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Eagles Receive A Lift From Easy Win Over Missionaries

Sun., Dec. 31, 1995

Expect the euphoria of Eastern Washington University’s 93-59 men’s basketball victory over Whitman College in Cheney on Saturday night to last well into next year.

Or at least until Jan. 5.

“Any win’s a good win for us right now,” said EWU coach Steve Aggers, whose team plays host to Gonzaga on Thursday in a rematch of GU’s 68-55 romp on Dec. 22. “I don’t care who it’s against. Hopefully, it will help our confidence a little bit going into the Gonzaga game.”

For the 2-8 Eagles, the arrival of Whitman’s NAIA Missionaries couldn’t have come at a better time. Despite a 7-4 deficit in the opening minutes, EWU accomplished about everything it had hoped while rolling to a lead that grew to as many as 34 points.

A devastating 37-9 spree in the middle of the first half put the game away and pumped some much-needed life into the Eagles.

“It feels real good,” said guard D’mitri Rideout, who scored 10 of his 21 points in the spurt and had nine rebounds. “This is how we should be playing every night.”

Perhaps even more impressive than the scoring run was Eastern’s defense and rebounding during that stretch. The Eagles finished with a 55-22 advantage on the boards that proved too much for the Missionaries (4-4) to handle.

“They just dominated us,” said Whitman coach Skip Molitor. “They basically overwhelmed us that first 12 minutes or so.”

One key, said Aggers, was Curtis Porter’s defense on Whitman sharpshooter Dan Rough, who came into the game shooting 48 percent on 3-pointers. Against Porter, however, he hit just 2 of 6, both coming when the game was far out of reach.

“I think our defensive intensity was the key,” Aggers said. “Curtis did a nice job, and really, our whole team did a nice job. We took away their 3-point field goals and that’s one of the things they live and die on. As a team, they shoot 40 percent on 3s.”

The suffocating defense translated into an array of easy baskets, including a dunk by Kevin Groves with 13 minutes left, Rideout’s short jumper in the lane 9 minutes later and nine uncontested layups in between.

Adam Dean contributed 20 points and 13 rebounds. Even 6-foot-8, 295-pound center Melvin Lewis got into the act, albeit when the pace slowed a bit. Still playing himself into shape, he scored nine points, grabbed nine rebounds and gave his team something more to look forward to when Big Sky Conference play begins Jan. 12.

“If we play to our potential, we can play with anybody,” said Rideout. “We’ve got big boy (Lewis) back here and there’s no reason why we can’t compete.”

“Initially, I said it wouldn’t be until Jan. 15 before he’d be ready to make a real impact,” said Aggers, “and in fact, it may even be a bit longer. But I think he’s getting there.”

Former West Valley High standout Andrew Schillinger had two assists for Whitman.

EWU 93, Whitman 59

Whitman (4-4) - Edins 5-14 5-8 17, Jones 6-13 3-4 15, Van Divort 3-5 0-0

6, Schillinger 0-5 0-0 0, Rough 3-12 0-0 8, Huff 0-0 0-0 0, Athay 0-0 0-0 0, Keyser 2-4 2-2 6, Mosley 3-7 1-2 7, Rukavina 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 22-62 11-16 59.

E. Washington (2-8) - Sims 4-6 0-0 8, Porter 1-6 0-0 2, Dean 9-12 2-2 20, Thompson 1-2 0-0 2, King 2-4 0-0 6, Lewis 4-7 1-2 9, Carter 5-8 0-1 12, Egan 2-7 4-4 8, Rideout 9-12 2-2 21, Groves 2-4 1-3 5. Totals 39-68 10-14 93.

Halftime-E. Washington 47, Whitman 23. 3-Point goals-E. Washington 5-12 (King 2-4, Carter 2-4, Rideout 1-1) Whitman 4-17 (Eddens 2-4, Rough 2-6). Fouled out- None. Rebounds-E. Washington 55 (Dean 13) Whitman 22 (Jones, Rukavina 4 each). Assists-E. Washington 21 (Porter 5) Whitman 9 (Schillinger, Rough, Mosley, 2 each) Total fouls-E. Washington 19, Whitman 17. Technicals-Jones. A-845.

, DataTimes

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