Flight for MSU was canceled due to weather conditions in Denver, and the two schools and the Gazelle Group have re-scheduled game to Dec. 13, 2016
Due to travel issues, the Gotham Classic men's basketball game between Morehead State and Eastern Washington scheduled for Thursday (Dec. 17) at Reese Court in Cheney, Wash., has been postponed, it was announced by Gazelle Group president Rick Giles.
"Morehead State's original flight to Spokane was canceled due to weather conditions in Denver," Giles explained. "After exhausting every possibility of getting Morehead State to Eastern Washington, and taking into account the welfare of the student-athletes involved, it was decided that the game would be postponed."
Giles said both institutions have agreed to play the game in Cheney, Wash., on Dec. 13, 2016.
Fans with tickets to the postponed Eastern Washington-Morehead State game can redeem their tickets for a future 2015-16 game, redeemable at the door or in advance.
"This was a really tough situation for Morehead State as they dealt with some very difficult travel circumstances," said Eastern athletic director Bill Chaves. "But in the best interest of their student-athletes and all involved, moving the game to next December made the most sense."
Morehead State, located in Kentucky, is 5-3 following a 72-62 loss to Pitt on Sunday (Dec. 13). They are scheduled to host Western Carolina on Sunday (Dec. 20), also as part of the Gotham Classic.
Morehead State is ranked 19th in NCAA Division I in steals per game (9.0) and offensive rebounds per game (14.9), and are 27th in turnovers forced (16.6). Eastern, now 5-6 and scheduled to play at the University of Denver this Sunday (Dec. 20), are ranked 66th nationally and first in the Big Sky in fewest turnovers per game (11.6).
"Our team was looking forward to playing one of the best defensive teams in the country in Morehead State," said Eastern head coach Jim Hayford, whose team just returned from playing three games in six days on the East Coast. "We will table it for a year. Travel is tough -- we know it as well as anyone. This was out of our control. We will turn our attention to the next game and improvement we need to make as a team."
Eastern will now close its pre-Christmas schedule at Denver of the Summit League. Denver is currently 7-3 and plays at Big Sky Conference rival Northern Colorado tonight (Dec. 16) prior to playing EWU. The Pioneers have already defeated Idaho State (79-69) and Weber State (69-68) from the Big Sky. Earlier this season, South Dakota knocked off EWU 77-71 in a battle between the Summit and Big Sky.
After playing at Denver, Eastern will open Big Sky Conference play at Northern Colorado (Dec. 31) and North Dakota (Jan. 2). The last home game for EWU was Dec. 6 and their next home game is Jan. 9 versus Idaho, meaning the Eagles will have gone more than a month without a home game.
"I cannot emphasize enough how cooperative both athletic departments were in trying to resolve this issue," Giles added. "I truly appreciate everything they did -- athletics director Bill Chaves and head coach Jim Hayford of Eastern Washington and athletics director Brian Hutchinson and head coach Sean Woods of Morehead State. Both staffs truly wanted this game to be played tomorrow."
The Gotham Classic will continue on Sunday (Dec. 20) when Pittsburgh faces Davidson in the Showcase Game at Madison Square Garden at 9 a.m. Pacific time. In addition, Morehead State will host Western Carolina.