Eastern Washington was done in by a poor first half on the road against St. Mary's, as they fell to the Gaels to drop to 6-6. They are the second Big Sky team to lose to St. Mary's this year, as Weber State also dropped a game to them. The final was 77-61.
Eastern Washington was undone by two things - poor shooting, and foul trouble. The foul problems have plagued them all season, as they are dead last in the NCAA in opponents FT rate. The Gaels shot 44 free throws on the night, making 32 of them. Three guys fouled out for the Eagles.
Offensively, they made just 39.6% of their shots and hit 6 threes. Their offensive game is predicated on hitting shots, so when they struggle, they don't make up for it by getting to the line a lot of by getting a ton of easy baskets. Cliff Colimon struggled to a 2/11 performance, while Collin Chiverton was 6/14. I am hearing some complaints that Chiverton looks for his shot a little too much, which is supported by the fact that he has 9 assists on the year and leads the nation in percentage of his teams shots' taken when he's on the floor (39%).
All together, it is understandable to lose to a good team like St. Mary's, but Jim Hayford certainly would have liked to see them make it a little bit closer. EWU will head into the break at 6-6, which is not bad, but they don't have a lot of quality wins on their resume. Number one priority for the Eagles - playing defense without fouling.
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