Northern Colorado Too Much for EWU - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Northern Colorado Too Much for EWU

Posted: Updated:
© EWU Athletics © EWU Athletics

The Eastern Washington University men's basketball team had a record-tying performance by true freshman Venky Jois and another stingy effort on defense, but Northern Colorado was able to down the Eagles 72-56 Saturday (Jan. 19) in a Big Sky Conference men's basketball game in Greeley, Colo.

Jois equaled the school record of seven blocked shots set earlier this season by teammate Martin Seiferth, as Jois finished with yet another monster game with 15 points, eight rebounds, four assists and the seven blocks. The Eagles also held the Bears to 38 percent shooting – the seventh-straight game the Eagles have held their opponents to 44 percent shooting or less.

After trailing by just three at halftime by a 33-30 score, the Eagles allowed UNC to go on a 13-3 run in the second half to open a double-digit lead it held much of the rest of the game.

The loss dropped Eastern to 2-6 in league play and 4-14 overall. The Bears won their second-straight home game and improved to 3-5 in the league and 5-11 on the season. Northern Colorado was just 9-19 last year, but the year before was 21-11 overall and won the Big Sky title with a 13-3 record.

"I'm proud of our guys and their effort," said Eastern head coach Jim Hayford. "Northern Colorado is coming around – they are a good team. They paid these pains last year."

Senior Collin Chiverton added 13 points for the Eagles, and sophomore Parker Kelly chipped in 11. However, the 6-foot-10 Seiferth played just 14 minutes because of early foul trouble and finished with only four points and three rebounds. Earlier this season, Seiferth had seven blocks against Cal State Northridge to break EWU's previous blocked shots record of six.

Northern Colorado finished with a 47-29 rebounding advantage, with the 18-rebound margin the second-worst for the Eagles this season (21 versus Idaho). Derrick Barden, who finished with 15 points and 15 rebounds, and Connor Osborne combined for 13 of UNC's 18 offensive boards, which led to 16 second-chance points for the Bears.

"Martin had a tough night and we had to go small, and they exploited that on the boards," Hayford said. "Give them credit – Osborne and Barden had their way inside with 13 offensive rebounds. That's hard to defend, but our first-shot defense was pretty good. Our first-shot defense will probably grade out at 26 or 27 percent. They hurt us on the boards, they really did."

Senior Jeffrey Forbes added five points, including a 3-pointer that tied him with Justin Paola (1990-92) for third in school history with 164 career 3-pointers. Forbes has now played in 109 games to rank ninth in school history, and could break Marc Axton's (2002-05) school record of 119 games played later this season.

Already playing without starting senior point guard Kevin Winford (concussion), Forbes played only 20 minutes after suffering a finger injury in the second half that required stitches.

"He had his pinky finger almost ripped off, so he wasn't able to play down the stretch," said Hayford. "We'll get it all figured out."

Eastern fell behind early 11-5, but a 6-0 run helped EWU take its first lead of the game at 21-20 on a basket by Jois with 7:42 to play. The Eagles were able to tie it one more time at 30-all late in the half, but UNC took the lead for good on a 3-pointer by Tate Unruh, who had five treys in the game and led all scorers with 21 points.

The Eagles trailed just 38-36 in the second half when UNC went on its 13-3 run to take a 51-39 advantage with 13:34 left. Eastern cut the lead to seven on two occasions, but the Bears out-scored EWU 16-7 the rest of the way.

"We're a little bit shorthanded right now, but I'm not trying to make excuses for losses," added Hayford. "We just need to keep pushing through and get better. About 70 percent of our minutes tonight were by freshmen and sophomores. They are getting valuable experience, but I'd like to get them winning experience. I know that they will."

Last season, Eastern split a pair of nail-biters against UNC, losing 71-70 in Greeley and winning 79-76 at home later in the season. Eastern has now lost the last six meetings in Greeley, having not won there since Jan. 4, 2007 (88-87), and trails in the all-time series 8-5.

  • College

    • Former WSU receiver River Cracraft signs with Denver Broncos

      Cracraft ended his career at WSU with 218 receptions (No. 2 in school history behind Gabe Marks), 2,701 receiving yards and 20 touchdowns in four seasons.

    • Press Pass Pullman: Week Seven

      On this week's episode of Press Pass Pullman, Mike Leach talks about what former Washington State A.D. Bill Moos meant to the University and what he hopes to see from the upcoming search to fill Moos' position. Leach also looks back on the many issues his team had against Cal, and looks ahead to a homecoming game against Colorado. In the Fan Question of the Week, he explains what he would name his boat (if he had one) and why.
    • Grizzly Sports Report, 10-16-17

      Wide Receiver Keenan Curran and Head Coach Bob Stitt join Shaun Rainey to talk about the big win over North Dakota and discuss the new Champions Center. 
    • Super 8 Plays of the Week 10/16

      Check out this week's top plays as we approach the end of the football regular season!

    • WSU names John Johnson interim director of athletics

      Johnson will assume the role of interim director effective Oct. 18 and will continue until a permanent director is named. He will not be a candidate for the permanent position.

    • Fan Fest kicks off 2017-18 season for Gonzaga

      Fans got their first look at the 2017-18 Zags with festivities on the court, including an intrasquad scrimmage. The Zags played a quartet of four-minute periods, with the second half running clock.

    • Whitworth escapes with a 17-14 win over Pacific Lutheran

      Whitworth overcame the absence of record-setting QB Ian Kolste with a total team effort to end a two-game losing streak.  The Pirates improved to 4-2 overall and 1-2 in the NWC.

    • Vandals come up short against Appalachian State 23-20

      The Vandals got up, 20-0, early in the third quarter after a Sedrick Thomas interception on the opening play of the half gave Idaho excellent field position. The Mountaineers stormed back, scoring 23 unanswered points.

    • Eagles continue Big Sky dominance with win over Montana State

      After nearly giving away the lead with fumbles on back-to-back possessions, the defense for No. 10/9 Eagles did the same moments later to help preserve a 31-19 EWU victory over Montana State.

    • Quick-striking Crusaders defeat MSUB men 3-1

      In the blink of an eye, Northwest Nazarene University had all the offense it needed to collect a 3-1 victory over Montana State University Billings on Saturday at the NNU Soccer Field.

    More
HD DOPPLER 6i
/