Ailing Eagles stumble in exhibition

Lack of point guard makes night painful

Not surprisingly, the nearly unfathomable run of injuries that continues to plague the Eastern Washington University men’s basketball team made the Eagles’ 66-60 exhibition loss to Montana State-Billings at Reese Court Monday night downright painful to watch. For everyone.

With sophomore Glen Dean, last year’s starting point guard, sidelined indefinitely with a stress fracture in his foot, and first-year junior college transfer Cliff Colimon unable to play because of an ankle sprain he sustained in practice Sunday, EWU found itself without a point guard against the NCAA Division II Yellowjackets.

As a result, coach Kirk Earlywine juggled things in an attempt to find some offensive consistency.

None was uncovered. Eastern shot a miserable 25 percent (15 of 60) from the floor and missed 13 of 40 free throw attempts in dropping its second, and final, exhibition game prior to Friday night’s regular-season and home opener against San Jose State.

“Offensively tonight, it was very obvious that we were playing without a point guard,” Earlywine said, after watching his team get only four assists. “And that was painful.”

Sophomore shooting guard Kevin Winford, playing out of position at the point, and first-year junior forward Cliff Ederaine each had 14 points for the Eagles. But Tremayne Johnson, another first-year junior forward, who scored 22 in EWU’s 87-82 exhibition loss to Seattle Pacific, had a mere nine.

Eastern’s three front-line starters were a combined 7 of 30..

“And how many of those were from point-blank?” Earlywine asked. “A lot of those shots were at the front of rim, but I thought they hurried a little bit and pressed a little bit.”

The Eagles made only two of their first 16 basket tries and trailed 30-23 at halftime. But they put together a nice 14-3 run coming out of intermission and took a 37-33 lead before suffering through a field-goal drought that lasted nearly 7½ minutes.

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