In the first quarterfinal of the day, it was Eastern Washington winning a hard fought game over Idaho State, 81-75 to advance to the quarterfinals. Who they play next depends on the outcome of the Portland State/Montana State tilt.
Eastern Washington won because it got some big performances all-around. First-teamer Cliff Colimon played great, finishing with 22 points and seven assists. He got plenty of help though. Laron Griffin scored a career-high 21 points, and also had 11 rebounds. Jeffrey Forbes had a season high 21 points, and made some big plays in the final minute. Those were not the guys you would expect to have huge impacts, but that is what you need to advance in conference tournaments.
For ISU, the gameplan was simply... fire away. They made 14 threes (in 33 attempts). Kenny McGowen finished with 28 points, but he was just 9/28 from the field, and 5/19 from downtown. Defensively, you will take that. I talked about how EWU had been prone to putting opponents on the line, but I thought they would win because ISU is content to shoot jumpshots... that was true today, as the Bengals shot just eight free throws.
It is Eastern Washington's first trip to the semifinals since 2006, and is at least making the ending of an up and down season more positive for Eastern Washington fans. They have the talent and athleticism to pull a shocker in the semifinals, so I can guarantee you that Montana or Weber State will not be caught sleeping when they take on the Eagles Tuesday night.
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