Eagles Host Seattle Tonight in First of Back-to-Back Games With Redhawks

Eagles Host Seattle Tonight in First of Back-to-Back Games With Redhawks

Tipoff is 6:05 p.m. at Reese Court between 1-1 EWU and 0-2 SU


TV: None.
All Eastern home games and non-conference Big Sky Conference road games are carried at http://www.watchbigsky.com
All Eastern games are on 700-AM ESPN in Spokane. Larry Weir returns for his 23rd season calling the play-by-play, starting 30 minutes prior to tipoff (Sean Widmer will handle play-by-play for the EWU-Mississippi State game).
Internet Radio:
www.700espn.com or www.tunein.com.
Radio iPhone App:
Search for "Spokane Radio" and download app. An app is also available for tunein radio.
Live Stats:
ewustats.com for EWU home games.

Fresh off setting records offensively and defensively two days ago, the Eastern Washington University men's basketball team returns to action tonight (Nov. 17) at Reese Court in Cheney, Wash., in the first of back-to-back games against Seattle University. Tipoff is 6:05 p.m. when the Big Sky Conference Eagles (1-1) meet the Western Athletic Conference Redhawks (0-2).

A special $5 ticket is available for fans bringing non-perishable food items in a special bag available at local Rosauers Supermarkets. The food collected will be donated to the Cheney Food Bank.

This is EWU's third game in a five-day span. Fans can also listen to the game on 700-AM ESPN and via the web at www.700espn.com, with pre-game coverage starting a half-hour prior to tipoff.

With the defense recording a school-record 23 steals, the Eagles also set a school record for scoring when they rolled past George Fox 126-64 Sunday in EWU's home opener at Reese Court. Five Eagles scored in double figures, led by the 29 of Big Sky Conference preseason MVP Venky Jois. Two other Eagles had double-doubles, with sophomore Bogdan Bliznyuk finishing with 19 points, 12 rebounds and five steals, and senior graduate transfer Austin McBroom dishing out 10 assists to go along with 19 points, five rebounds and three steals.

Eastern has scored 214 points in two games already, having lost last Friday at Mississippi State of the Southeastern Conference by a 106-88 score in EWU's season opener. Following tonight's game, Eastern plays Seattle again next Monday (Nov. 23) at Key Arena in Seattle.

"We scored 88 against Mississippi State, so we are going to score points," said Eastern head coach Jim Hayford after the George Fox game. "But where we want to get better is the implementation of our new attacking defensive scheme. So I was really pleased to see us force 27 turnovers, and we also almost doubled them up in rebounding. I knew we were going to score a lot of points today, but I wanted to see us get better in defense and rebounding."

The Redhawks enter tonight's game 0-2 after a 77-65 loss to Sacramento State on Sunday and a season-opening 58-56 home loss to Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Seattle was 18-16 overall and 7-7 in the Western Athletic Conference last season. Seattle advanced to the semifinals of the College Basketball Insider (CBI) Tournament, falling to Loyola Chicago 63-48. The Redhawks, who host the Eagles Nov. 23 in Seattle, lost to New Mexico State in the championship game of the WAC Tournament.

"We've been fortunate enough to beat Seattle the last two times we played," said Hayford of the yearly rivalry that resumed in 2009. "I'm sure they will want a piece of us. We have our work cut out for us, but at the same time, it's great preparation for Big Sky Conference play."

The Eagles are coming off their best season as a member of NCAA Division I, closing the 2014-15 season 26-9 after finishing 14-4 in the Big Sky Conference to share the regular season title with Montana. Eastern swept through three games in the Big Sky Conference Tournament to garner the school's second NCAA Tournament appearance in school history. The Eagles finished with program bests for victories overall (26), in the Big Sky (14), on the road (11) and in non-conference play (9) in 32 seasons as a member of NCAA Division I.

Eastern's national resume featured the 25th-most wins in NCAA Division I and 28th in winning percentage at .743, the fourth-most victories in the 50+ year history of the Big Sky Conference, a marquee win at Indiana and the nation's leading scorer in Tyler Harvey.


Series Notes . . .

* Eastern is 12-8 all-time against Seattle in a series that has included at least one game annually since 2009. Eastern won last season in Seattle 87-75, and the year before triumphed in Cheney 82-75. Before renewing their rivalry in 2009, the last meeting came on Nov. 22, 1985, when Eastern won 83-64 at Reese Court in Cheney, Wash. Until 2009, that was the lone game played between the two schools since EWU moved to NCAA Division I in the 1983-84 season. The first four meetings came in the 1945-46 season, and Eastern won all four of those games, as well as a pair the following season. A split followed in 1948-49, and Seattle swept a pair in the 1951-52 season. Seattle was in NCAA Division I from 1944-1980, with such star players as Elgin Baylor, John O'Brien, Clint Richardson and Frank Oleynick on its rosters. Baylor, in fact, led Seattle to the championship game of the NCAA Tournament where it lost 84-72 to Kentucky. Formerly known as the Chieftains, from 1980-2002 they were affiliated with NAIA and from 2002-2007 were a member of NCAA Division II.

* In last year's meeting with Seattle, junior forward Venky Jois had his second-straight 38-point performance to lead the Eagles to an 87-75 victory at Key Arena on Dec. 6 in Seattle, Wash. The Eagles used a 16-5 run in the first half to help open a 19-point halftime lead, and led by as many as 21 in the second half. After falling behind by seven, Eastern held the Redhawks to 4-of-19 shooting from the field the rest of the half. The Eagles, meanwhile, made 12-of-16 2-point shots in the first 20 minutes of action. Jois scored 15 points in the first half, then poured in 23 after intermission. He sank 25 shots on 33 attempts – 13-of-18 field goals and 12-of-15 free throws. He added seven rebounds and three blocked shots. Senior point guard Drew Brandon had a double-double with 11 assists and 12 rebounds, and also had five points and only two turnovers in 36 minutes of action. Tyler Harvey finished with 18 points, making 5-of-14 field goals including 3-of-10 from the 3-point stripe. The Eagles made 21-of-27 free throws versus the Redhawks for 78 percent, and was also hot from the field with a 50-percent night.

* In an 82-75 Eastern victory in the 2013-14 season, Tyler Harvey poured in 30 points for the Eagles, Venky Jois had a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds, and Drew Brandon finished with 12 points and seven assists. Eastern took the lead for good on a 3-pointer by Harvey 4:56 to play. He closed his scoring with free throws – two at the 3:00 mark that gave EWU a 72-69 lead, and two more with 14 seconds to play to give EWU a five-point bulge.


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