2009-10 Opponent Preview: Eastern Washington

As the 2009-10 season men’s basketball season approaches, BYUCougars.com continues to preview each of the Cougars’ opponents. Today’s preview-Eastern Washington.

Game Preview

BYU’s second opponent in the Las Vegas Classic will be the Eastern Washington Eagles on Dec. 19 in the Marriott Center. After playing both Wagner and Eastern Washington at home as part of the Classic, the Cougars will then travel to Orleans Arena in Las Vegas for two more games.

Season Outlook

Eastern Washington was 12-18 overall and 6-10 in the Big Sky Conference last season. Head coach Kirk Earlywine enters his third year with the Eagles, where he is 23-37. Three starters return, including Mark Dunn (5.6 ppg, 3.3 rpg), Brandon Moore (11.2 ppg, 6.8 rpg) and Benny Valentine (15.1 ppg, 92 assists, 44 steals).

Earlywine welcomes seven newcomers, including three freshmen, three junior colleges transfers and one transfer. Last season the Eagles averaged 63.5 points per game, shot .418 from the field, .324 on threes and .691 from the free throw line.

Player to Watch

Benny Valentine, G, Sr., 5-7, 175

Valentine returns for his senior season to lead Eastern Washington after averaging a team-best 15.1 points, 3.1 assists, 2.8 boards and totaling 44 steals as a junior. He also shot .394 from the field, .348 on threes and .722 from the free throw line. The transfer from Texas Tech was named second-team All-Big Sky.

Other Key Players

Mark Dunn, F

Brandon Moore, C/F

Matthew Brunnell, F

Gary Gibson, G

Game Implications

The Cougars are 2-0 all-time and at home against Eastern Washington with the teams last meeting in 2005, a game BYU on 97-66. The game against the Eagles is the second in the Marriott Center for the Cougars and the final before advancing to Las Vegas on Dec. 22 to play Nevada.

Eagles at a Glance

Head Coach Kirk Earlywine
At Eastern Washington 3rd year / 23-47
2008-09 Record 12-18 overall, 6-10 Big Sky
Home/Road/Neutral 9-5, 3-13, 0-0
Starters Ret/Lost 3/2
Lettermen Ret/Lost 5/5

2008-09 Team Stats

Points/Game 63.5
Points Allowed/Game 62.7
Field Goal % .418
Opponent FG % .467
Rebounds/Game 32.5
Assists/Game 11.7
Steals/Game 5.8
Blocks/Game 2.1

Returning Stat Leaders

Points/Game Benny Valentine, 15.1
Rebounds/Game Brandon Moore, 6.8
Assists/Game Bobby Valentine, 3.1
Steals Bobby Valentine , 44
Blocks Brandon Moore 19
Three-pointers Bobby Valentine, 55