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Redhawks finish off Eagles in OT

Eastern Washington University shot the ball horribly and executed poorly down the stretch in both regulation and overtime play Tuesday night, suffering a 63-59 overtime loss to Seattle University at Reese Court.

You can read an unedited version of the game story that will appear in Wednesday’s S-R below.

 


POOR SHOOTING, BAD FINISHES DO IN EASTERN 

Eastern Washington University failed to finish Tuesday night.

 

 

Twice.

 

 

And those two ill-timed collapses, along with some horrendous long-range shooting, ended up costing the Eagles in a big way as NCAA Division-I fledgling Seattle University battled back from a six-point deficit in the final 40 seconds and posted a 63-59 overtime win at

Reese Court
.

 

 

The Redhawks (18-6) got a game-high 19 points from senior forward Austen Powers – including a clutch 3-pointer that forced the extra period – in winning their 10th straight game and leaving Eastern coach Kirk Earlywine wondering how his Eagles (12-16) will react to the unexpected loss when Portland State comes calling for Saturday night’s regular-season finale.

 

 

“At this point, I really don’t know,” Earlywine said, when asked about his team’s ability to bounce back against PSU in a game that could determine whether Eastern qualifies for the six-team Big Sky Conference Tournament that begins next week.

 

 

“We have to give them tomorrow off, and then hope they come back and play a little smart and allow themselves to be coached a little bit more going into the Portand State game.”

 

 

To have any chance against the Vikings, Eastern will need to shoot the ball much better than it did on Tuesday, especially from the perimeter.  Against Seattle, the Eagles made only two of 19 3-point attempts and ended up shooting just 36 percent (18-50) from the floor.

 

 

Leading scorer Benny Valentine and his backcourt running mate Adris DeLeon were a combined 1-for-14 from the field and 0-for-9 from 3-point range. Valentine finished with just eight points, almost eight below his average, and DeLeon failed to score – negating a decent effort by EWU’s post tandem of Brandon Moore and Matthew Brunell, who combined for 25 points and 13 rebounds.

 

 

Earlywine bemoaned the lack of production from his perimeter players, along with the way they failed to exploit the size advantage Eastern had inside.

 

 

“We still could have won tonight if they would have just realized what the hell was happening out there and that our three big guys (Moore, Brunell and Mark Dunn) were a combined 10-for-17,” he said. “And if wasn’t for lack of being told.

 

 

“But listening and hearing has seemed to become a really big problem with this group, in terms of doing what the coach is saying.”

 

 

Despite having little to play for, the Eagles showed some energy early in opening up a 10-point first-half lead. And they were still up 54-48 with just under 40 seconds left in regulation, before missing a couple of big free throws down the stretch and letting the Redhawks force overtime when Powers drained a 3-pointer from the right wing with four seconds remaining.

 

 

Eastern, which scored its last field goal with just over four minutes left in regulation, hit three free throws early in the extra period to take a 59-58 lead, but Seattle answered with a three-point play by Mike Boxley with 31 seconds remaining, and Valentine turned the ball over on two straight possessions to make it stand up.

 

 

Earlywine realized coming in that there was a good chance his team might overlook the Redhawks, who are in their first season as a D-I school since 1980.

 

 

“There was no way around that,” he said. “I knew how dangerous it was, because Seattle U. is very good. I tried to express that to players, but … ”

 

 

The importance of Saturday night’s game against PSU, which tips off at 7:05 p.m., won’t be fully determined until Thursday night’s three Big Sky games play out.  But the Eagles probably need a win to have any chance of making the conference tournament.

 


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Jim Allen Sports reporter Jim Allen's primary coverage areas are Eastern Washington University football and men's basketball, and college and high school soccer. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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