Eastern Washington (4-14) at Southern Utah (6-12)|
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 26, 9:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Centrum Arena (5,300) -- Cedar City, Utah.
Television: None. Home Record: EWU 3-4, Southern Utah 5-3. Away Record: EWU
0-9, Southern Utah 1-7. Neutral Record: EWU 1-1, Southern Utah 0-2. Conference
Record: EWU 2-6, Southern Utah 4-5. Series Record: Southern Utah leads, 3-1.
GAME NOTES: The Eastern Washington Eagles will try to fly their way out of the
Big Sky Conference cellar on Saturday night, as they have come to Cedar City
to tangle with the Southern Utah Thunderbirds.
EWU's season has been a huge disappointment, as it has lost 14 of its 18
games, and its showing in the Big Sky (2-6) hasn't been much better. The
Eagles most recently faced Northern Colorado on the road last Saturday, and
came away with a 72-56 defeat to remain winless on the road (0-9).
The Eagles kept their latest game close, as they went into halftime trailing
by three (33-30), but they lost control after halftime, finishing the game
shooting just 37.5 percent from the floor and 6-of-10 from the foul line.
Venky Jois did all he could to lift his team to victory, tallying 15 points,
eight rebounds, four assists and seven blocks. Collin Chiverton added 13
points off the bench, and Parker Kelly chipped in 11 points in the setback.
SUU's season hasn't been much better, as it sits at 6-12 overall, although its
Big Sky mark (4-5) certainly has it in contention. After winning their first
three league games, the Thunderbirds took a nose-dive by losing five in a row.
They managed to snap out of it Thursday night with a 76-63 triumph over
Portland State at home.
Southern Utah opened up its last bout with a 12-2 run and eventually cruised
to the double-digit win by outshooting the Vikings from the field, 50.9
percent to 36 percent. Jackson Stevenett was on fire, going 9-of-13 for 21
points. Damon Heuir tallied 19 points and six assists, while Jayson Cheesman
had a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
These newly-formed conference rivals have met just four times previously, with
SUU winning three times.
Eastern Washington has been underwhelming at the offensive this season,
shooting less than 40 percent from the field for 67.8 ppg, but the primary
reason for its failures has been a scoring defense that is tied for last in
the Big Sky in allowing 75.9 ppg. Jois has been mostly reliable in shooting
50.8 percent from the floor for 13.1 ppg, while also leading the league in
rebounds (9.4 rpg) and blocks (2.3 bpg). Justin Crosgile (14.7 ppg, 5.9 rpg,
5.5 apg) left the team earlier this month, meaning the Eagles need to rely on
greater production from Chiverton (10.2 ppg) and Martin Seiferth (8.1 ppg, 5.2
SUU's offensive attack is led by the Big Sky's leading scorer in Stevenett,
who nets 16.2 ppg while logging impressive percentages from the field (.461)
and the foul line (.855). Hot on his heels in Heuir, who pours in 15.5 ppg
while doing the majority of his damage from beyond the arc (37-of-108).
Despite having the best scoring duo in the league, the Thunderbirds have a
rather underwhelming scoring offense, ranking 10th in the conference at 65.6
ppg, while also placing in the lower-half of the league in scoring defense
EWU is a team in disarray, and it has shown no signs of life away from home,
meaning SUU and its dynamic scorers should have no problem winning its second
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Southern Utah 75, Eastern Washington 67
01/26 10:34:55 ET