Monday, March 5, 2012

EWU Eagles advance to Big Sky Conference Semi Finals by beating Idaho State 81-75

Eagles mascot Swoop and the rest
of EWU are doing backflips
after Saturday's win
photo from goeags.com
On Saturday afternoon the Eagles (8-8, 15-16) hosted the Idaho State Bengals (7-9, 9-21) at Reese Court in a showdown that represented the third meeting of these two teams in ten days.  On Tuesday night it was the seniors who gave the Eagles a decisive edge.  Saturday afternoon, however, belonged to Junior Guard Jeffrey Forbes (#22) whose season high 21 points, was the most he’s scored against a division one opponent since he scored 24 against University of Texas-Arlington on November 21st, 2009.

Jeffrey scored his 21 points by going 5 of 6 from beyond the arc and 8 of 12 overall, he also added 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals with no turnovers while playing a team leading 39 minutes in the game.  The Bengals shifted their offensive strategy from their previous match ups focusing on the pick and roll plays which allowed them to create good separation against an Eagles man defense that was playing extremely tight.

Continued after the break:


The Bengals stayed in the game on the strength of their back court with Senior Guard Kenny McGowen (#11) leading all scores with 28 pts, 5 steals, 3 rebounds and 1 assist and Junior Guard Melvin Morgan (#3) adding 22 pts, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals and one block off.  Morgan was 8 of 16 shooting from the field including 6 of 8 from beyond the arc.  The aerial assault of the Bengals could not stand up to an Eagles squad that was among the NCAA leaders in 3 point shooting (5th in the nation with 280 with games played through March 4th).


Jeffrey Forbes (#22) was on fire
Saturday afternoon
photo from goeags.com
To compliment Forbes, the Eagles Senior Guard Cliff Colimon (#11) continued his impressive streak leading the Eagles with 22 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals.  All Laron Griffin (#15) did in his final game at Reese Court was score a career high 21 pts, and added in 11 rebounds for his 2nd double-double of the week, 3rd of the season and 6th in his career.  Griffin finished with 21 pts, 11 rebounds, 1 block and only 1 personal foul which allowed him to play a career high 38 minutes.

It was a disappointing night for most of the Eagles’ bench players as they managed only 9 points in 44 minutes.  Jordan Hickert (#25) contributed 12 solid minutes with 3 pts, 6 rebounds and 1 block, while Parker Kelly (#10) scored two points in the closing second to ice the victory.

Cliff Ederaine (#42) again ran portions of the Eagles offense finishing with 4 pts, 4 assists, 4 rebounds and 1 steal.  Collin Chiverton (#24) added 5 pts, 2 rebounds and 1 steal in 16 minutes has he continues to come back from a back injury sustained against Idaho State just ten days before Saturday’s quarterfinal match up.  Overall the Eagles shot 52.8% from the field including 8 of 17 from three point range.

Idaho State’s season is done and they will continue their quest for a full time head coach while the Eagles are preparing for the Big Sky Conference Tournament Semi-finals.  Thanks to Portland State (10-6, 17-13) demolishing Montana State (7-9, 12-17) on Saturday night by a score of 75-53, the Eagles will take on regular season champion and tournament host University of Montana Grizzlies (15-1, 23-6) on Tuesday night, tip off is at 7pm pacific.  The Eagles beat the Bengals in each of three tries this season, but they’d best hope that the adage about it being difficult to beat the same team three times in a year is true.  The Eagles were swept by all three other teams remaining in the Big Sky Conference Tournament.