Friday, January 30, 2015

EWU Eagle Eye Player of the Week 11 2014-2015

Tyler Harvey, photo from goeags.com
An outstanding home-stand for Eastern Washington has them still just one half game from the conference lead and still in control of their own destiny in the Big Sky Conference.

As Eastern Washington Head Coach Jim Hayford told me this week, "It's really great when we have a team of the week and whoever we select as the player of the week ends up being the Conference player of the week."  This week's decision was a tough one.

Thankfully, the fans have spoken and selected Tyler Harvey as the EWU Eagle Eye Player of the Week for week 11.

Tyler Harvey, stretched his nation leading scoring to 24 points per game with a pair of stellar performances.  His 35 point game against Northern Colorado was nearly even from first to second half.  Tyler consistently shot big shots, got to the free throw line and made the Bears pay 12 of 14  times.  He followed that up with 26 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists in an Eagle Hoops drubbing of North Dakota.

All told, Harvey gave Eastern Head Coach Jim Hayford and his team 77 minutes, 61 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals and 1 block, helping his team to continue their perfect 10-0 season at Reese Court.  All season long Tyler has been light up the scoreboard, but sometimes we lose track of how much he helps his team in other ways, drawing double teams, getting steals and rebounds.  With all of that ball handling, it's pretty impressive that he turned the ball over just 4 times over the week.

It will be a lot of fun to watch Tyler as he continues to help his team win and tries to finish the season as the NCAA's top scorer.

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Thursday, January 29, 2015

EWU Eagle Eye Hoops Podcast episode 4

Thanks for coming back for this week's EWU Eagle Eye Podcast.  In this edition I spoke with Eastern Washington Eagle Head Coach Jim Hayford and the man behind www.bigskybball.com, Jon Reed.

Coach explained a lot about how the team focuses on improvement and explains the critical role played by Assistant Coach David Riley.  Coach gives a big shout out for Big Fred Jorg  who is, "One of the best teammates I've ever coached."

Jon and I covered everything Big Sky, from the current standings, to the projected line up for the Big Sky Conference.  We got into some of the Big Sky's best, Mikh MicKinney and Tyler Harvey.

The full podcast is right below the break!


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

EWU Eagle Eye Player of the Week 11 Nominees

The Eagles swept another week of Big Sky play improving to 6-1 and keeping pace with Sacramento State and Montana for the Conference lead.  Each week I highlight the individual accomplishments of one particular Eagle whose contributions stood out among his team mates.

In the ideal scenario, the fans and readers would tell me which Eagle has earned the nod for #EagleEyePOW so please click the link to see this week's nominees and let me know your choice in the comments, via twitter using #EagleEyePOW, on the Eagle Eye Hoops Facebook page or by email to brian@ewueagleeye.com.


Eastern Washington Basketball Head Coach Jim Hayford has his squad on the cusp of history

This season has already been remarkably successful for the Eastern Washington Men's Basketball program and with at least 11 more games to play, where does this team stack up in school history?


EWU Men's Basketball Historic Win Over Indiana from EWU Athletics on Vimeo.

The Eagles have already matched the win total from last year, in fact they now have as many wins (15) as any Eagle team totaled in the last ten seasons.  Click through to see what else is within reach for this team.


Monday, January 26, 2015

67 point second half powers Eastern to victory over North Dakota 102-80 at Reese Court

Eagle Hoops scored it's 15th victory of the season Saturday afternoon at Reese Court against the nickname-less University of North Dakota 102-80.

In the process Eastern pushed itself to 6th in the nation in scoring (82.6 per game), 9th in the nation in field goal percentage (49.5%) and kept on pace with Big Sky Conference leading Sacramento State.

According to the media, and the casual observer, the story of the game is the Eagle's 67 point second half, but the foundations for the big finish were laid in the first.


Friday, January 23, 2015

Eagles bounce back to remain unbeaten (9-0) at Reese Court with win over Northern Colorado

In a battle of "directional" schools, the Eastern Washington University Eagles rode a dominant first half to victory over the University of Northern Colorado Bears 95-85.

Head Coach Jim Hayford said that he worked his team very hard on defense in the wake of a 1-1 road trip and the injury to Venky Jois.  In the first half hosting the Bears, the 32nd ranked team by scoring per game in the nation, Coach's efforts showed as the Eagles held the Bears to just 27 points off 33.3% shooting from the field.

The Eagles did not forget how to play offense despite the week of defensive focus, they put up 50 first half points by shooting 57.7% from the field and 66.7% from the 3 point line.


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

EWU Eagle Eye Player of the Week: Week 10

Bogdan Bliznyuk; photo from khq.com
Week 10 featured two Big Sky Conference road games, the Eagle's first loss in conference play and the loss to injury of star Forward Venky Jois.

In the void of production caused by the absence of Jois, one Eagle stepped up and delivered in a big time way.


Sunday, January 18, 2015

Eagle Hoops drop their first game of Big Sky Conference Play 90-77 @ Sacramento State

Tyler Harvey; photo from goeags.com
Last week Eastern fell from first place in the Big Sky with a road loss to Sacramento State.

The story of this game can be summed up by a player who was not on the court as much as it is a story about those on it.  Eastern failed to replace the production of injured Venky Jois and a second half run by Sacramento State allowed them to assume the 1/2 game lead in the Big Sky Conference.


Friday, January 16, 2015

Eagles hoops sink the home team PSU Vikings 92-85

7 years and 2 days before last night's game the Eagles won a game at Portland State led by superstar guard Rodney Stuckey with 24 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists and 2 blocks and Paul Butorac with 21 points 1 rebound and 3 assists.

Since then the Eagles have lost 7 times at Portland State and 5 times against the Vikings at Reese Court.  You have to go back two years to find the last time the Eagles beat the Vikings at all.

All season the Eagles have relied on the twin towers of Venky Jois and Tyler Harvey to propel them to a fantastic start (13-4 overall and 4-0 in Big Sky play).  The formula last night got changed in a substantial way.


Thursday, January 15, 2015

EWU gets their first road win in Big Sky Conference hoops over Idaho 89-86

Venky Jois, photo from goeags.com
Last Saturday Eastern Washington scored its first Big Sky Conference win over the University of Idaho 89-86.

The Eagles trailed 41-42 at the half, but shot 50%from the field and out rebounded the Vandals 16-15 to eek out a win in the second.

Neither team played well defensively, but Eastern turned 9 forced turnovers into 19 points while Idaho mustered just 7 points of 7 forced turnovers.


EWU Eagle Eye Player of the Week: Week 9


Week 9 featured just one Eastern Washington Men's Hoops game.  In some ways it was monumental, as the Eagles triumphed over the Vandals for the first time when both teams were playing in the Big Sky Conference.  In other ways it was just the 3rd win in 3 tries to open the Big Sky Conference season.

Tyler Harvey had another special night with 23 points, 6 rebounds and 2 steals, but he wasn't the player of the week.

Venky Jois poured in 16 points and added 6 (!) blocks, 5 rebounds and 3 assists, but his effort did not net him the player of the week honors.

Parker Kelly drained 3 three pointers en route to 11 points and added 3 rebounds, but it was the other Senior Guard that earned the week 9 Eagle Eye Player of the Week.

Drew Brandon looked healthy for the first time in a long time, but more than that he showed why he is a triple double threat every night.  His 11 points, 9 assists, 8 rebounds, 2 steals and just 2 turnovers significantly helped lead the Eagles to an 89-86 victory of the University of Idaho Vandals in Moscow.  Drew doesn't just stuff the stat sheet, he leads the offense and shows tremendous effort and hussle on defense and especially getting to the boards.  Consider that the Eagles scored immediately after 5 of his 8 rebounds netting 10 points.  He was one of 5 Eagles to score in double digits including 4 of 4 free throws in the last 1:38 to ice the victory.
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EWU Eagle Eye Player of the Week: Week 8

EWU Freshman Forward Bogdan Bliznyuk
photo from goeags.com
Week 8 of the 2014-2015 season marked the beginning of Big Sky Conference play.  The Eagles came into the conference schedule among the nation's leaders in scoring, but struggled in rebounding and bench production.  Against Weber State and Idaho State, Bogdan Bliznyuk showed up in a big way, delivering 21 points, 12 rebounds and 4 assists in 35 minutes off the bench helping Eastern jump out to a 2-0 start in Big Sky play while defending their home court.

Against Weber State Bogdan pulled in 8 rebounds to lead all Eagles (Jois and Brandon also had 8 each) in a game that might be better remembered for Tyler Harvey's season high 39 points.  Bogdan's 18 minutes against Weber State were the most he had then played against any DI opponent.  Two days later he gave Coach Jim Hayford 27 minutes against an Idaho State team that refused to let Tyler Harvey beat them.  They pressured every look and held the Eagles to 37% shooting from beyond the arc.  Bliznyuk hit 3 of 4 from 3 point range en route to a career high 17 points and added 4 rebounds and 3 assists.

Sometimes it is very tough to choose the #EWU #EagleEyePOW but in Week 8 Bogdan Bliznyuk made the choice easy.

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Welcome back to EWU Hoops

Good afternoon Eagle Fans!  I spent all of last week and the weekend working with the US Navy in Virginia and Texas, which unfortunately means I need to do some serious posting to catch up before the Eagles game tonight.  Two weeks have gone by and that means I owe you two #EagleEyePOW posts as well as a quick write up of Eastern's first ever Big Sky Conference win over the Idaho Vandals.  As we sit today the Eagles lead the Big Sky with the only unblemished record, but that will be challenged in the next two contests.

I also have another podcast in the works and am still nailing down the scheduling with Jon at bigskybball.com to talk as well, but it looks like we should get something together before next week's games.  So check back often throughout this afternoon and be sure to tune in for tonight's game at Portland State.

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Friday, January 2, 2015

EWU Eagles rally to take down Weber State; open conference play 1-0

Tuesday I had a chance to interview Coach Hayford for the 3rd edition of the EWU Eagle Eye Podcast, during the interview we talked about the tremendous production of Tyler Harvey and Venky Jois.  Coach Hayford told us that they really just need a third scorer on any night to keep things flowing for the other two.

Last night it took the entire team to produce 1/3 of the teams 84 points, Tyler and Venky handled the rest.  The points are just the start, check out this highlight video of Tyler Harvey (video courtesy of David Riley's YouTube page), then click through to read the rest of the recap.