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Eastern’s young players gain valuable experience

Thu., Feb. 21, 2013

In one of the paradoxes of the Eastern Washington basketball season, the Eagles are seemingly getting younger as the season goes on.

Injuries (to senior guards Kevin Winford and Jeffrey Forbes), departures (by point guard Justin Crosgile) and other issues (including a lengthy absence for personal reasons by senior Collin Chiverton) have forced head coach Jim Hayford into a dozen different starting lineups.

A team loaded with underclassmen has seen those sophomores and freshmen move from the bench to the starting rotation. In EWU’s last seven games, an average of 61 percent of the minutes played came from underclassmen.

“It’s a year of investment,” Hayford said. “All the minutes we can get the (underclass) guys this year are going to pay off down the road.”

The payoff is already coming from redshirt freshman Tyler Harvey, who scored a game-high 23 points at Portland State on Monday.

Scoring struggles

WSU has felt the absence of starting point guard Mike Ladd, although the Cougars’ other guards have at least stepped up in the scoring department.

Royce Woolridge scored in double figures for the seventh consecutive game in Wednesday’s 69-57 loss at Arizona State. DaVonte Lacy managed double- figure scoring in five of WSU’s last six games.

Brock Motum, who led the Cougars with 17 points on Wednesday, has scored in double figures in each of WSU’s 27 games.

With that performance, Motum moved into eighth on WSU’s all-time scoring list with 1,413 points.

New German national team coach Frank Menz is in Spokane to see Gonzaga senior forward Elias Harris, who took a two-year break from the national team to work on his game. Menz was on the East Coast, visiting three Germans who play for Connecticut and Boston College’s Patrick Heckmann.

“Of course (Harris) has a chance to make the national team and play in the European championships this summer,” Menz said. “He could be an important part of that team.”

Harris is averaging 14.5 points and 7.5 rebounds.

“I love playing for and representing my country and it’s obviously something I want to do in the long run,” Harris said. “The last two years I had to be a little selfish, do things in my best interests, get stronger and develop my game and work on my skills. I think it worked out for me.”

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