Eastern Washington opened the second half of Big Sky Conference play at the top of the league standings, eyeing a final 10-game stretch that included six home games.
It’s cooled off since.
The Eagles (16-8, 9-4 Big Sky) have dropped two of their last three, including Thursday’s home 74-71 upset loss to struggling Idaho (7-17, 3-10), falling 1 1/2 games back of league-leading Montana (15-10, 11-3).
If EWU hopes to earn the program’s fourth league title, it will need to stop the bleeding on the road Saturday against talented, up-and-down Portland State (12-13, 6-7), which has been tough at home.
Portland State has beaten EWU in Portland in 10 of their previous 11 meetings. EWU edged the Vikings 71-69 last month in Cheney.
The Vikings have won two of their last three games, including upsets of the league’s top-tier teams, Montana and Northern Colorado, which is tied with EWU for second.
Portland State, which ranks third in the country in offensive rebounds (14.6) and first in the league in steals (8.2), is led by guard Holland Woods (17.3 ppg, 5.2 apg).
The Eagles look to improve on the boards after getting outrebounded 46-28 by Idaho.
“We have to go back and figure that out because we play a great offensive rebounding team at Portland State,” EWU coach Shantay Legans said. “They were probably watching the Idaho game and salivating. They can’t wait to play us.”
Davison passes 1,000 points: EWU junior guard Jacob Davison is the latest Eagle to surpass 1,000 career points.
His 21 points against Idaho gave him 1,007. Senior forward Mason Peatling exceeded 1,000 points last month.
Aiken in slump: EWU can count on EWU junior Kim Aiken Jr. to defend and get rebounds (9.8 rpg), but the talented scorer (14 ppg) has been in a recent funk.
Aiken was 3 for 16 from the field in Thursday’s loss to Idaho and is a combined 13 for 51 the last five games, including 6 for 37 from 3-point range.