Eastern Washington (7-8) at Northern Arizona (6-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 16, 8:30 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Walkup Skydome (7,300) -- Flagstaff, Arizona. Television: FSN-AZ+. Home Record: EWU 5-1, NAU 3-1. Away Record: EWU 0-7, NAU 3-6. Neutral Record: EWU 2-0, NAU 0-2. Conference Record: EWU 2-2, NAU 3-1. Series Record: Northern Arizona leads, 33-26.
GAME NOTES: The Eastern Washington Eagles try yet again to pick up their first road win of the 2013-14 campaign tonight, as they tangle with the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks in Big Sky Conference action at Walkup Skydome.
Somehow the Eagles managed to take down both Montana (69-62) and Montana State (77-72) at home last week, building a minor two-game win streak after having lost six in a row, but still the program has yet to figure out how to win on the road in seven previous tries.
As for the Lumberjacks, they too have won two straight outings and now three of the last four, thanks to a 70-36 thrashing of Southern Utah on Monday night. With a mark of 3-1 in conference, NAU enters play on Thursday tied with both Weber State and Montana State for second place in the standings.
Since joining the ranks of Division I, the Eagles have played NAU a total of 59 times previously, with the 'Jacks coming out ahead by a count of 33-26.
The Eagles survived 16 turnovers and just 61.1 percent shooting at the free- throw line as they tackled Montana State over the weekend. Nearly pulling off a triple-double was Drew Brandon who posted 15 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds, although he also had six miscues while handling the ball. Venky Jois had a double-double of his own with 14 points and 10 rebounds, while Tyler Harvey and Parker Kelly accounted for 19 and 18 points, respectively.
Maintaining the same starting lineup through the first 15 games of the campaign, Harvey leads the Eagles in scoring with his 20.3 ppg as he makes good on an impressive 45.2 percent of his attempts behind the 3-point line. Unfortunately, there is a drastic drop-off between Harvey and the remaining double-digit scorers for EWU with Jois (12.9 ppg), Brandon (11.1 ppg) and Kelly (10.5 ppg) all finding their roles as support staff.
Max Jacobsen scored 15 points, shooting a perfect 7-of-7 from the floor, as the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks completely dominated the Southern Utah Thunderbirds by 34 points at The Centrum. Kris Yanku accounted for 13 points and a team-best eight rebounds for the Lumberjacks, while Aaseem Dixon pitched in with 11 points. Quinton Upshur and Ako Kaluna both added 10 points in the victory. The Lumberjacks finished the outing shooting 58.7 percent from the field and 41.7 percent behind the 3-point line, compared to just 24 percent from the floor and 18.8 percent out on the perimeter for the hosts.
Thanks to the lopsided win over the Thunderbirds earlier this week, the numbers for the Lumberjacks in conference play look a lot more favorable, particularly on defense as the group holds opponents to only 58.5 ppg. At the other end, NAU is producing 71.0 ppg on the strength of 52.0 percent shooting from the field and an even better 56.9 percent beyond the arc. Dixon (18.5 ppg), Jacobsen (14.8 ppg) and Upshur (14.3 ppg) account for a large portion of the scoring at the moment.
The Lumberjacks have to be careful not to get too excited about their most recent win because SUU is a team that has not defeated a single Division I opponent yet this season. Nevertheless, NAU should be more than prepared to keep EWU from finally breaking through on the road tonight.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Northern Arizona 71, Eastern Washington 65
01/16 10:19:27 ET