Eastern Washington (5-6) at Weber State (3-5)
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 2, 9 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Dee Events Center (11,500) -- Ogden, Utah. Television: None. Home Record: EWU 3-1, WSU 3-1. Away Record: EWU 0-5, WSU 0-4. Neutral Record: EWU 2-0, WSU 0-0. Conference Record: EWU 0-0, WSU 0-0. Series Record: Weber State leads, 43-20.
GAME NOTES: The Weber State Wildcats host the Eastern Washington Eagles on Thursday night at the Dee Events Center in the Big Sky Conference opener for both teams
Eastern Washington is hoping to end a four-game slide after suffering an 82-65 setback at Connecticut last weekend. In addition, the Eagles will be trying to secure their first road win of the season (0-5).
Weber State, the Big Sky preseason favorite, is off to an uninspiring 3-5 start, and only one of those victories came against Division I competition. The Wildcats are coming off a 75-49 win over NAIA school Northern New Mexico last Saturday. They will play six of their first eight conference games in Ogden, and are currently riding an 18-game home winning streak against Big Sky foes.
WSU has won the last five meetings with Eastern Washington and owns a 43-20 lead in the all-time series. The Eagles are just 4-28 in Ogden.
Eastern Washington could not quite hang with 16th-ranked UConn last weekend on the road. The Eagles shot just 37.3 percent from the floor and were outscored at the foul line by a 25-6 margin, as the Huskies missed only two of their 27 attempts. Tyler Harvey led the way with 19 points, while freshman Ognjen Miljkovic scored a career-high 15 points off the bench in a losing effort. Drew Brandon and Parker Kelly rounded out EWU's double-digit scorers with 13 and 10 points, respectively. On the season, Harvey is averaging a team-high 19.3 ppg. Venky Jois (12.4 ppg), Brandon (11.5 ppg, 5.6 rpg) and Kelly (10.4 ppg) are also averaging double figures.
Weber State opened its last game just 2-of-11 from the field against Northern New Mexico and trailed midway through the first half. However, the Wildcats battled back to take a 31-26 halftime lead, then they scored the first eight points of the second half. WSU effectively put the game away with 15-6 and 16-4 runs later in the second stanza and went on to shoot 56.5 percent for the game. The 'Cats also utilized their size advantage to claim a 40-29 rebounding edge and post a season-high eight blocked shots. However, they also turned the ball over a season-high 17 times and shot just 66 percent from the charity stripe. Kyle Tresnak led the way with 22 points to go along with seven rebounds and five blocks, while Royce Williams scored 16 points off the bench. Leading scorer Davion Berry (16.9 ppg) shot just 4-of-11 from the field and finished with nine points and four steals.
Both of these teams have had their struggles in the early going, but the Wildcats have been awfully tough to beat at home. This current stretch of home games is key for the preseason Big Sky favorites.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Weber State 79, Eastern Washington 69
01/02 10:33:27 ET