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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, December 20, 9:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Reese Court (6,000) -- Cheney, Washington. Television: None. Home Record: WSU 3-1, EWU 1-2. Away Record: WSU 1-2, EWU 0-5. Neutral Record: WSU 0-0, EWU 1-1. Conference Record: WSU 0-0, EWU 0-0. Series Record: Weber State leads, 41-20.
GAME NOTES: The Big Sky Conference schedule is set to kick off for a couple of schools on Thursday night, as the Eastern Washington Eagles entertain the Weber State Wildcats.
The Eagles have had a very difficult time getting consistent play from one game to the next, which is why the squad has a mere two wins in 10 opportunities. The last triumph came at the end of November against Cal State Fullerton (79-75), and since then the team has bowed in three straight. On Monday, EWU was on the road in California and was turned back by UC Davis in an awkward 87-65 final.
As for the Wildcats, a group which is only 1-2 on the road thus far, they were tripped up by BYU at home last weekend in a 78-68 decision. The loss snapped what had been a three-game win streak for a WSU squad that will again be on the road in conference action this weekend at Portland State.
As far as the all-time series is concerned, the Wildcats have owned EWU with 41 wins in 61 opportunities. Weber State has won three in a row over the Eagles, taking both meetings a season ago with a 76-69 triumph here in Cheney and an 84-75 decision in Ogden.
Even though the Wildcats were settled in at home last weekend, the team still could not keep up with the BYU Cougars as the visitors scored the double-digit win. Davion Berry did his best to keep up as he tallied a team-best 25 points on 10-of-14 shooting from the floor, but the other four starters for WSU combined to make only 8-of-25 shots from the field. Gelaun Wheelwright came off the bench to provide 12 points for a group that shot only 4-of-19 beyond the arc and 14-of-25 at the free-throw line. Berry, recently recognized as one of the top players in the Big Sky, leads the team in scoring with 14.3 ppg, although his mere 29.6 percent accuracy behind the 3-point line and 56.0 percent at the charity stripe is less than optimal. Scott Bamforth is responsible for another 10.6 ppg and while he has managed to convert 84.6 percent at the line, his 35.0 percent effort from the field is much more of a concern.
Eastern Washington fell behind immediately against UC Davis and never recovered, allowing the hosts to shoot an even 50 percent from the floor and behind the 3-point line, in addition to forcing a mere four turnovers by the Aggies. Offensively, Parker Kelly tried to give the Eagles a lift with his 17 points, stemming from 5-of-8 shooting behind the 3-point line, but it wasn't nearly enough. Justin Crosgile accounted for 15 points, Thomas Reuter 10 and Venky Jois seven points to go along with a game-high 12 rebounds. The Eagles, who are now shooting just 39.2 percent from the floor through 10 games, have failed to reach even 39.0 percent in any one of the last three contests. Crosgile (15.7 ppg) may be the top scorer for the group, but he is also one of the reasons why the team is struggling from the floor with his 38.1 percent accuracy. Jois checks in with 12.9 ppg and is tops with 9.6 rpg, while Collin Chiverton (11.0 ppg), who has been out of action because of the death of a close friend, is expected to return before Christmas.
If Chiverton is ready to make his return tonight, the Eagles might have a chance, but still it will be tough for the hosts to get beyond Weber State in such an important contest.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Weber State 73, Eastern Washington 66
12/20 10:36:29 ET
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