GAME NOTES: A pair of struggling west coast squads meet on Monday night, as the UC Davis Aggies play host to the Eastern Washington Eagles.
EWU's season started off on the wrong foot, as it dropped each of its first four contests. The Eagles were able to right the ship a bit by winning two of their next three, but they have since fallen to 2-7 following back-to-back home losses to Idaho (81-79) and Seattle (75-69).
UC Davis has also had a rough go of it, losing six of its first seven games, most recently falling at Stanford on Saturday night, 75-52. The Aggies have played just two home games through the first five weeks of the season, although they have been on the losing end of both against Northern Arizona (85-82) and San Jose State (73-64).
These two programs met for the first time on Nov. 27, 2011, with EWU coming away with a 79-59 home triumph.
Although the Eagles put up a respectable 74.8 ppg, they rely mostly on high volume, as they shoot below 40 percent from the field. Their up-tempo style isn't conducive to stellar defensive play, as opponents hit 47.8 percent of their total shots en route to nearly 83 ppg. EWU was sloppy once again in its six-point loss to Seattle the last time out, shooting 36.8 percent from the floor (including 6-of-27 from 3-point range) while turning the ball over 16 times. Justin Crosgile led the way with 15 points, and Venky Jois added 14 points, 12 rebounds, and four steals. Parker Kelly came off the bench to also net 14 points. Crosgile has been productive across the stat sheet, tallying 15.8 ppg, 6.0 apg, 5.9 rpg and 1,7 spg, which helps make up for a lackluster shooting effort (.377). Jois is one of the few Eagles who has been productive from the floor (.516), and he tallies 13.6 ppg, 9.3 rpg, and more than a block and a steal per contest. Collin Chiverton (11.0 ppg) is out indefinitely due to personal reasons.
Much like its counterpart tonight, UC Davis is able to put up solid numbers on offense, shooting 45.4 percent from the field for 71.3 ppg, but it too cannot stop anyone at the defensive end, allowing 77.0 ppg. Nothing went right for the Aggies in the 23-point loss to Stanford, as they shot just 35.8 percent from the floor, including a lowly 3-of-16 from 3-point range. J.T. Adenrele was able to overcome the difficult matchup by shooting 9-of-14 for a career- high 23 points. Corey Hawkins also reached double figures (10 points), but he did so on just 3-of-14 shooting. Hawkins has been one of the Big West Conference's most potent scorers this season, averaging 19.0 ppg while draining 42-of-46 from the free throw line (.913). Ryan Sypkens scores 16.1 ppg and does most of his damage from beyond the arc, draining an outstanding 32-of-60 from 3-point range (.533). Adenrele rounds out the unit's double- digit scorers with 11.9 ppg, and Ryan Howley has been impressive on the boards with 9.6 rpg. UC Davis has a tough time holding on to the basketball, committing 16.3 turnovers per game for a minus-5.0 turnover margin.
Judging by the way these two teams have performed so far, this could be a very sloppy contest. UC Davis has the home crowd on its side, but recent history suggests that it won't have much of an advantage at The Pavilion. EWU has a better balance of inside-outside scoring, which should allow the Eagles to outlast the Aggies.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Eastern Washington 80, UC Davis 76
12/17 10:39:11 ET
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