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Eastern can’t hang onto 7-point lead at S. Dakota

VERMILLION, S.D. – Eastern Washington men’s basketball coach Kirk Earlywine didn’t have to look too hard to find some positives from the Eagles’ stop at South Dakota on Monday night.

Guard Glen Dean hit 5 of 11 shots from the field, including 3 of 6 3-pointers, in scoring a team-high 16 points.

Forward Cliff Ederaine had a season-high 14 points and a game-high nine rebounds. Freshman Jaylen Henry came off the bench for five points and seven boards.

And Eastern led by seven points early in the second half.

After that … well, the pickin’s were slim as the Eagles (3-8) shot woefully in absorbing a 78-72 loss to the Coyotes (5-7).

Two days before, Eastern made a season-low 21 percent of its shots in a 72-42 loss at Nebraska, including 23 percent on 3-pointers. Against USD, Eastern made 7 of 32 3s for 22 percent.

“We had to take a number of contested 3s in Lincoln, but it’s hard for me to imagine getting any better shots than we did here,” said Earlywine. “We just didn’t make them. We had unbelievably good looks at the basket and we just didn’t shoot it well.”

Dean’s fellow guards, Jeffrey Forbes, Kevin Winford and Cliff Colimon, were a combined 7 of 31 shooting, including 3 of 22 on 3s.

Eastern’s inability to hit appeared to affect its play on the defensive end. A 10-2 run by the Coyotes erased Eastern’s 38-31 advantage early in the half, and the Eagles sent the Coyotes to the free throw line 24 times in the second half where they made 16. In the first half, USD shot just two free throws.

“When you get good shots and they don’t go in, you tend to drop your head a little bit,” Earlywine said. “We can still win games if we dig in and defend, not foul and not give up offensive rebounds. You have to be really sharp defensively and rebound the ball well when you don’t shoot well.

“We were playing hard, but in the second half we looked a step slow,” he added. “We put them on the line and that hurt.

“We played harder in the first half defensively than we did in the second half. It’s been 12 days since our players have had a day off so maybe it’s just a matter of fatigue.”

South Dakota 78, EWU 72

 Eastern Washington (3-8) — Griffin 2-4 3-4 7, Johnson 3-7 0-0 7, Forbes 2-7 0-0 5, Winford 3-13 0-0 8, Ederaine 6-12 2-7 14, Dean 5-11 3-3 16, Colimon 2-11 2-2 6, McRae 0-1 1-2 1, Allen 1-2 1-2 3, Henry 2-3 1-1 5. Totals 26-71 13-21 72.

South Dakota (5-7) — Westbrook 5-12 3-4 15, L. Krogman 2-14 0-1 4, Cutler 0-0 2-2 2, Andreotti 4-7 1-3 9, Gruis 8-12 3-3 19, Tecker 4-9 2-2 12, Boots 1-4 0-0 2, Thomas 3-9 7-11 15. Totals 27-67 18-26 78.

Halftime—E. Washington 36-31. 3-Point Goals—E. Washington 7-32 (Dean 3-6, Winford 2-12, Johnson 1-3, Forbes 1-5, Allen 0-1, Colimon 0-5), S. Dakota 6-19 (Tecker 2-3, Westbrook 2-4, Thomas 2-5, Boots 0-2, L. Krogman 0-5). Fouled Out—Westbrook. Rebounds—E. Washington 47 (Ederaine 9), S. Dakota 49 (Andreotti 9). Assists—E. Washington 11 (Dean 4), S. Dakota 16 (Thomas 8). Total Fouls—E. Washington 21, S. Dakota 20. A—498.

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