Mountaineers take on high scoring Coyotes

By Observer staff January 10, 2014 10:14 am

EOUís Denonta Edwards and his teammates will try to shut down College of Idaho at 7:30 p.m. tonight.
EOUís Denonta Edwards and his teammates will try to shut down College of Idaho at 7:30 p.m. tonight.

The age-old battle of defense against offense takes center stage in Quinn Coliseum tonight. Eastern Oregon University will host rival College of Idaho in the first meeting of the season. It will be the 171st meeting between the two teams, with the Yotes holding a 104-66 series edge. 

The Mountaineers supply the defense, although conference play has put a strain on that defense. EOU is seventh in scoring defense in conference games, but fourth in all games, leading to a 2-4 Cascade Collegiate Conference record.

No. 23 College of Idaho enters the game 13-5 overall, and 4-2 in conference play. The reason — the Coyotes can put the ball through the net effectively. Led by Taylor Pruett, College of Idaho is ninth in the nation in scoring per game, averaging 90.2 points. Pruett is one of five players averaging double figures this season. The senior leads the team scoring at 16.2 points per game. The Yotes also love to pass the ball to find the open shot, sitting second in the nation in assists per game. 

The Mountaineers, like head coach Jared Barrett suggested before the season, have gotten scoring from numerous players. The most consistent scorer for the Mountaineers has been Tony Eackles Jr. The senior is averaging 17.9 points per game, but just one of three players to do so. Craig Tucker, an outside specialist, is second on the team with 11.9 points per game, and Trevor Phillips averages 10.9. Kyllian Wood is averaging near a double-double, scoring nine points and adding nine rebounds per game.

One thing is certain, spectators need to keep their eyes open this game in the stands. Just like baseball, the ball could be leaving the field of play. Both teams are in the top 10 in the nation in blocked shots, with the Mountaineers sitting fourth and the Yotes sixth.

For EOU, Kalvin Johanson is third in blocked shots with 35 rejections this season. College of Idaho have multiple players that like to send shots back. The Yotes have the most blocked shots, in 18 games, led by Pruett with 34. Jon Vaz, the 7-foot-1 center, has 20 blocks.