It's obvious, Eastern Washington University's transfers were anxious to play again after having to watch the 2011-12 season from the bench.
Six-foot-10 Oregon transfer Martin Seiferth had a monster night with 27 points, 17 rebounds and seven blocked shots to break a school record that had stood for 25 years, but the Eagle men's basketball team couldn't stop Cal State Northridge and lost 96-79 in a non-conference game Monday (Nov. 12) at the Matadome in Northridge, Calif.
"Martin played outstanding," said Eastern head coach Jim Hayford. "That has to be an outstanding confidence builder for him. If we can get that kind of play from inside, that is something we can really build on."
However, the Matadors finished with a 35-6 advantage in fast-break points and had 24 offensive rebounds that led to 16 second-chance points. That, coupled with a 41-percent shooting night and 22 turnovers by the Eagles that led to 25 CSN points, spoiled a huge outing for an Eastern transfer for the second-straight game.
"We told our players that the thing they do the best it to miss a shot, get the offensive rebound and put it back in," Hayford explained. "The second-best thing they do is force turnovers and get in transition.
"We have to do a better job taking care of the ball," he added. "Having 22 turnovers is a really painful number to me."
Seiferth, a sophomore from Berlin, Germany, had 13 points, eight rebounds and four blocks in the first half, then had 14 points, nine rebounds and three blocks in the second half. Eastern trailed by just four at halftime and by two early in the second half, but a 20-6 Cal State Northridge run put the game out of reach for the Eagles.
His seven blocked shots broke a school record that had stood for more than 25 years, dating back to Jan. 2, 1987, when Dexter Griffen had six versus Idaho State. Seiferth's 17 rebounds are the sixth-best recorded performance all-time at Eastern. He just missed a spot on Eastern's all-time leading scorers list, with 30 points scored by 10 different players to rank 39th.
Eastern is now 0-2, and next plays at Saint Mary's in Moraga, Calif., on Sunday (Nov. 18) as EWU continues its six-game road stretch to start the season. The Matadors, who defeated Pepperdine 81-75 in their opener, are now 2-0 this season.
In Eastern's season-opening 88-70 loss at Washington State, junior point guard Justin Crosgile, a transfer from St. Joseph's, had 28 points and five assists in his Eagle debut in a losing effort. Both Crosgile and Seiferth had to sit out last season because of NCAA transfer rules.
Crosgile hit two early 3-pointers, and went on to finish with 18 points, five rebounds and seven assists, but he also had nine of EWU's turnovers. True freshman Venky Jois chipped in 12 points, seven rebounds, three steals and two blocked shots. Senior guard Kevin Winford came off the bench to contribute nine points.
Cal State Northridge never trailed in the game, and led by as many as 11 points in the first half. Eastern came within 39-37 with 18:18 left in the game, but the Matadors used a 20-6 run to lead by 16. Cal State Northridge led by as many as 23 and EWU could come no closer than 16 the rest of the way.
"In the first half we stuck with the game plan, but in the second half we looked really young," Hayford said. "That really hurt.
"We turned it over a lot in the first half, but we did a good job getting back," he added. "But later in the game we got exploited with turnovers up top that gave them some easy baskets and created separation."