Eastern Washington Leaves the USF Hilltop with a Win


EWU 81, USF 76

With the Pineapple Express hitting the California coast today, the EWU Eagles swooped in and claimed the win right out of USF’s collective hands at War Memorial Gym in San Francisco. EWU improves their record to 8-1. USF drops to 5-4.

USF’s Kruize Pinkins finished the game with 30 points, his personal best and 14 rebounds but it wasn’t enough with four of Eastern’s players finishing the game in double figures. Ognjen Miljkovic led the Eagles with 20 points, followed by Tyler Harvey with 19 points. Parker Kelly and Venky Jois had 15 points each though a mere 15 points is a low productivity night for Jois. Kelly sunk 3 out of 4 three point shots, one shot in particular with 2:56 left to play in the game giving EWU a 6 point advantage over USF.

The Eagles started the game at a blistering pace, sinking treys like nobody’s business ultimately closing out the first half with a 10 point lead over the Dons. The Dons closed the scoring gap to as close as 3 points but never led EWU during the entire first half. Also contributing points and rebounds for USF were Tim Derksen with 14 points and 4 rebounds, Matt Glover with 13 points and 7 rebounds, Matt Christiansen with 8 points and 3 rebounds. Mark Tollefson grabbed 8 rebounds and had 13 points.

In the second half, the Dons closed the 10 point lead tying the score several times, even pulling ahead by 1 or 2 points though USF did not remain in the lead for long. EWU coach Jim Hayford didn’t think his team played that well but he was happy for the win. He is leading a very good team who will be exciting to watch during the remainder of the preseason and in Big Sky Conference play.

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USF, on the other hand, is missing that je ne sais quois allowing them to excel against teams that they may be evenly matched with or teams that may be better (Colorado). The team has the personnel to create fear in their opponents but it is not clear what is standing in the way of a cohesive attack, smooth and consistent execution. Playing confidence building games for the remainder of the preseason isn’t going to snap USF out of this funk. The WCC is going to be very tough again this season and Coach Walter can’t start tearing his hair out in December given that it is military short in length.  The Dons are beginning to step into a leaky life boat that is in need of a solid repair with the proverbial high winds and high volume of rain coming ashore.

USF plays Cal Poly at home on Monday, December 15, 2015.