February 28, 2010 in Sports

Eagles finish with win

EWU men defeat Idaho State
Jason Shoot Correspondent
 

Kirk Earlywine isn’t waiting long to begin rebuilding his Eastern Washington men’s basketball program.

The Eagles gave their coach some pleasant thoughts to take with him on the recruiting trail when they held on for a 79-71 season-ending victory over Idaho State at Reese Court in a Big Sky conference game Saturday night.

EWU, which was eliminated from postseason contention with a loss to Weber State on Friday, finished its season 9-21 overall and placed seventh in the conference at 5-11. Idaho State ended its season 7-22 and 4-12 in the Big Sky.

Now 31-59 through three seasons at Eastern, Earlywine said he is leaving on a recruiting trip today. He added that he’ll skip the Big Sky tournament to focus on adding new players to a program that will be short five seniors who played their final collegiate games on Saturday.

“I couldn’t care less about the Big Sky teams still playing,” Earlywine said. “That’s not to be flip or glib. Our season is over. My job now is recruiting. It’s six weeks until the spring signing date. We have to continue to add pieces to the young guys we already have in the program. I’m leaving (today) to go recruit, and that will be my No. 1 focus for the next little while.”

EWU held a 42-32 lead over the Bengals at halftime, and Earlywine gave the floor to his five seniors for most of the second half. The group built a 15-point lead (61-46) before ISU roared back with a 10-0 run over 2 minutes to close within 61-56. Eastern recovered and scored the next eight points, however, to regain control.

“We’ve had a couple of times where we’ve let leads slip through our fingers,” Earlywine said. “I thought it was important that we come out in the second half and try to build on that lead. We didn’t let Idaho State cut into that lead immediately in the second half. And that was due to the play of the seniors.”

Seniors Mark Dunn and Gary Gibson scored 14 points apiece for the Eagles, and freshman Jeffrey Forbes made all four of his 3-point attempts en route to 12 points.

Dunn said he was proud of his teammates to hang on for the win.

“We were comfortable with each and shared the ball well,” Dunn said. “Taking care of the ball and rebounding were key. And we got some easy buckets in transition.”

Also for EWU, former Cheney High standout Matthew Brunell scored nine points in his final college game. Fellow senior Brandon Moore added eight points and 12 rebounds in his 116th career game, the third-most in school history.

Demetrius Monroe led all scorers with 20 points for ISU. Chron Tatum chipped in with 13 points.

Eastern Washington 79, Idaho State 71

 Idaho State (7-22, 4-12)- Monroe 10-13 0-0 20, Tatum 5-8 3-3 13, Morgan 3-8 3-6 10, Starks 3-4 0-0 7, Kilpatrick 2-9 2-2 8, Little 1-5 1-2 3, Lacey 1-2 0-0 2, Baldwin 2-3 0-0 6, Carson 0-3 2-2 2. Totals 27-55 11-15 71.

Eastern Washington (9-21, 5-11)- Brunell 2-4 4-6 9, Dunn 4-11 4-4 14, Moore 4-9 0-0 8, Valentine 2-9 3-4 8, Gibson 6-9 1-1 14, Dean 1-3 2-2 5, Forbes 4-5 0-0 12, Gibbs 0-0 0-0 0, Griffin 2-3 0-0 4, Winford 1-3 2-2 5. Totals 26-56 16-19 79.

Halftime—Eastern Washington 42, Idaho State 32. 3-Point Goals—Idaho State 6-16 (Kilpatrick 2-7, Baldwin 2-2, Morgan 1-4, Starks 1-2, Carson 0-1), Eastern Washington 11-23 (Forbes 4-4, Dunn 2-4, Valentine 1-6, Gibson 1-3, Winford 1-3, Brunell 1-2, Dean 1-1). Fouled Out—Moore, Tatum. Rebounds—Idaho State 27 (Monroe 8), Eastern Washington 33 (Moore 12). Assists—Idaho State 21 (Kilpatrick 9), Eastern Washington 20 (Gibson 5). Total Fouls—Idaho State 17, Eastern Washington 17. A—1,358.

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