EASTERN MEN ROAR BACK FROM BIG HOLE

January 24, 2004 12:00 am

KIRKLAND, Wash. — Right now, it must feel to the Eastern basketball men and their coaches that every single one of their Cascade Collegiate Conference games is going to come down to the wire.

The Eastern Oregon men Friday night clawed back from a 10-point halftime deficit against Northwest to help erase the sting of two straight heartbreaking overtime losses last weekend.

The 64-61 hard-fought win puts the men at 4-5 in CCC play (8-7 overall).

The men overcame 28.6 percent shooting in the first half (10-35) and 1-for-14 shooting (7.3 percent) from beyond the 3-point arc. The Mountaineers went into the break down 32-22.

In the second half, the Mountaineers shot 53.3 percent, while holding Northwest to 32 percent shooting.

Coach Art Furman said the team really needed this win for their confidence after the back-to-back OT crushers against Southern Oregon and Oregon Tech.

"They showed some real toughness and rose to the occasion," said Furman.

Furman said Tyree Jones came through with a pair of clutch 3-pointers in the second half, while Trevor Exline scored 23 points (on 9-for-14 shooting) and 10 rebounds.

Tony Luper also shot a perfect 4-for-4 from the field for 10 points and had six rebounds and four assists.

Eastern plays Evergreen State tonight. The Mountaineers outscored the Geoducks 11-2 over the final 1:16 of their game earlier this season to force overtime. The Mountaineers were able to pull that OT game out.

Eastern Oregon 64, Northwest 61

Eastern Oregon (64)

Larry Smith 3-10 1-2 9, Trevor Exline 9-14 4-4 23, Tony Luper 4-4 2-4 10, Tyree Jones 5-16 0-0 12, Jason Crawley 2-6 0-1 4, Jacoby Fox 0-2 0-0 0, Reagan Gilbertson 0-1 0-0 0, Bryan Rabas 1-6 0-0 2, Brock Canady 1-4 0-0 2, Konrad Bomberger 1-2 0-0 2. Totals: 26-65 7-11 64.

Northwest (61)

Patrick Hillis 1-4 2-2 5, Brian McCormack 3-6 1-2 7, Grant Enloe 5-11 0-0 13, Andrew Gard 2-4 2-5 6, Aaron Sawyer 5-15 6-6 16, Tyson Dodd 3-7 3-4 9, Morgan Axton 0-1 2-2 2, Joel Wildeboer 0-2 0-0 0, Nate Lindseth 1-3 0-0 3, Jon Tipps 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 20-53 16-21 61.

Halftime score — NW 32, EOU 22. Three-pointers — EOU 5-26 (Smith 2-8, Exline 1-2, Jones 2-7, Crawley 0-1, Fox 0-2, Rabas 0-5, 0-1); NW 5-15 (Hillis 1-2, Enloe 3-7, Gard 0-2, Wildeboer 0-1, Lindseth 1-3). Fouled out — Smith, Enloe. Total fouls — EOU 20, NW 16. Technical fouls — none. Turnovers — EOU 9, NW 10. Rebounds — EOU 40 (Exline 10), NW 37 (Sawyer 9). Assists —EOU 11 (Luper 4, Jones 4); NW 14 (Gard 7).