This archived article was written by: Jeremy Jones
The men’s basketball team got off to a great start , going 3-0 in the pre-season.
The 2003-2004 season opener for the Eagles pitted them against Hill Air Force Base.It was evident early in the game that the Eagles were going to have huge advantages all over the court and it proved to be true.
The Eagles dominated every facet of the game and took a 56-18 lead into halftime. Hill made no kind of rally or second half adjustments and the Eagles pounded them just as badly in the second half. CEU came out on top 118-36.
Casey Iverson lead the Eagles offensively with 20 points, including 4-7 shooting from behind the three-point arc.
To set the tone defensively for the Eagles, Chris Anderson and Jeremy Atwater had four blocks each. Sophomore Nyheem Shiggs lead the team with nine rebounds and Anderson had eight.
The next game matched the Eagles against Westminster’s junior varsity squad. Westminster gave CEU the closest game of the three with an amazing display of three-point shooting.
The Eagles struggled in the first half defensively in being able to cover all of Westminster’s shooters.
One big problem Westminster faced was the size of the Eagles. CEU used their size to their advantage and exploited the advantage in the second half.
Big man Chris Anderson, standing at 6’8″, lead CEU’s inside attack. Anderson took the ball inside in the second half and scored over Westminster’s zone defense at will. Anderson ended the game with 20 points on 8-13 shooting from the field. He played a complete game by also grabbing nine rebounds and blocking four shots.
Due to their second half surge, the Eagles came away with the win 77-61.
The third game in the pre-season was the most ridiculous of the three. The Eagles played against the Clearfield Job Corp Bulldogs.
Like the game against Hill Air Force Base, it was very evident early that the Eagles had advantages at every position. After only ten minutes of play, the Eagles had a 30-point lead. At halftime, the score was 66-7 and the final score was 115-25.
Again, Casey Iverson displayed stellar three-point shooting, going 6-7 from behind the arc. Iverson finished with 22 points and four assists.
Four other players scored in double figures, including Chris Anderson who, again proved to be a dominating force insdie. He finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Despite the large margins of victory, Coach Zollinger wasn’t overly impressed with the wins. “I was the most disappointed in the level of our competition. We only had one semi-tough game and that was against Westminster.”
When asked why the teams were so soft, Zollinger said, “We had some other junior college teams from Arizona scheduled to come play us, but they backed out at the last minute and we couldn’t schedule anyone else on such short notice.”
Steve Williams, a sophomore guard from Cheyenne, Who., said, “It’s real tough to keep your focus in games when you’re up by 50. You have to stay disciplined because anyone can beat you at any time, but it’s tough.”
Despite the huge margins of victory the Eagles have had, the point was never to run up the score.
“We did things, especially towards the ends of those games, to run the clock and make the game go by quicker. For example, we didn’t shoot until we had run 30 seconds off the shot clock. I don’t know what happened to the other teams. Maybe they got frustrated or something, but we didn’t want to humiliate them,” Coach Zollinger explained.
It was evident during the first three games that the Eagles played everyone in uniform during the course of the game. Coach Zollinger explained, “In order to play at the level we want our guys to play at, it takes a lot of energy, so we have to sub a lot.”
However, Zollinger later stated that his rotation will be cut down quite a bit once conference begins.
He said, “Once we get into conference play, the rotation will be a lot shorter and our main guys will play more.”
One change that will be significant from last year is that every weekend, each team will play two games instead of just one.
For example, next weekend, the Eagles travel to Salt Lake to take on SLCC. Instead of playing them only one time, like last season, they will play on both Friday and Saturday. Zollinger feels like the Eagles have a deep bench this year, which should work to their advantage, especially in the second games of the upcoming double-headers.
According to coach Zollinger’s sources, Dixie and CSI are probably this year’s favorites in the conference because of their traditions, but CEU should stack up fairly well.
When asked about the teams’ expectations, freshman Jared Quayle from Box Elder High School said, “We have a team goal to win conference.”
Steve Williams added his personal goals for the rest of the season and for the rest of his time at CEU. “If I don’t leave CEU with my associate’s degree and a national title ring on my finger, I will be disappointed.”