Big Sky Conference Tournament-Semi-Finals
North Dakota (21-8, 13-3)-79, Idaho State (15-15, 5-11)-68 [Matt Vaughn-24 pts]
Corky Branigan, KSPK,Radio Commentator:
Game #29, Mar. 5, 2014: Northern Arizona Lumberjacks (17-12, 10-6) vs Eastern Washington Eagles (14-14, 11-5)
CB: OK, sportsfans, the Eastern Washington Eagles continue to surprise most everyone. After going 2-9 in pre-conference play and looking dead-on-arrival going into Big Sky play, they turned things around, finishing 2nd in the conference. Now they’ve won 2 games in the Big Sky tourny and are playing for the championship tomorrow night against the tough North Dakota Fightin’ Sioux. The phones are open. What do you think about this team? How do you think they are going to do tomorrow night? What do you think caused the turn-around?
The first caller is Jay. What’s your thoughts about the Eagles, Jay?
Jay: Hey Corkster, good talkin’ with ya. Ya know this team is ON FIRE! And they BEAT DOWN the Fightin’ Sioux when they played them IN North Dakota! The media all over them and their coach and they go out and simply kick butt, man!
CB: So what do you think made the difference for them, Jay?
Jay: I think it was all the bad press they were getting and Jim Rome’s put down of their coach. Must’ve got them all riled up, Corkster.
CB: OK, let’s go to our next caller. Let’s see, it’s Ralph the Mouth from Spokane. Heya, Mouth, whatcha got to say to me tonight?
Ralph the Mouth: I’m still not sold on this team. They got no leader. I think the Big Sky just sucks this year and they fell into some wins. And I’m no worshipper of Vandergard either. Too many stories coming out about that guy. Some of ‘em gotta be true, Corky. I think he’s got a lot of skeletons in his closet. I’m picking North Dakota to beat up on the Eagles, 81-58.
CB: Wow, Ralph, that’s harsh. Are you saying their win against the Fightin’ Sioux was a fluke?
Ralph the Mouth: Nah, but sometimes you get lucky…or the other team just has an off night. But I don’t see EWU being able to do it again. No way!
CB: Well, everyone has an opinion I guess. Thanks Ralph, always good talking with you. Let’s see what others have to say, though. We have Piranha on the line. Talk to us, Piranha.
Piranha: Uh, am I one the radio now?
CB: Yes, man…go ahead.
Piranha: Oh, OK, how you doing Corky?
CB: Great man, what do you think of the Eagles?
Piranha: Uhh, welllll, I don’t agree with the previous caller. I think Coach Vandergard has done a phenomenal job with this team. Nobody thought there were any good at the beginning of the year. It took Coach V the entire pre-conference season to get them straightened out and playing as a team. He’s got a bunch of no-names who he’s got playing together as a close-knit unit. Hell, they don’t win 10 out of the last 12 games with a group everybody said had no talent unless the Coach and his staff create some magic. I’d like to see them win tomorrow night and go to the Big Dance, but even if they don’t, you have to give Vandergard and this team a lot of credit for pulling it all together.
CB: Yeah, Piranha, I sorta think that way too. JB’s waiting to put in his two cents. Hey there, JB, thanks for calling in.
JB: I’m a first time caller, Corky. Didn’t think I ever would call into a radio station. But the way the Eagles played tonight really got me hyped up. They tore up Northern Arizona from the initial jump and just kept extending their lead. Damn, they had 44 of their 77 points in the paint. Palmer and Davis were just phenomenal tonight, combining for 43 points. And another big man, Odie Joseph, added 12. And not only that they just completely bludgeoned the Lumberjacks on the board…32 rebounds to 16…that’s unheard of! Palmer and Davis, I just can’t say enough about those two…they dropped in 16 of their 22 shots! And 11 of 14 from the line…not bad for big men. North Dakota had to be watching that and trying to figure out how they were going to stop those two.
CB: Yeah, JB, this was one of the Eagles better games, alright. Hey, we have to pay some bills now, but thanks for the calls, guys.