify at the last chance meet in Idaho.

Jon at bigskybball.com offers a brief run down of all the Big Sky Sears BracketBusters games, “When you compare the shooting difference to the point difference, it is obviously that EWU dominated a lot of phases of the game. Alas, it was not enough, as EWU falls to 12-15 on the year.”

Troy Machir at www.ballinisahabit.net offers his weekend recap of amazing fun and otherwise POSTERIZED slam dunks of the weekend, including some Video Clips for your viewing pleasure.

Rob Dauster at www.ballinisahabit.net offers some good advice to College athletes regarding twitter, “Stop cussing. Don't tweet about drinking or smoking weed. Keep the tweets about girls respectful. And, most importantly, only say positive stuff about your team and your teammates.”  Rob also hints about upcoming an announcement for their blog and recommends heading over to beyondthearc.nbcsports.com to find more of their daily content.

Lastly, head over to coachsclipboard.net for a breakdown of a simple version of the Hi-Lo offense that seems to give the Eagles fits defensively.

Ok one more thing to get you through, check out this Buzzer beater shot in Idaho State's loss to Pacific:

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Sears BracketBuster: EWU Eagles @ UC Irvine Halftime Report

Although I missed the first 9 minutes of the game trying to get a video feed, it seems that the Eagles came out , if not hot, at least competitive.  Largely the Eagles did this on the back of their leading scorer Collin Chiverton (#24) who lead the way with 16 pts in the half.  Cliff Colimon (#11) added 11 points for the Eagles. As expected the Anteaters and the Eagles were mostly happy to bomb away from long distance with five 3 pointers a piece in the first half.  

Kevin Winford (#23) got to see some action and drew two charges on defense to create turnovers.  He is well on his way to his second solid game off the bench in a row.  As expected UC Irvine did a great job rebounding in the first half.  Griffin has 3 fouls already, Colimon has 2, the Eagles will need both of those guys to play clean the rest of the way.

Coach Hayford has to feel good about going into the half with a lead for the first time since January 28th vs Montana State.  The Eagles lead 44-42 at the half.

Sears BracketBuster Game Preview - EWU Eagles @ UC Irvine Anteaters

Eagles huddle up late in the second as the overtook
Norhern Colorado for the win on Wednesday
photo from goeags.com
Tonight the Eastern Washington Eagles (6-7 Big Sky, 12-14) will take on the University of California - Irvine Anteaters (5-6 Big West, 9-17) in a non-conference showdown as part of the Sears BracketBuster series.  Tip off is at 7pm pst.

The Eagles are embroiled in a closely contested race for the Big Sky Conference tourney and depending on how they do in the final 3 conference games, could end up as high as 3rd or as low as 8th in the conference with only the top 6 teams advancing into the tournament.  The Anteaters will advance to post season play no matter how they finish because the Big West Conference tournament invites all conference schools.  However their seeding could also be dramatically affected by how they finish in the final 3 games of their conference schedule as they are currently in 7th place and are just 1 game out of 4th place.

Both teams need a win tonight, for Eastern its about maintaining momentum after coming back from a 17 point second half deficit on Wednesday night to beat conference rival the UNC Bears.  The Anteaters are desperate to halt a 4 game losing streak in which they played 4 of the top five teams in the Big West standings.

Check out the keys to the game after the jump:

Sears BracketBusters 101: What's in it for the EWU Eagles @ the UC Irvine Anteaters

What is the Sears BracketBuster?  The question has come up for me a few times in the last couple weeks and unfortunately now is the first time I’ve really had to sit down and prepare a post to answer it.  First let me give you the answer from the proverbial horses mouth (http://espnbracketbusters.com/site/about)

“The Sears BracketBusters concept, named because of the success of participating teams from these conferences in NCAA Championship play through the years, provides programs with an opportunity to play top non-conference opponents roughly three weeks before Selection Sunday. Each conference selects its participating teams before the season, and the matchups for the event are determined by ESPN in conjunction with the conferences. Sears BracketBusters X is an example of ESPN college basketball franchise programming.”

Not very helpful?  Yeah I didn’t think so either.  In a nutshell the Sears BracketBuster series features dozens of non-conference match-ups scheduled for late in the season.  The hope is that the result will be match-ups between rising mid-major programs, highly ranked programs or programs featuring superstar student athletes that will draw a wide television audience and hopefully impact the NCAA tournament field.

EWU Head Coach Jim Hayford
knows wins are never meaningless
photo from goeags.com
Eastern Washington vs UC Irvine this year offers none of those things and therefore will not be televised.  What this match up does do for both teams is provide an opportunity to play an additional game and as EWU Head Coach Jim Hayford put it, “We’re building a program, so we need to learn how to win, which is why we’re going down to play a winning team.”  The opportunity to travel to a non-conference opponent in a critical stretch of the conference season may not impact the conference standings, but it does represent a free chance to garner experience winning on the road against an unfamiliar opponent.  Which is essentially what teams must do to succeed in post season play.

So while a victory here won’t give either team a berth in the NCAA Tournament this year, it can like all victories help to develop winning habits, culture and provide a taste of a bigger stage.