by Eastern Washington Athletics While the Huskies are busy playing, the Eagles are waiting in the wings.
The Eastern Washington University men’s basketball team plays its second game of the season this Sunday, Nov. 17, when the Eagles travel to Seattle to play at the University of Washington for the first time in Jim Hayford’s tenure as EWU head coach. Tipoff is at 5 p.m. Pacific time at Alaska Airlines Arena in a game televised by the Pac-12 Networks and broadcast live on 700-AM ESPN.
Eastern is coming off a wire-to-wire 87-58 victory over Pacific on Nov. 10 in Cheney, Wash., while the Huskies picked up an 88-78 win over Seattle University. The Huskies play again on Thursday, Nov. 14, against UC Irvine, a team EWU will play on Nov. 24 in Irvine, Calif., and at home in Cheney on Dec. 15.
The Huskies, who also beat Central Washington 95-65 in an exhibition game on Nov. 6, were 18-16 a year ago overall and 9-9 in one of the toughest leagues in the country. The Eagles return four starters and seven total letterwinners to a team that finished 10-21 overall and just missed the Big Sky Conference Tournament with a 7-13 league mark. Hayford enters his third season at the helm.
“It will be the first time since I have been the head coach that we have played the Huskies and traveled over to Seattle,” said Eastern head coach Jim Hayford. “It is always a neat challenge to see how we stack up against the larger schools in the state.”
The Eagles are 1-11 all-time against Washington, and lost 97-72 the last time the two teams played in 2010. Eastern, with no seniors on its team, does not have any players on its current roster who played against UW in 2010. Eastern beat the Huskies in Seattle 62-58 in 2002, but has lost the seven meetings since then.
“Our players are really eager and are looking forward to the challenge of going and seeing how they stack up against the University of Washington,” said Hayford. “It will be their third home game in a week. We have a week to prepare for them, and I really feel like my team is going to go up there and make Eastern Washington fans proud of their effort. We are not going over there with anything else in mind than finding a way to win.”
After the Washington game, EWU hosts Walla Walla the following Tuesday, Nov. 19, at 6 p.m. Then it’s off to Irvine, Calif., to play in the 2K Sports Classic, where Eastern will play three games in three days from Nov. 22-24.
The Eagles play Boston University, LIU Brooklyn and UC Irvine – teams which had a collective record of 58-43 (57-percent) a year ago, and were 34-18 (65-percent) in their respective leagues.
West Coach Conference powerhouse Saint Mary’s, which was 28-7 overall and 14-2 in the WCC in 2008, will usher in an equally difficult month of December when EWU travels to Moraga, Calif., on Dec. 8.