Consider it a role reversal.
Eastern Washington was labeled the little school when it recently went on the road to face Pac-12 foes Washington State, Arizona and Oregon.
EWU (0-3) will be the program with the superior resources on Friday when it hosts NAIA power College of Idaho at Reese Court.
The Yotes (1-2), ranked No. 8 in the latest NAIA coaches poll, were added to the schedule on Wednesday to help make up for the loss of EWU’s game at UNLV, which was canceled after a member of the Runnin’ Rebels tested positive for COVID-19.
The Eagles’ home opener will have no spectators due to Spokane County’s social distancing restrictions. Fans can watch online at bigskyconf.com/watchbigsky.
College of Idaho has played a pair of Division I teams in losses at Boise State (86-49) and Utah State (90-64), earning its lone win against Montana Tech (79-70) last month.
The NAIA previously had two classifications in basketball, Division I and Division II, but merged this season. The Yotes were ranked as high No. 1 in NAIA II last season when they went 31-3 and posted a 20-0 mark in the Cascade Collegiate Conference.
College of Idaho is paced by guards Jalen Galloway (17.4 points per game) and Ricardo Time (14 ppg). Former EWU reserve guard Elijah Jackson transferred to the College of Idaho earlier this year. He’s coming off the bench, averaging roughly 20 minutes and three points a game.
Defending Big Sky Champion and preseason favorite EWU was down five players due to coronavirus protocols in a 71-68 loss to Washington State before falling 70-67 at Arizona last week. The Eagles dropped a 69-52 decision to Oregon on Monday.
Nine of EWU’s 15 active players have seen the floor this season, but head coach Shantay Legans get more opportunities on Friday.
“We have a lot of depth, and have even more players who haven’t played who are going to play,” Legans said. “We like to give players opportunities to see what they can do and see if they run with it. We have a lot of players, and we have to figure out who can get in there and do certain things and play roles. That’s the fun of coaching to figure that part out.”
The Eagles look to buck a trend of poor second-half shooting against the smaller Yotes after combining to shoot 6 for 45 from 3-point range after halftime in their three losses.
Five players average double figures for EWU, led by forwards Tyler Robertson (12.5 ppg) and Tanner Groves (11.3 ppg, 9 rebounds per game).
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