Eagles Fall To NAU, 84-65 - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Eagles Fall To NAU, 84-65

Posted:
Tyler Harvey lead the Eags in scoring but a poor shooting night from the team earns EWU the loss. Tyler Harvey lead the Eags in scoring but a poor shooting night from the team earns EWU the loss.

by EWU Athletics

The game featured season highs for lead changes with eight and ties with seven for the Eastern Washington University men’s basketball team.

Unfortunately, all of those came in the first 15 1/2 minutes of the game, as Northern Arizona took advantage of cold Eagle shooting from the outside for an 84-65 Big Sky Conference victory Thursday, Jan. 16, at the Walkup Skydome in Flagstaff, Ariz.

A 12-3 run to end the first half and a 17-4 run after intermission were the fatal blows for the Eagles, as NAU broke open a close game and snapped EWU’s two-game winning streak.

“The disappointing thing is we came into this game with momentum, but we’ve had to learn a lesson instead of building on a positive,” said Eastern head coach Jim Hayford, who pin-pointed shot selection and getting away from the game plan as Eastern’s downfall. “You have to keep coaching and teaching so that it doesn’t happen again in the next game.”

Sophomore Tyler Harvey led the Eagles with 25 points, and sophomore Venky Jois had his sixth double-double of the season and 15th of his career with 14 points and a career-high 15 rebounds.

The Eagles are now 2-3 in the Big Sky and 7-9 overall after registering a home sweep of Montana (69-62) and Montana State (77-72) last weekend. Northern Arizona, which jumped out to a 24-2 lead at Southern Utah on Monday in a 70-36 romp, is now 4-1 in the league and 7-9 overall.

“Credit NAU, they whipped us tonight,” Hayford said of the Lumberjacks, who ended up in a three-way tie for first place in the league with Northern Colorado and Montana State. Eastern handed the Bobcats their lone league loss last week, and EWU has yet to play the Bears, who lost Thursday at MSU.

Now 0-8 on opponent home courts this season, the Eagles try to snap that skid Saturday, Jan. 18, at Sacramento State at 7:05 p.m. Pacific time. Sac State was 1-3 in the league and 5-8 overall heading into Thursday’s home game versus Portland State.

Eastern made only 30.4 percent of their shots from the field – its second-worst performance of the year -- including just 4-of-23 3-point shots to equal its season low of 17 percent.

Harvey was just 5-of-13 from the field and 2-of-6 from the 3-point stripe, but made all 13 of his free throws. Junior Parker Kelly chipped in 11 points and made all six of his free throws, but made only 1-of-9 treys to finish 2-of-11 overall from the field.

“If you stick to an offensive game plan and keep the defense off-balance by mixing it up, then you have a chance,” explained Hayford, who wanted his team to work the ball inside more against NAU. “We’ll have to coach a little better so we can understand that.”

Jois, last week’s co-Big Sky Conference Player of the Week, had his third double-double in his last four games. His 15 rebounds eclipsed his previous career high of 14 set three times last January.

“Venky had a great night and really competed,” Hayford said. “We should have gotten the ball to him more.”

With Jois getting eight points and eight rebounds early, neither team had a lead of more than four points in the opening 16 minutes. When Eastern took a 22-20 lead on a 3-pointer by sophomore Daniel Hill – his first points of the season – it would strangely be their last advantage of the game.

Shortly after that, the seventh and final tie at 24 came on a basket by the Eagles with 4:26 left, then NAU started what would become the winning run for the eighth and final lead change.

During the 29-7 run spanning both halves, Eastern went 5:43 without a field goal and NAU had unanswered scoring spurts of 12-0, 6-0 and 11-0 to take a 53-31 lead with 15:04 left. The closest EWU could come after that was 16.

“I want to be the eternal optimist – I think that’s the way you should be as a basketball coach,” added Hayford. “I want to let our guys play with a lot of freedom, and I think that is the way basketball should be played offensively. I don’t want to take away the confidence of our players, but we had a game plan and felt we could get our best looks inside. The shots we were taking weren’t as good compared to the shots that we were getting inside, and we took some shots early in the shot clock when we had advantageous match-ups.”

Last year the Eagles knocked off the Lumberjacks in Flagstaff 77-74 in overtime in the break-out game Harvey. The Eagles trailed by 13 with less than four minutes remaining, but Harvey scored 14 points in the last 8:31 of the game and rallied the Eagles to an improbable win. That victory was Eastern’s first in 13 tries on opponent home courts to that point.

Now a sophomore, Harvey had 44 points with nine 3-pointers and six assists in last week’s sweep to earn College Sports Madness Big Sky Conference Player of the Week accolades. He entered the NAU game ranked second in the Big Sky in scoring for all games (20.3) and first in league games only (23.3).

Jois finished last weekend with 28 points, 17 rebounds, six assists, four blocked shots and three steals, while making 56.3 percent of his field goals (9-of-16) and 62.5 percent of his free throws (10-of-16). Against MSU he had his fifth double-double of the season and 14th of his career, and came three rebounds short of another double-double against UM.

  • College SportsCollegeMore>>

  • WSU Football Announces Practice Schedule

    WSU Football Announces Practice Schedule

    Washington State University Head Football Coach Mike Leach and the Cougar football team open fall camp Saturday, Aug. 2, with an 2:30 p.m. practice at Sacajawea Middle School in Lewiston, Idaho.More >>
    Washington State University Head Football Coach Mike Leach and the Cougar football team open fall camp Saturday, Aug. 2, with an 2:30 p.m. practice at Sacajawea Middle School in Lewiston, Idaho.More >>
  • EWU Football Adds Texas Tech Clash In 2017

    EWU Football Adds Texas Tech Clash In 2017

    Eastern Washington University head football coach Beau Baldwin will forever remember his first trip to Lubbock, Texas, and now his Eagles will make a second trip to play at Texas Tech on Sept. 2, 2017 in an announcement made jointly by the two schools...More >>
    Eastern Washington University head football coach Beau Baldwin will forever remember his first trip to Lubbock, Texas, and now his Eagles will make a second trip to play at Texas Tech on Sept. 2, 2017 in an announcement made jointly by the two schools...
    More >>
  • Pippins Cruise Past Walla Walla, 12-2

    Pippins Cruise Past Walla Walla, 12-2

    After narrowly holding on for an 8-7 victory Tuesday night in Walla Walla, the Yakima Valley Pippins found themselves in a much more comfortable game Wednesday night, scoring eight runs the first three innings to take a 12-2 win over the Sweets.More >>
    After narrowly holding on for an 8-7 victory Tuesday night in Walla Walla, the Yakima Valley Pippins found themselves in a much more comfortable game Wednesday night, scoring eight runs the first three innings to take a 12-2 win over the Sweets.More >>
  • Eastern WashingtonEWUMore>>

  • EWU Football Adds Texas Tech Clash In 2017

    EWU Football Adds Texas Tech Clash In 2017

    Eastern Washington University head football coach Beau Baldwin will forever remember his first trip to Lubbock, Texas, and now his Eagles will make a second trip to play at Texas Tech on Sept. 2, 2017 in an announcement made jointly by the two schools...More >>
    Eastern Washington University head football coach Beau Baldwin will forever remember his first trip to Lubbock, Texas, and now his Eagles will make a second trip to play at Texas Tech on Sept. 2, 2017 in an announcement made jointly by the two schools...
    More >>
  • EWU Football Readies For Earliest Start In Program History

    EWU Football Readies For Earliest Start In Program History

    With the earliest game in school history comes the earliest practice start, as the Eastern Washington University football team begins practices for the 2014 season this Thursday, July 31, on the Sports and Recreation Center practice fields in Cheney, Wash.More >>
    With the earliest game in school history comes the earliest practice start, as the Eastern Washington University football team begins practices for the 2014 season this Thursday, July 31, on the Sports and Recreation Center practice fields in Cheney, Wash.More >>
  • Local Basketball Teams Praised By NABC For Excellence

    Local Basketball Teams Praised By NABC For Excellence

    A trio of local University basketball teams have been named among the best academically by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) on Wednesday, July 23.More >>
    A trio of local University basketball teams have been named among the best academically by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) on Wednesday, July 23.
    More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KHQ. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.