Idaho State (9-19) at Eastern Washington (13-16)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, February 28th, 9:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Reese Court (6,000) -- Cheney, Washington. Television: SWX. Home Record: Idaho State 5-8, Eastern Washington 7-4. Away Record: Idaho State 4-11, Eastern Washington 6-12. Neutral Record: Idaho State 0-0, Eastern Washington 0-0. Conference Record: Idaho State 7-8, Eastern Washington 7-8. Series Record: Eastern Washington leads 35-27.
GAMES NOTES: The Eastern Washington Eagles and the Idaho State Bengals will meet for the second time in less than a week, as both teams are fighting for the fourth seed in the upcoming Big Sky Conference Tournament.
Eastern Washington went into Reed Arena last week and came away with an 85-78 victory over Idaho State in the first meeting this season between the two squads. The win puts the Eagles all-time advantage at 35-27.
This will be the final game of the season for Idaho State which has compiled a mere 9-19 record overall but has found a bit more success in conference play at 7-8. The loss to Eastern Washington was part of a three-game losing streak that continued on Saturday for the Bengals with a loss to Sacramento State.
Eastern Washington is also playing in its final regular season game of the season in this matchup. Eastern Washington is a pedestrian 13-16 overall this season but has had the same 7-8 record in conference play which ties the Eagles with the Bengals for fourth in the conference. The Eagles lost in their last time out dropping a 69-64 decision to Portland State on Saturday.
Idaho State looked like it would defend its home court on Saturday as the Bengals held a 33-27 advantage heading into halftime. In the second period the Bengals stumbled and allowed the Hornets to shoot 60.0 percent from the floor over the final 20 minutes and lost on a game-winning three-pointer by Joe Eberhard with one second remaining.
Despite still in contention for one of the top seeds in the Big Sky Conference tournament, Idaho State has been near the bottom of the conference on offense this season scoring 65.7 points per game which is better than only last-place Northern Arizona. The Bengals make it no easier by allowing a hefty 72.6 points per game while collecting a league low 30.5 rebounds per game as a team. Kenny McGowan (14.3 ppg) is the teams primary scoring option and seemed to be the only player able to score against Sacramento State as he poured in 30 points which tied a season-high. The senior guard is flanked in the backcourt by the teams other double digit scorers in Chase Grabau (12.9 ppg) and Melvin Morgan (12.0 ppg) while Abner Moreira (6.4 ppg, 7.2 rpg) is the teams best threat in the frontcourt.
Eastern Washington managed to shoot just 34.2 percent from the floor including a paltry 5-of-22 from beyond the arc and failed to take advantage of 18 Portland State turnovers in its loss on Saturday. The Eagles were also far too aggressive on defense, committing 26 personal fouls while being outscored 27-15 from the free-throw line.
The Eagles have been a more successful offensive squad this season scoring 72.5 points per game, despite shooting a league low 40.5 percent from the floor. Cliff Colimon and Colin Chiverton have formed one of the best scoring duos in the Big Sky this season, ranking fourth and sixth, respectively. Colimon (15.5 ppg) is the slightly better scorer and led the team against Sacramento State with 19 points. Colimon isn't just a scorer as he dishes out 5.1 assists per game which is third most in the Big Sky. Chiverton (15.1 ppg) falls just off of Colimon's pace but is coming off a terrible game in which he scored only four points. Cliff Ederaine (19.7 ppg, 7.6 rpg) is the team's third player averaging in double figures and along with Laron Griffin (7.5 ppg, 6.4 rpg) forms a nice rebounding pair.
Eastern Washington gets the nod in this matchup thanks to its scoring, which Idaho State will struggle to defend against.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Eastern Washington 74, Idaho State 64
02/28 10:49:32 ET