Monday, February 27, 2012

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.