GAME NOTES: Eastern Washington shoots for just its third true road win of the season tonight, as the Eagles fly into Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion to challenge the Northern Colorado Bears in Big Sky Conference action.
Tied with several teams for sixth place in the conference standings with a record of 8-8, the Eagles are hoping to bounce back from an 87-76 loss to Portland State on Monday night, a decision that snapped a three-game win streak.
While Eastern Washington has been less than impressive on the road in 2013-14, the Bears could easily make that situation more unbearable given that UNC is a perfect 13-0 at home this season. Unfortunately, like the Eagles, Northern Colorado also just had a three-game win streak come to an end with a 79-58 setback versus Sacramento State on the road last Saturday. The defeat dropped UNC to 10-6 in conference, good enough for second place in the standings but still two games behind Weber State with time winding down in the regular season.
EWU won the first meeting of the season at home in overtime, 94-90, but still the Eagles trail in the all-time series, 9-7.
Tyler Harvey produced a game-high 23 points earlier this week when the Eagles hosted Portland State, but it wasn't enough to keep the home team out of the loss column. Venky Jois was responsible for 18 points and a game-high nine rebounds, followed by Martin Seiferth with 13 points and seven boards for a squad that shot a decent 50.9 percent from the floor, but just 4-of-15 behind the 3-point line.
One of the top scorers in not just the conference but in the country at this late stage of the season, Harvey is responsible for 21.8 ppg, stemming from a very impressive 45.1 percent effort behind the 3-point line. Thanks to Harvey and his 97 conversions out on the perimeter, the Eagles have connected on 221 triples over the course of 27 games, 46 more than the competition. However, even with that significant advantage on the outside, EWU is outscoring the competition by less than two points per contest.
An 11-point deficit at the break versus Sacramento State at the Nest in the last outing blossomed into a full blown thrashing after 40 minutes. Northern Colorado shot just 27.3 percent from the field in the second half, including 1-of-11 behind the 3-point line in the final 20 minutes, preventing the program from making any serious runs on the road. Not surprisingly, the Bears had just a single player in double figures as Jordan Wilson knocked down 17 points, accounting for half the team's six assists along the way as well.
Derrick Barden, who finished with eight points and seven rebounds versus the Hornets, remains the top scorer against the rest of the Big Sky for the program with his 13.9 ppg, coming up with a team-best 7.9 rpg as well. The team is producing a solid 75.7 ppg against league foes, thanks to Barden, Tim Huskisson (12.8 ppg) and Tate Unruh (12.2 ppg) and the rest of the Bears who are knocking down field goal attempts at a 50.7 percent clip.
If the Bears put out another effort like the one they did against Sacramento State, the team could be in jeopardy of letting down the hometown fans for the first time this season. However, UNC will likely be up to the challenge as it continues to push toward the postseason.
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