Tag Archives: Eastern Washington Eagles

Don Verlin on Idaho’s trip to Northridge

1 Dec

We talked with Idaho men’s hoops coach Don Verlin yesterday about the Vandals’ road trip to Cal State-Northridge Thursday, where they’ll face the 2009 Big West champion Matadors. While a big game is coming up Sunday at home against the #25 Portland Pilots, Verlin said his Vandals can’t afford to look past a fast-paced, steal-happy Northridge team.

As a special bonus, here’s an outtake from our Eastern Washington game coverage — a postgame interview with Marvin Jefferson.

Good Morning Vandal Nation: Nov. 30, 2009

30 Nov

As the morning dawns and students flock back to campus, we’re down in the home stretch of the semester. It was an up and down weekend for Idaho sports, but this week promises to hold great opportunities on the hardwood.

On Saturday, Idaho ended its home football season with an disappointing loss to Utah State, after defensive breakdowns once again put the Vandals in a hole they couldn’t dig out of. But Don Verlin’s hoopsters provided a boost that night with a decisive home win over Eastern Washington to go to 4-1, their best start in decades.

Then, Sunday brought the first victory for Idaho’s women, who struggled early on with shooting woes and the loss of team leader Derisa Taleni. Offense was not a problem, as the Vandals whipped up on Louisiana-Lafayette, 90-66.

This weekend promises to be a historic one for Idaho sports, as #25 Portland comes calling in Moscow Sunday. The Pilots, who have beaten Oregon, UCLA and #22 Minnesota, may be the first nationally-ranked non-conference team to ever take on the Vandals at home. That game will tip off at 5 p.m. and is scheduled for the Cowan Spectrum.

Now for the links:

Basketball

  • Last night, Nevada made a strong showing in the defending national champions’ house, taking North Carolina down to the wire despite their lack of depth. Chris Murray of the Reno Gazette-Journal has the story from Chapel Hill, N.C. (props to the RGJ for sending him on the road) and observes that the Wolf Pack can claim a moral victory.

Football

Marvin Jefferson: Throw it down, big man, throw it down!

29 Nov

Vandal center Marvin Jefferson says GOOD NIGHT EAGLES with a two-handed exclamation-point jam last night in Memorial Gym, as the Vandals routed Eastern Washington.

Vandals bury Eastern Washington in a blizzard of 3-pointers

28 Nov

With a minute and change gone in the second half of Idaho’s home contest against Eastern Washington tonight, Steffan Johnson grabbed a feed from Mac Hopson at the top of the key and buried his fourth three-pointer of the game to put the Vandals up by 25.

Twenty seconds and a Marvin Jefferson block later, it was an instant replay. Hopson dished off to Johnson in the wing and as his shot arced through the air, the 1,500 fans in Memorial Gym came to their feet even before it swished through the net. They knew it would be good — every one before had been.

On the strength of seven straight 3-point makes and a stifling defensive effort, the homestanding Vandals blew out Eastern Washington, 76-54, to go 4-1 on the young season — Idaho’s best start since 1988. EWU fell to 2-4.

“This was a heck of a win,” Idaho coach Don Verlin said. “We dominated them. We rebounded the ball well, got out in transition and held (the Eagles) to 36 percent shooting. That’s just good execution all around.”

The Vandals made eight of 12 3-point attempts, the third-best team performance from downtown in Idaho history, and Johnson’s 6-for-7 shooting outside was the third-best by a single player. Hopson and Marcus Lawrence also got in on the action from long range, shredding the Eagles’ man-to-man defense. Overall, Idaho shot 54.2 percent on the night — and 66.7 percent in the first half. Idaho leads the WAC in both shooting categories — hitting .489 from the field and .446 from downtown.

Both teams started slowly, and an early trey from the Eagles’ Kevin Winford meant Idaho led by just a single point three minutes into the game — 4-3. But the Vandals would score eight consecutive points and go on a 32-12 run in the next 10 minutes of the half, anchored by big inside buckets from Jefferson and Luiz Toledo. The Eagles would not threaten again, and Idaho would build a 31-point lead midway through the second half before calling off the dogs.

Johnson led all players with 18 points on 6-7 shooting from 3-point range, along with 2 assists, 2 rebounds, 2 steals and a block. He was joined in double figures by Toledo’s 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting and ten more from Jefferson, who was 4-for-8 from the field. Hopson, the other half of Idaho’s 1-2 backcourt punch, was 4-of-5 from the field for 9 points, grabbed 5 rebounds and dished up a team-high 4 assists.

“I was just feeling it tonight,” Johnson said. “When we’re shooting like that, it helps us in so many ways. They had to open up their defense, give space to our big guys inside and it’s a huge mental boost, too. When you hit like that, the bench gets into it, the crowd was really going — you start thinking you’re never going to miss.”

Continue reading

Idaho 76, Eastern Washington 54

28 Nov

The night finishes on a high note for Idaho, as the Vandals blew out Eastern Washington, 76-54, on the strength of an absurd .667 shooting performance in the first half. Steffan Johnson once again led Idaho with 18 points on 6-for-7 shooting from behind the arc, the third-best 3-point performance in Vandal history. Idaho improves to 4-1 on the season, their best start since 1988.

We’ll have a complete story and video interviews shortly.

Vandal Nation Live: Idaho vs. Eastern Washington

28 Nov

With football in the books, Idaho hoops looks to close the night with a victory over the Eastern Washington Eagles out of the Big Sky Conference.

Pregame coverage starts at 6:30 p.m., with live play-by-play commentary, analysis and chat after tip-off at 7 p.m.

Click here for Vandal Nation Live: Idaho vs. Eastern Washington!

Vandal Football Gameday: Utah State

28 Nov

After a chilly, foggy Friday, the weather gods have smiled on Moscow today — it’s a beautiful day for college football and basketball! The Vandals will take on Utah State at 2 p.m. in the Kibbie Dome and Eastern Washington at 7 p.m. in Mem Gym.

For the 7-4 Vandals, they’ll be looking for a Senior Day to remember as Idaho closes out its best regular season in a decade and looks ahead to its first bowl since 1998. After two ugly losses, QB Nathan Enderle should be back in action and ready to lead the Vandals to a momentum-building victory over the 3-8 Aggies.

We’ll bring you all the action from the Dome with play-by-play commentary, analysis and chat at Vandal Nation Live, starting at 1:30 p.m. with our pregame show. Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. We’ll have scoring updates on the Vandal Nation Twitter as well.

Click here for Vandal Nation Live: Idaho vs. Utah State!

At 6:30 p.m., or immediately following football, we’ll have Vandal Nation Live coverage of Idaho hoops, as the men look for their best Division I start since the 1982-83 season. Tip-off against the Eagles is scheduled for 7 p.m. Our game preview is here.

Click here for Vandal Nation Live: Idaho vs. Eastern Washington!

This Weekend in the WAC

New Mexico State takes on San Jose State at 5 p.m. in Dick Tomey’s best remaining chance at getting a WAC win before retirement. Navy visits Hawaii in a game the Warriors must win to keep their slim bowl hopes alive. We’ve got the lowdown on all three of today’s WAC contests here.

Yesterday, Boise State beat Nevada, 44-33, to clinch at least a share of the WAC championship. Louisiana Tech and Fresno State are idle.

Pregame Roundup

Hoops Preview: Inside Eastern Washington

27 Nov

Eastern Washington Eagles (2-3)

Big Sky — 2009 record: 12-18

The Eagles are in the third year of a rebuilding program under coach Kirk Earlywine, and thus far it’s been something of a struggle. Eastern Washington hasn’t had a winning season since 2007, nor have they made the six-team Big Sky Conference Tournament. That despite having one of the best players ever to play in the Big Sky, current Detroit Pistons guard Rodney Stuckey. But in their meeting with Idaho last season, on their home court in Cheney, Eastern Washington came out victorious, 69-59.

This year’s Eastern Washington squad has just one win over a Division I program, that coming on the road against Southland Conference foe Texas-Arlington. They played close with a young Washington State team, giving the Cougars all they could handle but falling just short, 67-61. That success didn’t carry over, as on Tuesday Boise State easily handled the homestanding Eagles, 82-69.

The problem for the Eagles can be summed up in a word: Efficiency. Like the Hornets before them, the Eagles have started the season stone-cold from the floor — as a team, they’re shooting just .414 and have one of the nation’s worst 3-point percentages at .299. Against the Vandals, who have been holding their opponents to just .400 shooting, that doesn’t bode well for Eastern Washington’s upset chances. They have been slightly outrebounding their foes, but a +2.0 margin won’t be enough of a difference when your team misses 6 out of 10 shots from the field.

The defensive matchups look even worse for the Eagles. Idaho’s strength is in the backcourt, with the nation’s 40th-best 3-point shooting percentage at .420. It’s in that stat that the Eagles’ defense has been atrocious, allowing .404 shooting from outside — one of the nation’s worst.

It’s inside that Eastern Washington has a chance of making things happen. The combination of Brandon Moore and Mark Dunn can make for some matchup issues against Idaho’s big men — particularly given Idaho’s turnover woes there. But get beneath those two and there’s zero proven depth, so early foul trouble could take a toll.

Much like Sacramento State, the Eagles are a program that is poised for improvement, and after the Texas Southern debacle, Idaho well knows the cost of thinking any game is a gimme. But the Vandals have a clear talent advantage at virtually every position, and the guards should have a field day, shooting out the lights in Memorial Gym in front of a friendly crowd. It’s going to take a serious effort from Earlywine’s team to select their shots and convert every opportunity to keep this game close.

Key statistic: Points per possession

  • Idaho: 1.06 (76th) — Eastern Washington: 0.91 (250th)

Measured by dividing the number of points scored by the number of possessions, this is a basic measurement of a team’s offensive efficiency, and the difference is stark. The Vandals have one of the nation’s 100 most efficient offenses, while the Eagles are stuck in the bottom 300.

Projected Starters:

  • G #01 Glen Dean, Fr. — 8.4 ppg, 1.2 rpg, 4.0 apg

A true freshman point guard, Dean is doing a serviceable job for the Eagles in his first Division I action — but that’s a position where Eastern Washington could sorely use some senior experience. His negative assist-to-turnover ratio needs improvement, but what he most needs to learn is when not to take shots. The Eagles as a whole are a poor-shooting team, but Dean’s terrible .297 average is dragging everything else down. Then again, maybe it’s his ball-handling that’s the worst — coughing it up six times against Boise State? Yikes.

  • G #10 Alden Gibbs, Jr. — 4.6 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 4.0 apg

Gibbs is another highly-touted JC transfer that has yet to pan out for Earlywine. Called by his coach “arguably the best athlete in the Big Sky,” Gibbs has proven to be a solid rebounder but he’s also been yet another EWU backcourter who can’t shoot. Gibbs has hit just 31.8 percent of his shots this year and went 0-3 in 20 minutes against Boise State. Against the Vandals’ stellar backcourt, those kind of numbers just aren’t going to cut it and Gibbs is going to have to seriously step up the production.

  • G #10 Jeffrey Forbes, Fr. — 9.6 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 1.4 apg

Yet another true freshman pressed into service by the Eagles, Forbes has been one of EWU’s strongest newcomers — but even that’s relative. His .419 shooting percentage is just OK, though it makes him by far the best among Eastern Washington’s backcourters. Forbes is also a demon from the free-throw line, converting 90 percent of his trips to the charity stripe.

  • C #45 Brandon Moore, Sr. — 13.4 ppg, 11.2 rpg, 1.0 apg

Anchoring the inside for Eastern Washington, Moore will create a formidable matchup. He has size, experience and a solid shooting stroke. Anyone who averages a double-double is someone to take seriously, and Marvin Jefferson should have all he can handle to keep Moore from dominating the paint. Where he should be exploitable is his ball-handling, as he’s given up 13 turnovers and got picked to death by Texas-Arlington.

  • F #42 Mark Dunn, Sr. — 12.0 ppg, 5.4 rpg, .600 FG%

A stalwart for the Eagles, Dunn is a serious force anywhere on the court and has the team’s best shooting percentage — inside and out. He can clean up the glass, slam home a dunk or even stroke it from beyond the arc, making for a real defensive matchup issue. Does he go up against Luiz Toledo? Can Toledo defend it outside, and if he’s drawn out there, will it open up the paint? Watch Dunn’s performance closely, as if Idaho can contain him effectively, things get very difficult for Eastern Washington. Conversely, if he gets it going the Eagles will have a chance.

Key reserves:

  • G #5 Benny Valentine — 14.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 4.4 apg

Coming off the bench for the Eagles is an incredible scoring spark in the person of Valentine, a Texas Tech transfer who led EWU in scoring and assists last year and was named Second Team All-Big Sky. This year he again leads the Eagles in both categories. Why he doesn’t start is a mystery. It may have something to do with the fact that while he scores a lot, he misses even more — last year he shot .390 and this year he’s gotten worse at .339.

  • G #21 Kevin Winford — 4.0 ppg, 1.0 rpg, 1.0 apg

One of the few Division I players to come out of Alaska, this redshirt freshman was expected to be one of the Eagles’ strongest pieces this season — Earlywine called him the team’s best shooter. But he hasn’t lived up to the hype, averaging just 4.0 points and putting up an awful .294 shooting percentage in his three appearances. Winford lost his starting role after the season’s opening games and saw limited minutes against Boise State.

Happy Thanksgiving, Vandal Nation

25 Nov

It’s soon to be Turkey Day across this great Vandal Nation, and we hope our kind readers will not begrudge us a couple days off.

We’ll be back on Friday, with previews for Saturday’s Vandal doubleheader — the football home finale against Utah State and a hardwood showdown with Eastern Washington.

Thanks, and have a happy Thanksgiving!

Good Morning Vandal Nation: Nov. 24, 2009

24 Nov

It’s a snow-covered morning here in Moscow. Yesterday was our recovery day from the Fargo trip, but we’ve got a lot in store for you today, including a preview of tonight’s Idaho/Sacramento State hoops game and video interviews with Vandal players.

Last night ended the Vandals’ volleyball season on a disappointing note, as Idaho was upset by Boise State in the opening round of the WAC Volleyball Tournament, 3-1.

This evening, Idaho opens its home hoops season against the Hornets at 7 p.m. in Memorial Gym. We’ll have Vandal Nation Live courtside coverage starting at 6:30.

Now for the links!

Basketball

  • Utah State is finally at home, taking on the Idaho State Bengals and looking to get their season back on track after road losses to Utah and Northeastern. For the serious take, Shawn Harrison of the Logan Herald-Journal has a game preview. For the irreverent take, there’s The Refraction.

Football

Eastern Washington capitalizes on poor shooting, turnovers to down Vandals in OT

21 Nov

For a span in the second period, it looked like the Vandals had solved all their shooting woes. Idaho led by 12 points with under seven minutes to go and had the game firmly in control — then reality took over.

“We lost that game in the first half with our offensive execution and, once again, our missed point-blank shots,” Idaho coach Jon Newlee said. “There were seven missed layups that we charted in the first half.”

The Vandal’s recovered from an ugly first half, where both teams combined for an astounding 42 missed shots and 19 turnovers, to get into shooting form for the majority of the second half.

The Vandal’s combined for just 15 points in the first half, but Eastern Washington didn’t fare much better, putting up only 17 points themselves.

“It was a miracle that we were only down by two at halftime,” Newlee said. Continue reading

Good Morning Vandal Nation: Nov. 20, 2009

20 Nov

SPOKANE, Wash.— Just sneaking in under the bell, it’s this morning’s link roundup. We’re en route to Fargo, N.D. for tomorrow’s basketball game, so posting will be pretty light today. We’ll try to get a game preview up tonight when we stop in Denver.

Last night, Idaho’s spikers ran Boise State right out of Mem Gym with a straight-sets sweep of the Broncos — made even sweeter by it being Senior Night. The Vandals have the No. 3 seed in next week’s WAC Volleyball Tournament and will play… No. 6 seed Boise State. The Argonaut’s Lisa Short has a preview.

The women’s hoopsters weren’t as lucky, falling 54-51 in overtime at Eastern Washington, after coughing up a big late lead with a slew of turnovers.

Again, Vandals/Bison men’s hoops tips off at 2 p.m. Pacific time tomorrow, and we’ll have Vandal Nation Live courtside coverage, with pregame at 1:30. Click here to join, or set an e-mail reminder.

Basketball

  • Another pair of Idaho’s future opponents — Seattle U. and Fresno State — went toe-to-toe last night and this time it was the Redhawks pulling off the upset on Elgin Baylor Night. The Seattle U. Basket Blog has the story.

Football

Good Morning Vandal Nation: Oct. 2, 2009

2 Oct

Today is Friday — and like every Friday, it’s Vandal Spirit Friday, so wear your Vandal gear!

Remember to pick up your student tickets at the Kibbie Dome ticket office for tomorrow’s game — there can’t be many left.

Coming today on Vandal Nation is our Better Know a Foe with The Coloradoan’s Kelly Lyell, complete previews of every WAC game this weekend and more.

There’s a whole pile of links today, given that tomorrow is gameday, so let’s get right to it.

Football

Men’s basketball

Continue reading

Good Morning Vandal Nation: Oct. 1, 2009

1 Oct

The first day of October — an auspicious day, for official hoops practice is now just over two weeks away.

In the WAC opener for Louisiana Tech and Hawaii yesterday, the Bulldogs gave the Warriors the business — a 27-6 pasting in which Hawaii QB Greg Alexander was sacked five times and knocked out of the game with a knee injury. The La. Tech defense didn’t let up then — they proceeded to sack his backup, Bryant Moniz, twice more. The Bulldogs are looking like the real deal, while the Warriors’ vaunted air attack is riddled with holes.

There’s a bunch of good stuff on the Idaho Vandals today, including an ESPN.com feature on Nathan Enderle.

Remember to pick up your student tickets at the Kibbie Dome ticket office — fewer than 1,000 are remaining.

Football

Men’s basketball

Volleyball

Vandals break losing streak against Eastern Washington; dominate in physical 4-1 win

18 Sep

The University of Idaho Vandals soccer squad pushed aside five years of history tonight with a dominating win over rival Eastern Washington University.

“This was a very satisfying win,” coach Peter Showler said. “We battled, we closed things down, we had players in tight. Everyone worked hard for each other.”

The Vandals (5-3) had lost five straight to the EWU Eagles before this evening’s match, including a heartbreaking 1-0 loss last year in a game where everything but luck was in the Vandals’ favor. In that game, the Vandals dominated the Eagles in every category only to watch shot after shot ring off the Eagles goalpost.

The Vandals struck early in tonight’s game, with Erica Hart blasting a shot past Eagles goalkeeper Lisa Dimak 3:28 into the game.

“Playing forward was a different experience for me,” said Hart, who started off as a defensemen early in the season before advancing to midfield and finally forward. “It was a little nerve-racking, but it was fun working with Chelsea Small.”

Continue reading

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