Tuesday, February 21, 2012

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.