FACTS & STATS: Site: Reed Gym (2,666) -- Pocatello, Idaho.
Television: None. Home Record: EWU 7-7, Idaho State 4-6. Away Record: EWU
1-12, Idaho State 1-14. Neutral Record: EWU 1-1, Idaho State 0-3. Conference
Record: EWU 6-12, Idaho State 3-12. Series Record: EWU leads, 36-26.
GAMES NOTES: Jim Hayford will coach in his 400th game of his career as he
leads the Eastern Washington Eagles in a Big Sky Conference bout with the
Idaho State Bengals at Reed Gym on Thursday night.
Hayford and the Eagles are still clinging to hope for a Big Sky Tournament
berth though that hope is hanging by a thread. For the Eagles to get into the
postseason they would need wins in their final two games, while needing
Northern Arizona and Sacramento State to drop each of their final games of the
season. The Eagles are just 9-20 overall and 6-12 in league action and will
have a tough time fulfilling their end of the bargain to grab the seventh and
final spot in the Big Sky Tournament as they face powerhouse Weber State in
Idaho State has no shot at securing a spot in the conference tourney as the
team is dead last in the Big Sky at 4-14 in league action while a paltry 5-23
overall this season. The Bengals have been set down in 11 of their last 12
games and will wrap up the tough campaign by hosting Portland State on
Venky Jois posted a double-double of 13 points and 12 rebounds as Eastern
Washington held off the Bengals in a 57-54 win earlier this season. The Eagles
have now won seven straight against Idaho State while improving their all-time
series lead to 36-26.
For the third time in the last four games, Eastern Washington was handed a
defeat in its most recent contest against North Dakota. The Eagles were
outscored 20-8 in points off turnovers in the game as they wasted a 14-point,
14-rebound and seven-block effort from Martin Seiferth in the 78-74 setback.
Venky Jois (12.5 ppg, 9.1 rpg, 2.5 bpg) has enjoyed a stellar freshman
campaign but has been stumbling a bit down the stretch especially after he
managed just six points against North Dakota. Jois is still a lock for
freshman of the year in the Big Sky as he leads the conference in both
rebounds (9.1 pg) and blocks (2.5 pg). Collin Chiverton (11.0 ppg) has stepped
up his game late in the season and has scored in double figures in three-
straight games which tied a season-high. The Eagles' real issue has been on
defense as they allow just under 75 points per game while allowing teams to
assists on 16.4 field goals per game, which is among the five worst marks in
Melvin Morgan missed a potential game-winning 3-point attempt as time expired
as the Bengals sank in a 53-52 loss to Sacramento State. The Bengals continued
their season long struggle on the offensive end in the contest shooting 36.2
percent from the field while hitting just 5-of-23 shots from beyond the arc.
All year long Idaho State has been horrific on the offensive end of the floor
ranking dead last in the Big Sky in points (55.9 pg), assists (10 pg) and
field goal percentage (.404). The Bengals scoring production has them among
the worst 10 teams in the country. Idaho State has been solid defensively
letting up just 63.2 points per game on 44 percent shooting. The glass has
also proved to be a struggle for the Bengals who are among the five worst
teams on the boards (27.8 pg). Morgan (11.9 ppg) and Chris Hansen (11.0 ppg)
are the two best scoring options on the roster but each has shot at a 35.4
percent rate from the floor. Tomas Sanchez (10.7 ppg, 3.8 apg) is the primary
distributor with Andre Hatchett (8.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg) the best rebounder.
Even though Eastern Washington isn't one of the elite teams in the Big Sky the
Eagles have still been far ahead of the Bengals and with the motivation of a
possible postseason spot on the line they should grab a win.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Eastern Washington 65, Idaho State 60