Saturday, March 3, 2012

Idaho State @ Eastern Washington: Big Sky Conference Quarterfinals preview

Cliff Ederaine (#42) has been
Mr. All Around down the stretch
photo from

This afternoon at 2pm pacific the Idaho State Bengals will walk into Reese Court in Cheney to take on the Eastern Washington Eagles, just about 90 hours since they were run out of the same court by these same Eagles 77-64.  In the intervening time, two Eagles received recognition on the All Conference team, including first team selection Cliff Colimon (#11).  

You can expect to hear a lot about the Eagles Senior Guard this afternoon Colimon has led the Eagles in scoring in the last 6 conference games averaging 22.5 pts per contest.  Against the Bengals over the last ten days Colimon has been even better averaging 24.5 pts, 4 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 0.5 steals.  Cliff is playing like a senior with one final chance to win some games in the conference tournament.

Keep reading after the break:

Coach Hayford and the Eagles were jazzed up about their game plan for Tuesday’s contest and after watching that game, they should have been.  Coach had the idea of taking the ball tough into the paint over and over, knowing his Eagles could overwhelm them at the post.  The plan worked flawlessly as Idaho State was able to hang with Eastern only until their big men starting getting into foul trouble.  

Expect a similar approach from the Eagles this afternoon as Idaho State simply does not have the personnel to match up with the Eagles in the post.  The inside out style of attack will continue to be the Eagles go to, and so you can expect a lot of 3pt shots which will be primarily set up by penetration into the paint off the dribble or the pass.  In the last meeting the Eagles shot only 36.7% from the field in the first half, and half of their shots were from beyond the arc.  In the second half the Eagles took more close range shots and improved their efficiency to 54.2%.

Colimon isn’t the only Eagle that’s been playing well down the stretch, fellow Senior Laron Griffin (#15) is averaging 14.6 pts, 9.3 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game over the last 3 games.  Cliff Ederaine (#42) has been showing off his all around skills, and the Eagles offense has been running through the Senior Forward over the last three games and is averaging 8.3 pts, 6.3 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 2 blocks and 2 steals during that stretch.  

Collin Chiverton (#24) has been extremely limited during the last three games while battling injuries to his foot and back averaging just 7.6 minutes per game.  Still, he’s shown hustle and toughness when he’s in and contributed 2.3 pts, 2 rebounds and 0.3 steals per game despite his injuries.  If Chiverton can get healthy he can be a dominant player for the Eagles as he has scored 20 pts or more 12 times this year including a season high 26 pts twice, against Seattle University and Cal State Fullerton.

Leading the Eagles from the bench is true Freshman Parker Kelly (#10) who has filled in admirably for the injured Chiverton scoring 9.7 pts and adding 2.3 rebounds and 1 assist per game over the last three.  The steady presence of Junior Guard Jeffrey Forbes (#22) has continued to allow Coach Hayford flexibility in running his offense and defnese and Forbes has contributed a total of 20 pts, 10 rebounds 2 assists and 1 steal over the last 3 games.  Kevin Winford (#23) has seen some of the most significant action of his season over the last three games as he has continued to regain confidence after a long slump brought on by a bizarre injury.  Kevin has contributed 10 pts, 6 steals, 3 rebounds and 2 assists in the last 3 games averaging 14 minutes per contest.

For the Bengals Abner Moreira (#32) is the teams only true big man at 6’9” 225lbs he leads the Bengals in rebounding (206) and blocks (13).  The Bengals have also gotten significant playing time from Jakob Kusmieruk the 7’4” Junior from Poland, but Kusmieruk is mostly a large presence and his athleticism is questionable.  The Bengals used him extensively in relief of Moreira versus the Eagles the last two games averaging 13.5 minutes, 6.5 pts, 1.5 blocks, and 1.5 assists during those games.

Melvin Morgan (#3) was
 brilliant in Pocatello vs EWU
photo from
The Bengals have a strong and relatively deep back court led by Senior Guard Kenny McGowen (#11) who averages 14.2 pts, 2.2 assists and 1.3 rebounds per game for the season.  In two games versus the Eagles, McGowen has been held to 12.5 pts, 1.5 assists and 1.5 rebounds per game wile fouling out of both.  Fellow Senior Guard Chase Grabau (#2) has played against the Eagles in both contests averaging 12 pts, 7 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1 steal.  Junior Guard Melvin Morgan (#3) had one really good game against the Eagles in Pocatello with 18 pts, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals.  Morgan didn’t fair as well in Cheney where he scored 8 pts with 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals and 6 turnovers.  Rounding out the back court is Sophomore Guard Andre’ Hatchett who at 6’4” 185 lbs played like a big man for long stretches of both games versus the Eagles this season.  During those games he averaged 11.5 pts, 8.5 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 block, 1 steal and only 1.5 turnovers.

The winner of this game will advance to the Semi Finals of the Big Sky Conference Tournament and will play in Missoula, MT on Tuesday night.  Their opponent will not be determined until Portland State and Montana State play tonight.  If Portland State wins, then the winner of this match up will take on the regular season champion Montana Grizzlies.  If Montana State wins, then the winner of this match up will take on Weber State.