CHENEY, Wash. – Coming off a disappointing loss and with nearly a week to prepare for its next opponent, the Eastern Washington men’s basketball team showed no mercy against Linfield, earning a 104-54 victory Thursday night at Reese Court.
The Eagles, who compete in the Big Sky Conference of Division I, bounced back from a blowout loss to Washington State to improve to 5-3 on the year. The Wildcats, of the Northwest Conference in Division III, slip to 2-6.
EWU led the entire way, but Linfield hung tough in the early going, holding the Eagles’ lead to single digits until about midway through the first half. That's when the Eagles went on a 14-2 run to pull away from the 'Cats and earn a 16-point advantage. As time wore on, the distance between the two teams grew to 23 points, reached on a buzzer-beating jumper by Collin Chiverton. The junior scored 13 of his game-high 25 points in the opening period to give the home team a 52-29 halftime lead.
Eastern Washington matched its scoring output from the first half in the second stanza while shooting 51.2 percent from the field. For the game, the Eagles hit 41.7 of their 3-point attempts, sinking 15 baskets from long range.
Linfield found it even harder to put points on the board after halftime, scoring a season-low 25 points in the second period. The Wildcats’ last field goal came at the 7:30 mark on a fast-break layup by Zach Meikle. Matt Kalbfleisch sank two free throws with six minutes remaining to post the visitors' final points of the contest.
EWU forced Linfield into a season-high 21 turnovers, which led directly to 28 points. The home team was much more careful with the ball, turning it over just six times.
In addition to Chiverton, five other Eagles scored in double figures. Cliff Colimon added 23 points and distributed a game-high 11 assists. Teammate Cliff Ederaine also registered a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Zach Anderson tallied 22 points for the Wildcats, but did not receive much help from his teammates. The next highest scorer was Michael Moreland, who contributed seven points and five rebounds.
Andrew Batiuk, who set a career-high with 30 points Monday night, and Kalbfleisch, who made his first career start, both finished with six points.
'CAT SCRATCH: The 'Cats have never played Eastern Washington, but faced a familiar opponent in EWU Head Coach Jim Hayford, who is in his first season with the Eagles after coaching 10 years at Whitworth.
NEXT: Linfield plays its third contest of a five-game nonconference stretch Saturday evening at Warner Pacific. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
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