T-birds soar over Eagles

Second-half funk costs EWU victory

CEDAR CITY, Utah – Wade Collie scored 18 points, grabbed nine rebounds and Southern Utah jumped out to an 11-2 lead to begin the game and never looked back, defeating Eastern Washington 69-55 on Saturday night.

Southern Utah (7-12, 5-5 Big Sky) had two others in double figures against the Eagles with Damon Heuir tossing in 17 points and Jackson Stevenett chipping in with 16 points and six rebounds.

Down 11-2, the Eagles fought back with a 16-6 run to take an 18-17 lead with 10:23 to go in the first half and eventually led 33-31 at halftime.

Southern Utah took over after halftime however, opening the second half with a 24-12 run capped off by Stevenett’s jumper to make it 55-45 with 8:15 remaining and kept its double-digit lead for the rest of the game.

Collin Chiverton had 14 points – but made just 4 of 13 shots – to lead Eastern Washington (4-15, 2-7) and freshman Venky Jois had 11 points, seven rebounds, two blocked shots, two assists and a steal.

Eastern failed to win on its three-game road stretch, but led at halftime in two of them plus its last home game – a loss to Sacramento State.

“It looked exactly the same as our last three games,” said Eastern head coach Jim Hayford. “Of course, the other team is going to up their intensity and we need to do that as well. We have to stick with the game plan for the whole 40 minutes – especially the first 5 minutes of the second half. That’s when we have to go to our go-to plays even more.”

The good news for EWU is that it returns to Reese Court for a trio of games. The Eagles host Portland State on Monday to end the first half of conference play, then is host to Montana State on Thursday and Montana on Saturday.

The Eagles have enjoyed halftime leads in nine games this season, but have lost six of them.

 “We have to push ourselves through this – it’s a 40-minute game,” said Hayford of the myriad of obstacles his team has had to overcome this season. “We have to believe in ourselves. I love our players and they have good character.”

The Eagles shot just 30 percent in the second half, including just 3 of 13 from the 3-point stripe.

Southern Utah 69, EWU 55

 Eastern Washington (4-15, 2-7)—Reuter 1-4 0-6 2, Jois 3-6 5-6 11, Seiferth 0-3 0-0 0, Kelly 3-9 0-0 7, Winford 2-9 2-2 7, Harvey 0-0 0-0 0, Hill 1-1 3-5 5, Dorsey 1-2 0-0 2, Jorg 0-0 0-0 0, Forbes 0-0 0-0 0, Chiverton 4-13 3-5 14, Hickert 3-7 0-0 7. Totals 18-54 13-24 55.

Southern Utah (7-12, 5-5)—Stevenett 7-10 0-0 16, Jeffery 0-2 1-2 1, Cheesman 3-7 1-3 7, Heuir 6-14 5-5 17, Johnson 0-4 0-0 0, Ghormley 0-0 0-0 0, Nsenki 0-1 0-0 0, Thomas 0-0 0-0 0, Renfro 0-0 0-0 0, Collie 7-15 4-5 18, Koehler 0-0 0-0 0, Hanks 2-4 4-4 8, Hess 1-4 0-0 2. Totals 26-61 15-19 69.

Halftime—E. Washington 33-31. 3-Point Goals—E. Washington 6-24 (Chiverton 3-8, Hickert 1-4, Kelly 1-5, Winford 1-5, Reuter 0-2), S. Utah 2-10 (Stevenett 2-2, Johnson 0-1, Hess 0-2, Collie 0-2, Heuir 0-3). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—E. Washington 38 (Hickert, Jois 7), S. Utah 44 (Collie 9). Assists—E. Washington 8 (Hill, Jois, Kelly 2), S. Utah 13 (Johnson 6). Total Fouls—E. Washington 19, S. Utah 23. Technicals—Chiverton, Cheesman. A—3,081.

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