EWU Falls to Carroll College in Exhibition

    
November 2nd, 2008
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Eastern Washington University couldn’t overcome 21 percent shooting and a nearly nine-minute scoreless drought in the first half and lost 58-56 to Carroll College in a men’s basketball exhibition game Saturday (Nov. 1) at Reese Court in Cheney, Wash.

The game does not count in EWU’s season record or statistics. The Eagles have another exhibition game next Saturday (Nov. 8) against Puget Sound at 2:05 p.m. Pacific time before officially opening the season at Illinois on Nov. 14.

"That's what these exhibition games are for -- to find out where you are, what you need to improve on and what you're doing well," said Eastern head coach Kirk Earlywine, whose team was playing without three key players on his anticipated active roster of 11 players.

"I don't think I did a good enough job of expressing to our guys how good Carroll is," he continued. "I knew that they would be good and that is precisely why I scheduled the game. I knew that they would come in here and that we would have our hands full. That turned out to be true."

The Eagles rallied from a 19-point deficit to pull within one in the closing seconds, but Eastern’s Milan Stanojevic missed a three-pointer at the buzzer that would have won the game. Carroll, which opened its season with an 83-76 victory over the University of Regina on Oct. 23, is now 2-0.

The Eagles made just 16-of-50 shots in the game for 32 percent. In the first half alone, Eastern was just 6-of-29 overall (21 percent) and 2-of-15 from the three-point stripe (13 percent). Eastern was out-rebounded by Carroll 39-32, including 26-16 in the first half.

"You have to give them a lot of credit," added Earlywine. "I thought that they out-competed us, particularly in the first half. They out-rebounded us by 10 in the first half and held us to 21 percent. So our hats are off to Carroll."

Eastern returning starter Trey Gross led the Eagles with 17 points and Stanojevic added 11. Both players hit a trio of three-pointers, but the rest of the team was 0-of-9.

In the first half, Eastern went 8:52 without scoring as the Fighting Saints scored seven-straight points in that span to take an 11-point advantage. Carroll led by as many as 18 in the first half before taking its biggest lead of the night at 39-21 with 14:41 to play.

Eastern rallied, pulling to within five at 49-44 at the 5:04 mark and three at 53-50 with 1:22 left on a driving layin by Gary Gibson. Gibson sparked the Eagles in the second half with six points, three steals and three assists.

Two free throws by Gross pulled Eastern to within one, but a three-pointer by Chad Vaculin put the Fighting Saints back up by four. After a basket by Gross, Vaculin made a free throw with 3.9 seconds left prior to Stanojevic’s miss.

"I thought Gary Gibson played very well in the second half," said Earlywine of his team’s positives. "Milan made three from the arc in the second half. I think that Andy Genao and Jeff Christiansen both did exactly what I'm asking them to do -- take care of the ball, defend, and play hard. On the defensive end we were much better in the second half. On the offensive end we were a little better in the second half."

Guard Benny Valentine, who sat out last season after transferring from Texas Tech, had five steals in his first game in an EWU uniform. However, he made just 1-of-10 shots from the floor.