There’s already plenty on the line Saturday at Reese Court, including the last game for four Eastern Washington seniors and a chance for guard Jeffrey Forbes to equal the school record for game appearances.
And there’s the matter of a must-win Big Sky basketball game against North Dakota, an opportunity for the Eagles to stay in the hunt for the postseason.
“It’s going to be incredible,” said Forbes, a senior from Federal Way, Wash., who already has a school-record 104 starts in his career. Today, Forbes will equal the school record for games played with 119 when the Eagles face North Dakota at 2:05 p.m.
In addition to Forbes, Reese Court will say farewell to guard Kevin Winford and forwards Collin Chiverton and Jordan Hickert.
Eastern is still alive for one of seven berths in the Big Sky tournament, but its hopes are slender. Sitting ninth in the standings after an 88-80 overtime loss to Northern Colorado on Thursday, the Eagles are 6-11 in the conference and 9-19 overall with just three games to play.
However, Eastern is just one game out of eighth, 11/2 games from seventh and two games out of a current three-way tie for fourth.
“There is still going to be some crazy stuff happening in this league,” Eastern coach Jim Hayford said. “We will have to see where we are – if we can get two wins – going into the last game of the year.”
Eastern closes the season with road games at Idaho State on Thursday and Weber State on March 9. The Big Sky tournament is March 14-16 at the site of the regular-season champion – either Montana or Weber State.
In addition to looking ahead at the final days of the season, it’s tempting to look back.
“I’m going to miss it a whole lot,” Forbes said. “The fans, the staff … it’s more than you can imagine and it means a lot to me.”
Winford, from Anchorage, Alaska, has started 46 games in his career, and appeared in 111 – seventh-most in school history, averaging 19.5 minutes per game. He has made 138 of 409 3-pointers in his career to rank fifth at EWU in both categories.
Chiverton, a junior college transfer from San Jose, Calif., who came to Eastern in 2011, was the Big Sky Newcomer of the Year in 2011-12, averaged 13.9 points a game that season while hitting better than 40 percent of his 3-point attempts. This year Chiverton is averaging 10.6 points a game.
Hickert, a transfer from Neosho (Kan.) Community College who is originally from Bunbury, Australia, was an all-Big Sky Academic selection last season. In two seasons, he has appeared in 56 games while averaging 2.9 points a game.