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Jim Meehan
Jim Meehan (208) 659-3791

Jim Meehan joined The Spokesman-Review in 1990. Jim is currently a reporter for the Sports Desk and covers Gonzaga University basketball, Spokane Empire football, college volleyball and golf.

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March 3, 1996, midnight
Big Sky It can no longer be said that the Idaho men's basketball team has forgotten how to win, as evidenced by an 84-75 cuffing of Montana on Saturday night in Moscow, Idaho. Now celebrating a victory - well, they could use a refresher.

March 2, 1996, midnight
Call it dumb luck. Derrick Elliott says he made a "stupid decision" to leave the North Idaho College men's basketball team after his freshman season two years ago. "It had nothing to do with the coaches or players," Elliott said. "Some other (NIC) players were leaving, so I decided I'd leave. The thing was, half of those guys were leaving because they weren't playing."

Feb. 29, 1996, midnight
Cravens finds himself in the middle of tough times at UI. His Vandals have lost seven of eight and face Big Sky-leading Montana St., Montana. Photo by Dan McComb/The Spokesman-Review

Feb. 29, 1996, midnight
There is a retirement ceremony planned for North Idaho College men's basketball coach Rolly Williams for Saturday's home game with Utah Valley. It might be premature, though Williams insists otherwise.

Feb. 24, 1996, midnight
Moscow High School boys basketball coach Don Dudley's tie, a stylish print crowded with basketballs, didn't win Friday's A-2 District I-II championship game at Lake City High's gym. Defense did.

Feb. 22, 1996, midnight
With only four regular-season basketball games remaining, Eastern Washington's Luke Egan has yet to miss a free throw. Even he's somewhat surprised by his draining of 36 consecutive foul shots. "I miss in practice a little bit, to tell you the truth," said the engaging Egan, a 6-foot-7 junior from Australia. "I hit my first 10 or so this season, so I thought why not hit 'em all?" Egan saw limited playing time his first two years at EWU, shooting 17 of 27 from the stripe.

Feb. 18, 1996, midnight
Idaho was on the precipice of basketball oblivion on Saturday night: It trailed Eastern Washington by 13 points at halftime. At home. Already toting a five-game losing streak, including three at the Kibbie Dome, Idaho did an about-face, regrouping to earn a 76-63 victory in a Big Sky men's game between two win-starved programs. "Maybe this will stop the bleeding," UI coach Joe Cravens said after his team improved its record to 10-12 overall, 4-6 in conference play, in front of a small crowd of 2,525 in the Dome. EWU, which schooled the Vandals en route to a 45-32 halftime lead, wilted to just two field goals in the final 20 minutes. "The game's 40 minutes, not 20," said EWU first-year coach Steve Aggers, still searching for his first Big Sky win. EWU is 3-19, 0-10. "They were clearly the aggressor in the second half," Aggers said. "They took us out of our offense. It seemed like they got every rebound, made all the hustle plays. "We lost our poise in the second half." And the game. Perhaps tired of seeing EWU bang in uncontested shots in the first half, Idaho extended its defensive pressure in the closing half. Idaho rattled off the first 10 points to close to 45-42 before EWU's Mike Sims banked in a 7-foot shot. EWU's drought resumed as Idaho, converting Eagle turnovers into buckets, went on top 62-51. EWU made 14 free throws in the second half to stay close. Luke Egan sank three free throws after being fouled to pull the Eagles to 65-61, but Idaho answered by making 9 of 10 foul shots in the final 2:38. Idaho's Nate Gardner had season highs of 16 points and nine rebounds. Harry Harrison gathered 14 rebounds and Reggie Rose scored 19 points and had four assists. Eddie Turner chipped in 14 points, many on the running jump shot that had deserted him against Washington State on Tuesday. "We were embarrassed in the first half," Gardner said. "Coach (Cravens) came in pretty calm and just said, 'It's up to you guys.' He's basically at a point where he can't sit there and get us fired up. We've got to decide for ourselves if we want to come out and play hard and fired up." EWU, meanwhile, became tentative in the second half. It had more air balls (3) than field goals (2) and committed 13 of its 19 turnovers. "Sometimes it goes back to their self-esteem, the four years of losing, and the, 'Oh boy, here we go again kind of thing,"' said Aggers, who noted that reversing that losing mentality will be his coaching staff's biggest challenge. Eagles center Mel Lewis had 10 first-half points, but just three in the second. "Conditioning," Aggers said, referring to the 295-pound Lewis running out of steam. Lewis was joined in double figures by Egan's 12. The Eagles shot 65.5 percent (19 of 29) in the first half, but .095 percent (2 of 21) in the second. It was hauntingly familiar for Eastern, which shot 5 of 29 in the second half of a 75-53 loss to Idaho last month. "An unbelievable comparison from the first half to the second," Cravens said, "probably the most drastic turnaround I've ever been associated with. "That's the way we're capable of playing. There weren't any high-tech adjustments. It's just a matter of pride." Idaho 76, Eastern Washington 63 Eastern Washington (4-19) - Porter 1-3 4-4 7, Dean 3-10 2-2 8, Lewis 6-8 1-3 13, Rideout 4-8 1-1 9, King 1-5 0-0 3, Carter 1-2 1-2 4, Egan 2-6 7-7 12, Thompson 0-1 0-0 0, Sims 3-5 0-0 6, Groves 0-2 1-2 1. Totals 21-50 17-21 63. Idaho (10-12) - Turner 6-9 2-2 14, Harrison 1-5 4-8 6, Gardner 5-9 6-6 16, Rose 5-11 7-8 19, Dirden 1-10 4-4 7, Baumann 0-1 0-0 0, Jones 3-3 2-2 8, Jackman 2-6 2-2 6. Totals 23-54 27-32 76. Halftime-E. Washington 45, Idaho 32. 3-Point goals-E. Washington 4-13 (Porter 1-1, Rideout 0-2, King 1-4, Carter 1-2, Egan 1-3, Thompson 0-1), Idaho 3-14 (Rose 2-5, Dirden 1-8, Baumann 0-1). Fouled out-None. Rebounds-E. Washington 29 (Egan 5), Idaho 35 (Harrison 14). Assists-E. Washington 12 (King 4), Idaho 11 (Rose 4). Total fouls-E. Washington 23, Idaho 18. A-2,525.

Feb. 11, 1996, midnight
There seems to be no limit to the depths of Idaho's depression. Idaho fell into a near-inconsolable state on Saturday night as the Vandals were outworked by Idaho State 66-62 before a subdued Kibbie Dome gathering of 2,732.

Feb. 10, 1996, midnight
1. North Idaho College's hard-working sophomore Eric Sanchez puts in his time practicing free throws as the Cardinals prepare to face rival power Southern Idaho. Photo by Jesse Tinsley/The Spokesman-Review 2. Sanches gives NIC a shot at the SWAC championship. Photo by Jesse Tinsley/The Spokesman-Review

Feb. 10, 1996, midnight
We interrupt your regularly scheduled lives to bring you one of the finest basketball rivalries in the area - North Idaho College and College of Southern Idaho. The rivals clash tonight at 7:30 at NIC's Christianson Gym. Rare is the blowout in this intense, CSI-dominated series that began in the late 1960s.

Feb. 9, 1996, midnight
It was close - until North Idaho College went on that little 103-66 run. That spurt, which lasted roughly 39-1/2 minutes, helped the Cardinals to a suspense-free 103-66 men's basketball victory over Treasure Valley on Thursday night at Christianson Gym.

Feb. 9, 1996, midnight
Idaho's Reggie Rose, right, rises to the occasion. Photo by Dan McComb/The Spokesman-Review

Feb. 8, 1996, midnight
Idaho football coach Chris Tormey compares recruiting to an actual game. "It's kind of like a game. You enjoy a game most when it's over and you've won," Tormey said. "In recruiting, you just don't know if you've won. "But we got a lot of guys we wanted."

Feb. 8, 1996, midnight
Why change now? After winning four consecutive Big Sky Conference Tournament volleyball titles, the University of Idaho went with a proven formula in its 1996 recruiting class. "We got what we wanted," UI coach Tom Hilbert said, "size and athletic ability."

Feb. 8, 1996, midnight
"We're going to kick their (rear) when they come up to our place. I mean they talk about all that defense - we shot 60 percent and missed some easy ones the way it is. These last two teams (BSU and Idaho State) are in for long nights when they come up to our place because we're going to beat 'em and make 'em like it." - Idaho basketball coach Joe Cravens, immediately following loss to BSU last month. No, Joe Cravens wasn't auditioning to become Hulk Hogan's manager in the whacky world of professional wrestling. He was ticked off. And it's only fair to note that these words leaked from Cravens' mouth after an aggravating two-week stretch of four consecutive losses, three in overtime.

Feb. 4, 1996, midnight
There's a simple explanation for why the Idaho men's basketball team lost to Montana State on Saturday night. Why? Because the Vandals weren't playing Northern Arizona or Eastern Washington.

Jan. 26, 1996, midnight
Bad things, the saying goes, come in threes. For Idaho men's basketball coach Joe Cravens, he had two bad deals - his daughters' cat died and he found out he owed the IRS $6,000 - prior to Thursday's game with Weber State, a dangerous 3-point shooting team.

Jan. 24, 1996, midnight
Community Colleges of Spokane fired five quick passes, smartly attacking the angles against North Idaho College's zone trap. The result: NIC recovered, swiped the basketball and scored a layup at the other end.

Jan. 24, 1996, midnight
NIC's Shawna Rainer pulls up for a jumper before Heather Brandt and the CCS defense can react. Photo by Craig Buck/The Spokesman-Review

Jan. 21, 1996, midnight
So many times North Idaho College was on the verge of turning a mini-run into a full-fledged comeback. Then came a turnover, an unkind bounce off the rim or a missed foul shot.

Jan. 21, 1996, midnight
A reflective David Cunningham refuses to abondon his roots. Photo by Jesse Tinsley/The Spokesman-Review

Jan. 19, 1996, midnight
Eric Sanchez is in the North Idaho College men's basketball lineup because he is a suffocating defender, a relentless rebounder and he plays the game with the throttle floored. He did all those things on Thursday night - and added a career-high 24 points as NIC destroyed Colorado Northwestern 91-54 at Christianson Gym.

Jan. 18, 1996, midnight
Idaho's Jason Jackman, left, is the Vandals' most consistent inside threat and a big concern for Eastern Washington. Photo by Associated Press

Jan. 12, 1996, midnight
It's the nicest statistic Idaho athletic director Pete Liske has seen in quite some time. Idaho's 252 student-athletes had an average grade-point average of 2.965 for fall semester, Liske said. "That's very, very impressive," Liske said. "We've just done a great job all the way down the line. It's nice because there hasn't been any slack competitively in any way."

Jan. 11, 1996, midnight
It isn't college football season - not even time for spring football yet - but Idaho already has an interesting situation developing at quarterback. UCLA's Ryan Fien is now Idaho's Ryan Fien. He has transferred to Idaho and will begin the new semester on Tuesday. Fien will have one year of eligibility. He cannot redshirt. Idaho's quarterback had been expected to be junior-to-be Brian Brennan or sophomore-to-be Robert Scott.