Saturday, February 22, 2014

EWU Hits Vegas

On the way to Southern Utah the guys spent the day together hanging at the pool and on the strip. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Guards Drew Brandon & Tyler Harvey Honored for Big Numbers in Eagle Home Sweep

Eastern point guard has back-to-back outings of nine assists and only one turnover, while sharpshooter has 53 points with 12 3-pointers in double-digit wins over Sacramento State and Northern Arizona

After impressive victories by 13 and 19 points in a weekend home sweep, guards Drew Brandon and Tyler Harvey both received player of the week honors Monday (Feb. 17) for the Eastern Washington University men’s basketball team.
Brandon was named by College Sports Madness as not only its Big Sky Conference Player of the Week, but its Mid-Major Player of the Week as well after a weekend highlighted by 18 assists with only two turnovers in 75 minutes of action.
Harvey was selected by the Big Sky Conference as its Player of the Week for the second time this season. Now ranking in the top 11 in NCAA Division I in three categories, Harvey scored 37 points in an 84-65 victory over previously second-place Northern Arizona, and had 16 one game earlier in an 85-72 win versus Sacramento State.
Brandon, a junior from Corona, Calif., and a transfer from Sierra College in California, also had 26 points, 13 rebounds and a pair of steals in the sweep, and made 14-of-15 free throws to help EWU ice wins. He is ranked 31st this week in NCAA Division I with an average of 5.6 assists per game to lead the league.
“Drew is playing complete games,” said Eastern head coach Jim Hayford. “He’s a defender, a rebounder, he runs our offense and he takes care of the ball. He is coming into his own.”
Harvey, a sophomore from Torrance, Calif., made 12-of-21 3-point shots last week and is now ranked fourth in the nation with an average of 3.76 per game. He is also ninth in 3-point field goal percentage (45.6 percent) and is 11th in scoring (21.6). With 94 3-pointers for the season, he is just nine from the school record of 103 and 30 from the Big Sky Conference record of 124.
“Tyler is being recognized for his great individual play that is leading to team success,” said Hayford. “I am very happy for him. He works hard and deserves the honor.”
Eastern has won four of its last five games and next plays at Southern Utah on Saturday (Feb. 22) followed by a home game next Monday (Feb. 24) versus Portland State. Both games start at 6:05 p.m. Pacific time and are carried live on ESPN 700-AM and

More on Drew Brandon . . .

Ranking 31st in NCAA Division I in assists (5.6), he is among the league leaders in four categories. He has averages of 11.1 points (23rd), 6.9 rebounds (sixth), 5.6 assists (first) and an assist-to-turnover ratio of +2.3 (first) after his first 25 games in NCAA Division I. In league only statistics, he is leading in assists (5.6), assist-to-turnover ratio (+2.2) and is sixth in rebounding (7.0).
Brandon had 18 assists and just two turnovers in 75 total minutes in EWU’s home sweep over Sacramento State and Northern Arizona – including performances of nine assists and one turnover in each game. The transfer from Sierra College in California also had 26 points and 13 rebounds in the two games, and made 14-of-15 free throws.
He already has five double-doubles, including a near-miss of a triple-double with 15 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds versus Montana State in a 77-72 win. He had a double double-double during one homestand this season -- he had 11 points and 13 rebounds versus North Dakota on Jan. 30, then had 15 points and 12 assists in a 94-90 overtime victory over Northern Colorado on Feb. 1. His 12 assists were a career high, and rank as the fourth-most in school history (the record is 18). He followed that with his fifth double figure rebounding game with 10 at Montana State on Feb. 6, then had a career-high 19 points at Montana two nights later. He finished with 13 points, 14 rebounds and six assists versus Washington on Nov. 17 in just his second D-I game. He was the lone newcomer to EWU’s opening night starting lineup.

More on Tyler Harvey . . .

In NCAA Division I statistics through games of Feb. 16, Harvey is fourth in 3-pointers made per game (3.76), ninth in 3-point percentage (45.6 percent), 11th in scoring (21.6) and 25th in free throw percentage (.882). The combined shooting rankings of Harvey add up to 13, ranking him second nationally. The national leader is Ethan Wragge of Creighton with a total ranking of 12th (9th 3.32, 3rd 48.3).
Harvey continues to lead the Big Sky in scoring (21.6), ahead of North Dakota’s Troy Huff (19.6), Montana’s Kareem Jamar (19.6) and Weber State’s Davion Berry (19.1). He also leads in 3-pointers made per game (3.8) and free throw percentage (.882), and is fifth in 3-point field goal percentage (.456). In league only statistics, Harvey leads in scoring (23.4), 3-pointers made per game (3.9) and free throw percentage (.892).
Harvey hit nine 3-pointers en route to a 37-point outing in EWU’s 84-65 win over Northern Arizona on Feb. 15, to go along with performances of 36 and 38 he’s had since Jan. 23. Now with three of the top 17 performances in school history, only Rodney Stuckey (45, 38, 36, 36) and David Peed (44, 37, 37) have accomplished that feat in school history. Harvey made nine 3-pointers against NAU, coming one from the school record he tied on Feb. 1 in his 38-point effort versus Northern Colorado.
Now just nine 3-pointers from the school record of 103, Harvey is climbing the Big Sky list as well. His 94 are tied for eighth with two players, including current Portland Trailblazer Damian Lillard of Weber State (2012). Former BSC record holder Shannon Taylor from Eastern is third on the list with 103 in 1999, and the league record is 124 set by Stephen Sir of NAU in 2007.
Not only is he the Big Sky’s leading scorer, but Harvey has become a dead-eye free throw shooter for the Eagles. A year ago in early February, Harvey was barely seeing the court for the Eagles. But he earned playing time at the end of the season, and has scored in double figures in 31 of EWU’s last 33 games, with a streak of 23 snapped versus North Dakota on Jan. 30. The sophomore made only 43.5 percent of his free throws as a freshman, but this season is leading the Big Sky in games overall (.882) and leads in league play (.892). He has made 74-of-81 (.913) in his last nine outings, a 13-of-13 effort at Northern Arizona on Jan. 16, a Big Sky and EWU record 20-of-20 versus Southern Utah on Jan. 23, an 8-of-8 in a 38-point effort versus Northern Colorado on Feb. 1 and an 11-of-11 effort at Montana on Feb. 8.
Harvey has averaged 20.4 points per game in his last 33 games as an Eagle after averaging 1.3 points in his first 13 outings. In fact, his improvement by roughly 14 points per game ranks among the top 10 in the nation. A year ago in EWU’s last eight games, he scored 132 points (16.5 average) on 55 percent shooting from the field (52-of-94, including 20-of-44 3-point attempts). In the first 13 games he played in the 2012-13 season, Harvey scored just 17 points (by contrast, in the first 13 games this season he scored 261 with an average of 20.1 per game). In his freshman season, he played in 21 of EWU’s 31 games and averaged 14.0 minutes and 7.1 points per game. He currently has a 15.0 career scoring average in 46 games (29 as a starter).

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Eagles finish the weekend sweep with 84-65 win over Northern Arizona

Tyler Harvey finishes one away from the school record with nine 3-pointers en route to a 37-point outburst for Eagles
Highlights -

It seemed the further away the Eagles shot the ball, the better they were.
Fueled by a season high 16 3-pointers – including nine by Tyler Harvey on his way to a 37-point outing – the Eastern Washington University men’s basketball team completed a weekend sweep with an 84-65 victory over second-place Northern Arizona  Saturday (Feb. 15) at Reese Court in Cheney, Wash.
Eastern led the entire way for the second-straight game as the Eagles improved to 7-7 in the Big Sky Conference and 12-13 overall. In addition to a wire-to-wire 85-72 victory versus Sacramento State on Thursday (Feb. 13), the Eagles will move into at least sixth in the league standings, and perhaps as high as fifth, depending on the outcome of games later Saturday.
Junior Parker Kelly had four of the 3-pointers and finished with 12 points. Junior point guard Drew Brandon also finished with 12 points, and had nine assists, seven rebounds and two steals. Sophomore Venky Jois chipped in nine points and seven rebounds.
 “We needed to defend our home court this weekend, and we did that,” said Eastern head coach Jim Hayford. “It is a very gratifying feeling as a coach. What we are starting to see from our team is more consistency in the performance from each individual, and as we get that we are going to be more competitive in every game.”
Northern Arizona fell to 8-6 in the league and 11-14 overall. Earlier this season, the Eagles lost on the road to NAU (84-65) and Sac State (75-64).
Eastern will return to the road next Saturday (Feb. 22) to face Southern Utah before hosting Portland State the following Monday (Feb. 24). The Thunderbirds are 0-13 in the league thus far heading into Saturday’s home game with Idaho State.
The Eagles finished 16-of-30 from the 3-point line versus NAU, coming just two made treys from the record of 18 set against New Hope on Dec. 4, 2010. Eastern also had 16 treys in a 94-90 overtime win over Northern Colorado on Feb. 1.
“We recruit to shoot,” explained Hayford. “If players are three-point shooters, they want to come here. We let it fly and we are among the nation’s leaders in that.
“What we need to recognize is when they take away the three we need to balance that with attacking the rim,” he continued. “I think our guys are starting to find that balance. If they are going to let us shoot it, we’ll shoot it because we have some guys who are really good shooters.”
The 53 percent shooting night from the 3-point arc exceeded EWU’s shooting everywhere else on the court -- Eastern made only 11-of-28 (39 percent) from 2-point range, and was also only 14-of-23 (61 percent) from the free throw line.
Eastern also had a 41-33 rebounding advantage over the Lumberjacks and finished with just 12 turnovers. Brandon had a 9-to-1 assist to turnover ratio for the second-straight game.
“We really challenged our front line to take it at them, and we out-rebounded them by eight,” said Hayford. “We had a few more turnovers than I liked in the second half, but we have been keeping that number pretty low. We played a complete game, and that is why we are here.
“Drew this weekend had 18 assists and two turnovers,” he added. “When you are getting that kind of play from your point guard you are going to be hard to beat.”
 Harvey came one away from the individual record 3-point record he shares with Kevin Winford, who had 10 versus New Hope. Harvey made 10 treys on Feb. 1 versus Northern Colorado en route to a career high 38 points.
“They went to a box and one on Tyler, but Tyler just had another special day,” said Hayford. “He is an outstanding player, and I am really pleased with his performance.”
Eastern made 8-of-13 3-pointers in the first half and used a pair of big runs to open up an 18-point first-half lead. Harvey scored 16 of his points in the first half on 4-of-8 shooting from the 3-point arc.
Harvey hit a pair of early treys and the Eagles jumped out to a quick 11-1 lead. After NAU cut the margin to five, the Eagles went on a 21-6 run and opened a 32-14 lead with 5:21 to play. Harvey scored seven points in that run, and four different Eagles made 3-pointers.
Eastern made only 6-of-19 2-point shots and 3-of-11 free throws in the first half, otherwise, EWU’s 39-26 halftime lead would have been much larger. Northern Arizona’s Len Springs had all six of his school-record six blocked shots in first half.
Harvey hit a pair of 3-pointers to open the second half and the Eagles took a 46-26 lead. A 10-2 NAU run cut the lead to 12, but Harvey then hit three more treys to put the Eagles up 59-40.
Later, Kelly hit a trio of 3-pointers and the Eagles took a 70-51 lead with 8:22 remaining. The Eagles led by as many as 22 and no less than 16 the rest of the way.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Eastern Gets Season Sweep over Bobcats With 79-50 Road Rout

Eagles dominate in all facets in most complete game of the season to improve to 5-6 in the Big Sky



The Eagles were hoping for their first road win of the season, but a road rout was a bonus.
The Eastern Washington University men’s basketball team opened up an early double-digit lead and dominated in all facets of the game to win for the first time in 11 tries on an opponent home court with a 79-50 romp past Montana State Thursday (Feb. 6) at Worthington Arena in Bozeman, Mont.
“Somebody asked what happiness is, and tonight happiness is a road win,” said Eastern head coach Jim Hayford, whose team had its best defensive performance – by 12 points -- against a NCAA Division I opponent this season.
Big Sky scoring leader Tyler Harvey had 19 points, and career highs of eight assists and four steals to lead Eastern’s all-around team effort. Venky Jois had 15 points, six rebounds, four assists and a pair of steals, and Martin Seiferth finished with 12 points and nine boards. Parker Kelly came off the bench and chipped in 11 points and five rebounds.
All nine Eagles who played scored in the game and eight had at least one rebound. The only defensive performance this season that was better was holding Walla Walla to 44 points, and the previous best versus a DI opponent was 62 versus Montana in January. Eastern entered the game allowing a league-worst 76.8 points per game.
“We played a really complete game, especially on defense and on the boards,” praised Hayford. “We shared the ball very well on offense. They were really keying on Tyler and he was able to run offense that got other guys baskets off the pressure they were putting on him.
 “And he had only one turnover,” Hayford added. “He did a really good job of not forcing things. He did what he needed to do.”
Eastern had a 38-22 rebounding advantage, its best against a NCAA Division I opponent this season. The previous best was 12 against Boston back on Nov. 22. The Eagles had a rebounding advantage in only four of their last 16 games entering Thursday.
The Eagles also made 53 percent of their shots from the field, compared to only 39 percent for the Bobcats. Eastern, the second-best team in the Big Sky in 3-point shooting defense (.342), held MSU to 24 percent (4-of-17) from beyond the arc.
“We wanted to exert our will, and make it a game of our size over their speed,” explained Hayford. “We established Martin early in the first half with 10 points, and he played really big. We followed a game plan for 40 minutes.”
Eastern has now won two games in a row and is 5-6 in the Big Sky and 10-12 overall. Overall, the Eagles are 1-10 on opponent home courts, having not won on the road since beating Idaho State in Pocatello 87-73 on March 7, 2013. Eastern is 7-2 at home and 2-0 on neutral courts.
The Bobcats, who lost to Montana 70-66 in Bozeman on Monday, are now 5-6 in the league and 10-12 overall. Eastern is now a perfect 5-for-5 in football and men’s basketball games against the Bobcats and Grizzlies during the 2013-14 school year. Eastern has never won more than four of the six meetings in any previous season.
The Eagles remain on the road to face Montana on Saturday (Feb. 8) at Dahlberg Arena in Missoula. The game begins at 6:05 p.m. Pacific time and will be carried live on ESPN 700-AM and The Grizzlies defeated Portland State 82-76 in overtime on Thursday in Missoula, and are now 11-9 overall and 6-5 in the league.
Earlier this season, the Eagles beat Montana 69-62 and Montana State 77-72 at home. Besides facing the Grizzlies on Monday, the Bobcats also had a road game last week.
“Maybe they were a little out of gas, but we’ll take it,” Hayford said. “At the end of the year you have 20 Big Sky games, and it doesn’t matter where you win them and if you win them by one or 30. And here we are at 5-6.”
Led by Harvey’s early assists and steals -- and Seiferth’s 10 points -- the Eagles opened a 17-6 lead just nine minutes into the game. Eastern continued to pour it on, and led 36-18 just before halftime on a 3-pointer by Harvey.
After leading 36-20 at intermission, Kelly hit a pair of 3-pointers in an 8-2 run to start the second half and open a 22-point lead. The advantage ballooned to 27 with a 10-2 run later in the half. The Eagles took their biggest lead of the game at 29 with 1:01 left on a 3-pointer by reserve Felix Von Hofe.
“Our players didn’t let any drama enter the game,” added Hayford. “They came out and beat them in the first half and beat them in the second half.”

Monday, February 3, 2014

Tyler Harvey Has EWU’s Sixth-Best Scoring Output in Overtime Victory

After scoring just seven on Thursday night, sophomore guard nets 38 with a school-record 10 3-pointers in Eastern’s 94-90 win over Northern Colorado

Highlights -

Tyler Harvey is back. And so are the winning ways for the Eagles.
Sophomore guard Tyler Harvey rebounded from his lowest scoring output of the year by making a school-record 10 3-pointers and totaling 38 points as the Eastern Washington University men’s basketball team defeated Northern Colorado 94-90 in overtime Saturday (Feb. 1) at Reese Court in Cheney, Wash.
“Our guys stepped up and took victory out of the jaws of defeat instead of snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory,” said Eastern head coach Jim Hayford. “That is something we need to keep learning, so today was an important step for our program.”
Harvey made a 3-pointer that helped send the game into overtime, then made his record-tying 10th trey to open the extra period and give EWU the lead for good. He tied the record of 10 by Kevin Winford against New Hope on Dec. 4, 2010, and his 38 points equaled current Detroit Piston Rodney Stuckey for the sixth-most in school history.
Harvey finished 10-of-15 from the 3-point stripe after going just 1-of-8 from the line and finishing just seven points in his last outing against North Dakota.
“To go 10-of-15 after going 1-of-8 on Thursday night shows that Tyler doesn’t lack any confidence,” explained Hayford. “He believes in his game, and he believes in his teammates. He understands when he has a great shot it is his role to take it. There are a lot of players that would have come off of Thursday night and said, ‘oh I am not going to shoot it’. He understands what his role is.”
The Eagles, who led by as many as 14 in the second half, made 55.2 percent of their 3-pointers in the game (16-of-29). Eastern came just two away from the record of 18 set against New Hope.
Overall, Eastern made 54.4 percent of its shots – its best shooting performance since Nov. 22 and its first 50 percent night since Nov. 29.
Four Eagles scored in double figures, including 15 points, a career-high 12 assists, seven rebounds and two steals by point guard Drew Brandon. The assists performance by the Big Sky leader was the fourth-most in school history, and his third of the season with at least 10.
“There was a lot of pressure on Drew, particularly down the stretch in the second half,” said Hayford. “(It was outstanding) for him to come away with 12 assists and then make clutch free throws. He had a clutch basket in overtime which takes great maturity and that is what this team needs.”
Junior Parker Kelly, who had scored just eight points in his last two games, came off the bench to score 17 points and grab six rebounds. Junior Martin Seiferth also came off the bench and had 10 points, six rebounds and three blocked shots. The Eagles finished with a season-high 30 bench points.
“I joked with Parker after the game and told him, ‘well that solves our bench production if we take you off the bench and you play like that,” said Hayford. “It just shows you his great character. Parker has been in a slump. He is a tough kid. He didn’t complain, and there wasn’t any conversation about it. He was just like, ‘if you call my number I’ll be ready.’
“I felt like Martin is giving us a defensive adjustment off the bench we didn’t have before,” he continued. “Maybe that is part of the chemistry we are figuring out.”
Eastern is now 4-6 in the Big Sky and 9-12 overall, while the Bears fell to 13-6 on the season and 7-3 in the league. Northern Colorado was swept this weekend after leading the league and entering ranked 13th in this week’s Mid-Major top 25 poll. They were picked to finish fourth in the Big Sky by both the coaches and media, just ahead of the Eagles.
Eastern now heads back on the road to face Montana State (Feb. 6) and Montana (Feb. 8). EWU’s next home game is Feb. 13 versus Sacramento State.
Seiferth and Venky Jois continued to inch closer to the career blocked shots record on Saturday. Each had three against the Bears, and Seiferth’s 98 blocks now rank second in school history, only one behind the school record of 99 (Paul Butorac 2004-07). Jois is right behind with 97.
The Eagles and Bears are the top scoring teams in the league, but combined for just 118 in their most recent outings. Eastern scored 61 points in a 73-61 loss to North Dakota on Thursday, while UNC was held to 57 in an 80-57 loss to Portland State that knocked the Bears out of first place in the league standings. Both EWU and UNC made less than 40 percent of their shots from the field (37.7 and 39.3 percent, respectively) after entering the game with combined averages of 150.1 points per outing (UNC 75.4, EWU 74.7).
The Bears jumped out to an early 18-6 lead as Eastern made only two of its first 10 shots. The Eagles managed to pull within three, then used an 11-0 run to take a 35-28 advantage. Four different Eagles hit 3-pointers in the run as Eastern ended the half by making 12 of its last 17 shots.
Eastern shot at a 52 percent clip in the first half, including 9-of-15 from the 3-point arc. Kelly had 11 of his points plus a pair of blocked shots in the first 20 minutes. Northern Colorado made 48 percent, but missed eight of its last 10 shots.
The Eagles remained hot after intermission, and Harvey’s eighth trey of the game gave EWU a 59-45 lead with 11:59 to play. But an 8-0 UNC run got the Bears back in the game, and eventually they took a pair of three-point leads.
After Harvey’s 3-pointer knotted the game at 81, he blocked a potential game-winning attempt by UNC’s Tate Unruh that send the game to overtime. He opened the extra period with a trey, then Brandon fed Jois for a dunk and a 5-point lead.
Brandon scored EWU’s next four points with a layup and a pair of free throws, then Harvey and Kelly each hit a pair in the final 28 seconds to wrap up the victory.