Eagles Use Defense to Survive for 72-68 Win Over Bobcats - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Eagles Use Defense to Survive for 72-68 Win Over Bobcats

CHENEY, Wash. - The method was the same but the result was a little different.

The Eastern Washington University men's basketball team survived yet another comeback by Montana State and the Eagles opened the second half of the Big Sky Conference season with a hard-fought 72-68 victory over the Bobcats Thursday (Jan. 31) at Reese Court in Cheney, Wash.

Senior Collin Chiverton led the Eagles with 20 points, including four clutch free throws in the final 30 seconds. The Eagles limited Montana State to 30 percent shooting – a season best for the Eagles -- as the Bobcats came up short after rallying from a 13-point deficit in the second half. In a 70-68 loss at Montana State earlier this season, the Eagles led by as many as 15 in the second half before falling.

Senior Kevin Winford added 13 points, seven rebounds, four assists and three steals for the Eagles, who improved to 6-15 overall and 4-7 in the league. Sophomore Parker Kelly had 15 points in helping drop Montana State to 6-5 in the Big Sky and 9-10 overall.

 "Any win is a good win, but this is a big one," said Eastern head coach Jim Hayford. "Montana State is playing as good as basketball as anybody except maybe Montana. They are a good team, and this was a good win. We did some growing up today."

Thursday's game was the first of two visits from two of the top three teams in the league standings, as league-leading and defending champion Montana rolls into Cheney on Saturday (Feb. 2). Eastern has now won the first two games of a three-game homestand.

"This was a good win," Hayford said. "Right now we are building this program with our (young) team. We gut checked it (at the end), and we finished it out with some adversity through the end. That's good because it's a growing point. We have had some times where we have hit adversity and not grinded it out. It is really important for us to taste that, and to have success."

After EWU held a pair of 13-point leads in the second half, Montana State used runs of 6-0, 5-0 and 8-0 to pull within 64-63 with 2:53 to play. But Chiverton hit a key basket with 1:21 left and made all four of his free throws in the final 30 seconds. The Bobcats missed a pair of 3-pointers in the final 40 seconds to help Eastern, which had nine second-half turnovers after just four in the first half.

The Eagles also survived 27 percent shooting in the second half after a 52 percent first half. And the Bobcats out-rebounded Eastern 45-41, and had 16 offensive boards leading to 15 second-chance points.

"There's no secret the reason we won tonight was because we played outstanding defense," said Hayford. "They are a hard team to guard because they spread you out, and then they try to take you off the drive. That gets them to the free throw line, and they are a great free throw shooting team. Give credit to our guys for realizing that's how we defend."

True freshman Venky Jois had a career high seven assists and equaled his career high with 14 rebounds for EWU, and he also had eight points and three blocked shots. Jois, however, missed the last 3:15 with an ankle injury, and Hayford said his status for Saturday will be a game-time decision.

Eastern used a 7-0 run to jump out to an early 15-11 lead on Chiverton's fastbreak basket with 10:52 to play. Chiverton then scored five-straight points to help EWU open a 25-17 lead with 6:50 left.

The Eagles then led by 10 on four occasions before settling for a 41-36 halftime lead.

Chiverton scored 12 points in the first half and Kelly had 10 as they combined for 9-of-15 shooting from the field. As a team , Eastern made 52 percent of its shots compared to 30 percent for the Bobcats.

Scores by Martin Seiferth with 17:21 and 15:07 left in the second half helped give EWU 13-point cushions before MSU rallied. But the difference for the Eagles were 10 second half points by Winford and Chiverton's six down the stretch. Those two players combined to make 11-of-23 shots from the field and 7-of-7 free throws.

"The big thing for us was down the stretch is that we had seniors step up," said Hayford. "Kevin was a great defensive rebounder in the second half, and Collin made free throws down the stretch. That's showing the young guys how to do it. When you get those kinds of contributions it will be fun. It is going to be a lot better result."

The Montana game begins at 6:05 p.m. Pacific time and will be televised live in the Eastern Washington region on SWX. As part of "Alumni Appreciation and White Out Reese Night" at Reese Court, the first 1,500 Eagle fans Saturday will receive free "Our House" t-shirts courtesy of Northern Quest Casino and Resort.

The radio broadcast of all Eastern games is on 700-AM ESPN, via the web at www.700espn.com and via iPhone application (search for "700 ESPN" and download the free app). The broadcast is also available via www.tunein.com and tunein's mobile phone app. Larry Weir returns for his 20th year as the play-by-play voice of the Eagles.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • PHOTOS: Hobo Spider season has arrived

    PHOTOS: Hobo Spider season has arrived

    Friday, August 29 2014 5:37 PM EDT2014-08-29 21:37:17 GMT
    KHQ.COM - Mid August is about the time that we start to see spiders come into our homes, particularly the hobo spider. August and September is mating season for the hobo and that means you may be seeing more funnel-like webs in and around your home. Males are on a mission to find a female which is why they are a lot more active at this time.>>
    KHQ.COM - Mid August is about the time that we start to see spiders come into our homes, particularly the hobo spider. August and September is mating season for the hobo and that means you may be seeing more funnel-like webs in and around your home. Males are on a mission to find a female which is why they are a lot more active at this time.
    >>
  • 2-year-old hit by car, hospitalized

    2-year-old hit by car, hospitalized

    Saturday, August 30 2014 1:45 PM EDT2014-08-30 17:45:12 GMT
    KAMIAH, Idaho - Idaho State Police arrested a 38-year-old woman for driving intoxicated and hitting a 2-year-old with her car in the town of Kamiah Friday night. Police responded to the crash scene at 9:21. ISP said Sarkisian G. Farnham was driving north on Hill Street near the Kamiah High School. >>
    KAMIAH, Idaho - Idaho State Police arrested a 38-year-old woman for driving intoxicated and hitting a 2-year-old with her car in the town of Kamiah Friday night. Police responded to the crash scene at 9:21. ISP said Sarkisian G. Farnham was driving north on Hill Street near the Kamiah High School. >>
  • PHOTOS: Priest Lake lots auctioned off

    PHOTOS: Priest Lake lots auctioned off

    Thursday, August 28 2014 8:46 PM EDT2014-08-29 00:46:58 GMT
    PRIEST LAKE, Idaho - 61 cottages sites on Priest Lake were auctioned off in Coeur d'Alene on Thursday. >>
    PRIEST LAKE, Idaho - 61 cottages sites on Priest Lake were auctioned off in Coeur d'Alene on Thursday. For years, those already living on the sites leased the land from the State of Idaho, but the State was looking to sell. Residents already living on the sites showed up on Thursday to buy them back, and many were successful. 


    >>
  • College SportsCollegeMore>>

  • Adams, Eagles Soar Past Montana-Western, 41-9

    Adams, Eagles Soar Past Montana-Western, 41-9

    CHENEY, Wash. -- Eastern Washington University became one of the first teams in college football to start the 2014 season 2-0 thanks to a 41-9 win over the University of Montana-Western at Roos Field on Saturday, Aug. 30.>>
    CHENEY, Wash. -- Eastern Washington University became one of the first teams in college football to start the 2014 season 2-0 thanks to a 41-9 win over the University of Montana-Western at Roos Field on Saturday, Aug. 30.>>
  • No. 25 Huskies Hold Off Hawaii, 17-16

    No. 25 Huskies Hold Off Hawaii, 17-16

    HONOLULU (AP) -- John Ross scored on a reverse and a 91-yard catch and No. 25 Washington held off Hawaii 17-16 on Saturday night despite a weak second half in coach Chris Petersen's Huskies debut.>>
    HONOLULU (AP) -- John Ross scored on a reverse and a 91-yard catch and No. 25 Washington held off Hawaii 17-16 on Saturday night despite a weak second half in coach Chris Petersen's Huskies debut.>>
  • Vandals Opener At Florida "Terminated"

    Vandals Opener At Florida "Terminated"

    there was one play Saturday night during the non-conference football game between the Idaho Vandals and Florida Gators. The winner of the evening, though, was the weather that included lightning and at times torrential rains.>>
    there was one play Saturday night during the non-conference football game between the Idaho Vandals and Florida Gators. The winner of the evening, though, was the weather that included lightning and at times torrential rains.>>
  • Eastern WashingtonEWUMore>>

  • Adams, Eagles Soar Past Montana-Western, 41-9

    Adams, Eagles Soar Past Montana-Western, 41-9

    CHENEY, Wash. -- Eastern Washington University became one of the first teams in college football to start the 2014 season 2-0 thanks to a 41-9 win over the University of Montana-Western at Roos Field on Saturday, Aug. 30.>>
    CHENEY, Wash. -- Eastern Washington University became one of the first teams in college football to start the 2014 season 2-0 thanks to a 41-9 win over the University of Montana-Western at Roos Field on Saturday, Aug. 30.>>
  • 2014 College Football Schedule on SWX

    College Football on SWX

    SWX is proud to present another exciting year of college football! Below is a listing of all the games slated to be broadcast during the 2014 season. All games will be shown LIVE on SWX in their respective regions, and all games will be seen in HD where available.>>
    SWX is proud to present another exciting year of college football! Below is a listing of all the games slated to be broadcast during the 2014 season. All games will be shown LIVE on SWX in their respective regions, and all games will be seen in HD where available.>>
  • LIVE ON SWX: EWU Won't Look Back Vs. Montana-Western

    LIVE ON SWX: EWU Won't Look Back Vs. Montana-Western

    In college football, you can't look back. And you can't look forward too much either. Coming off a monumental victory, the top-ranked Eastern Washington University football team remains at home to face Montana Western on Saturday ,Aug. 30, on Youth Football Day at Roos Field.>>
    In college football, you can't look back. And you can't look forward too much either. Coming off a monumental victory, the top-ranked Eastern Washington University football team remains at home to face Montana Western on Saturday ,Aug. 30, on Youth Football Day at Roos Field.
    >>