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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 9, 9:05 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Reese Court (6,000) -- Cheney, Washington. Television: None. Home Record: Montana 4-2, EWU 3-1. Away Record: Montana 2-3, EWU 0-7. Neutral Record: Montana 0-0, EWU 2-0. Conference Record: Montana 1-1, EWU 0-2. Series Record: Montana leads, 63-38.
GAME NOTES: Losers of six in a row, the Eastern Washington Eagles try to break back into the win column on Thursday as they host the Montana Grizzlies in Big Sky Conference action on Reese Court.
For a team that began the 2013-14 campaign with five wins in seven attempts, the Eagles have quickly headed south and haven't come out on the winning side since posting an 82-75 decision versus Seattle on Nov. 29. The team's most recent outing took place on Saturday, an 83-72 setback versus Idaho State on the road.
As for the Grizzlies, they started out poorly this season with four defeats in five outings, but have since turned it around. The team managed to knock off Sacramento State over the weekend in an 82-70 final which means it has won five of the last six contests to move over the .500 mark on the campaign.
Montana has won 12 of the last 14 meetings with the Eagles and now owns a 63-38 advantage in the all-time series.
Jordan Gregory scored a game-high 20 points, converting all six of his attempts at the free-throw line, during Montana's victory over Sacramento State on Saturday at Dahlberg Arena in Missoula. Keron DeShields accounted for 17 points, Kareem Jamar 14 to go along with his six assists, followed by Chris Kemp who tacked on 10 points and seven rebounds in a reserve role for a team that shot an impressive 58.0 percent from the field, but at the same time allowed the Hornets to make good on 50 percent of their field goal chances as well.
Jamar, who is playing more than 36 minutes per game, is one of those rare players who leads his team in scoring (19.3 ppg), rebounding (6.2 rpg) and assists (56) at the moment. A starter in all 11 games for Montana, Jamar is shooting 51.1 percent from the floor. Gregory and DeShields are also putting up double-digit scoring efforts at the moment with 13.7 and 12.2 ppg, respectively.
Eastern Washington fell behind by 17 points against Idaho State the last time out and while the Eagles were able to whittle that deficit down to just six points in the second half, eventually the team was taken down by double digits at Holt Arena. Four starters scored in double figures for the visitors, led by Tyler Harvey with 19 points on a mere 6-of-20 shooting from the field. Parker Kelly and Drew Brandon accounted for 16 and 14 points, respectively, while Venky Jois responded with a double-double consisting of 15 points and 10 rebounds in the loss.
One of the top scorers in the conference, Harvey is responsible for 20.1 ppg, having made good on an impressive 44.9 percent of his 3-point attempts on the campaign. Jois is someone who has the potential to produce a double-double each and every time out, posting 12.8 ppg and a team-best 8.1 rpg, although his effort at the charity stripe (.508) is actually worse than his accuracy from the floor overall (.519). Brandon (11.4 ppg) and Kelly (10.5 ppg) are also key figures in the team's offense which is putting up 74.7 ppg.
Eastern Washington's defense has certainly seen better days, allowing 75.5 ppg, and with the squad knocking down only 65.5 percent at the free-throw line, that opens the door for an opponent like Montana to steal a win in Cheney this evening.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Montana 83, Eastern Washington 75
01/09 10:34:09 ET
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