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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 9, 3:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Walkup Skydome (11,230) -- Flagstaff, Arizona. Television: FCS, FSN-AZ+. Home Record: EWU 5-5. NAU 5-4. Away Record: EWU 0-11, NAU 3-9. Neutral Record: EWU 1-1, NAU 1-1. Conference Record: EWU 4-9, NAU 6-7. Series Record: NAU leads, 34-25.
GAMES NOTES: The Northern Arizona Lumberjacks will try to pull even in league play when they host the Eastern Washington Eagles in a Big Sky Conference bout at the Walkup Skydome on Saturday.
The road woes continued for Eastern Washington last time out. The Eagles were defeated 61-55 at Sacramento State making it 11 losses in as many tries away from Cheney. The Eagles are also just 6-17 overall on the season and 4-9 in conference play. The loss to Sacramento State was the second straight and sixth in the last eight games for the Eagles, who will host Southern Utah after a week off next Saturday.
As for Northern Arizona, a 79-72 win over Portland State on Thursday earned it its second straight win, marking just the second time the Lumberjacks have managed to string a pair of wins together. Northern Arizona is just 9-14 overall, but has clawed its way to a 6-7 mark in Big Sky action, which puts it in a tie with Sacramento State for sixth in the league standings. A three-game road trip awaits Northern Arizona, which visits Northern Colorado next.
With wins in three straight and four of the last five meetings, including an 82-59 win earlier this season, Eastern Washington has edged closer in the all- time series, which Northern Arizona leads, 34-25.
For the second straight game the Eagles were without lead scorer Venky Jois against Sacramento State. That really hurt the Eagles' efforts as they shot just 42 percent from the field in the six-point loss. The squad did manage to nail 10 3-pointers though.
Jois (13.1 ppg, 9.7 rpg, 2.4 bpg) is still listed as questionable for this game with a sprained ankle. The freshman forward has played beyond his years this season ranking at the top of the Big Sky in rebounds and blocks, while leading the Eagles in scoring. His absence just compounds the loss of Justin Crosgile (14.7 ppg) who left the team for personal reasons earlier this season. Collin Chiverton (10.5 ppg) is the best scorer beyond those two. Chiverton had a team-high 12 points against Sacramento State. Even with Jois the Eagles have been just the 10th best scoring (66.3 ppg) and shooting (.398 FG percentage) team in the Big Sky.
Led by 25 points from Gabe Rogers and an 11-point, 10-assist double-double from Stallon Saldivar, Northern Arizona was able to survive against Portland State. The Lumberjacks shot at a 49-percent clip in the contest and knocked down 10 triples, while assisting on 20 of their 25 field goals.
Rogers (16.8 ppg) has been leading the way on the offensive end all season for the Lumberjacks as he is tied with Southern Utah's Damon Heuir for the scoring lead in the Big Sky. Rogers does have a tendency to force shots though as he hits just 36.9 percent of his attempts. Dewayne Russell (14.8 ppg) is a solid second option ranking fifth in the league in scoring, while fellow backcourt running mate Saldivar (5.9 ppg, 4.6 apg) is second in the conference in assists. Max Jacobsen (9.3 ppg) is the only other player on the roster scoring more than 6.5 points per game. Northern Arizona's defensive efforts have been its downfall as the Lumberjacks allow 75.4 points per game on 47.2 percent shooting.
Even if Jois is able to go in this game he will likely not be at 100 percent, which is good news for the Lumberjacks who should be able to run past the Eagles led by the scoring of Rogers and Russell.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Northern Arizona 76, Eastern Washington 69
02/09 10:32:56 ET
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