GAME NOTES: The undefeated Saint Mary's Gaels return home on Sunday to take on the winless Eastern Washington Eagles.
Eastern Washington was on the losing end of both of its first two games, dropping the opener against Washington State, 80-69, and losing to Cal State Northridge, 96-79. The Eagles are in the midst of a six-game stretch away from home to start the season, with their home opener not coming until Nov. 30 against Cal State Fullerton.
After winning its opener at home against Sonoma State (95-69), Saint Mary's traveled to Logan, Utah to play a very difficult road game against Utah State and came away victorious, 67-58. The Gaels are now 2-0 for the sixth straight season.
Saint Mary's has a 4-2 advantage in the all-time series over Eastern Washington. This will be the third matchup in the last five seasons, with the Gaels winning in December of 2011 (77-61) and March of 2009 (85-65).
Eastern Washington has shown very little promise at either end of the court in the early going. Even though it scores 74 ppg, it does so on just 37.7 percent field goal shooting, while it has no answer for its opponents on the defensive end either (92.0 ppg, .496 FG percentage). There is still some optimism for the Eagles however, as they have several players capable of putting together quality seasons. Martin Seiferth had his coming out party in the last matchup against Northridge, tallying 27 points and 17 rebounds. The 6-foot-10 transfer from Oregon also logged a school-record seven blocked shots, and he figures to be a mainstay in the Eagles' frontcourt. Justin Crosgile also had a big night with 18 points and seven assists, but it was tainted by nine turnovers. Crosgile is the team's leading scorer with 23 ppg. Venky Jois chipped in with 12 points and helped out at the defensive end with three steals and two blocks. Collin Chiverton is off to a horrendous start (4.0 ppg, .273 FG percentage), but he proved by scoring 13.9 ppg a season ago that he's a viable option.
After putting up 95 points in its opener, Saint Mary's was in for much more of a battle on the road against Utah State. The team shot a modest 45.7 percent from the floor (including 9-of-22 from three-point range), but the real story was its ability to contain Aggies' star guard Preston Medlin, who scored just seven points on 3-of-11 from the field. In a matchup of Preseason All- Conference Players of the Year, Matthew Dellavedova (21 points) got the best of Medlin by scoring 20 or more for the second straight game, although his efficiency from the field (6-of-15) is definitely not where he wants it to be. Stephen Holt, Dellavedova's running mate in the backcourt, scored a season- high 16 points. The pair were huge down the stretch, scoring the team's final 16 points of the game to carry it to victory. James Walker III played 28 minutes off the bench and took advantage of his extended playing time with 14 points.
Eastern Washington is a team that is not clicking right now, which is especially troubling heading into a hostile road game against a very good team. Saint Mary's passed its first big test of the season against Utah State, and this one will be much easier.
Game Date and Time