This archived article was written by: Bronson Harker
The College of Eastern Utah Golden Eagles dropped three of their last four games to end the regular season.
On Feb. 23, North Idaho College defeated the Eagles 94 to 85. The Cardinals had seven players score in double figures led by Shawn Henderson’s 19. Henderson also had 10 rebounds to lead NIC, and NIC had 40 rebounds to CEU’s 28. Although the Eagles took a large amount of free throws, connecting with 86 percent, the story of the night was that the Eagles just couldn’t knock down shots.
The next night a different outcome came. CEU took the game 97 to 96 in overtime, after loosing a 20-point lead gained by good basketball on the Eagles’ part. Felix Caspari owned the boards hauling in 18 rebounds to go along with his 12 points, one block and one steal.
Jeremy Lathan played supurbly hitting five-three pointers and all of his nine foul shots in route to a 28 point, six assist, one steal night.
Tyler Kepkay had 21 points to go along with his seven assists. But NIC was resilient and fought their way back into the game with some clutch shooting late in the second half. The Eagles were outscored by 16 in the second half before they ultimately took the game by one in overtime.
The next weekend, College of Southern Idaho hosted the Eagles and defeated them in both contests. On March 2, CSI won 94 to 85 and again the story was rebounding. CSI out rebounded CEU 60 to 38 and had six players score in double figures.
Brandon Stores had a ridiculous night recording a triple double for CSI including 24 points, 11 rebounds and 10 blocked shots.
CEU Eagles saw Tony Dalton step up with his best game this season with 19 points, nine rebounds, two assists, three steals and a block. Dalton, who has been playing his best basketball, connected on five of seven three pointers.
CSI outscored CEU 42 to 24 in the paint and also had 34 points to CEU’s 13 off the bench. The next night CEU had a good first half, only down by one before CSI took control of the game winning 107 to 82.
With conference play over in the Scenic West Athletic Conference, CEU’s Golden Eagles finished with an 18 and 12 overall record, winning 9 of 20 conference games. The SWAC featured three nationally ranked teams in the NJCAA polls. CSI is ninth in the nation while Snow College, who won the conference championship, is 18th. Salt Lake Community College has been tough all year, and although they fell off the current poll, they have been ranked as high as 19th.
The SWAC ‘ain’t no joke, and the Eagles have been right in the mix of it all season. All but one of the Eagles 11 losses in the SWAC came to those three nationally ranked teams, and of those losses, two were in overtime.
Being completely realistic, there have only been two losses all season when at half time the outcome seemed inevitable. Coach Zollinger talked about both ends of the court saying “On offense you have to play confident and loose. You can’t carry the weight of the world on your shoulders because it takes timing and precision. That’s difficult to do when your tense. On defense it comes down to getting aggressive and maintaining that aggressiveness through long periods of time.” The Eagles need to put together full games and by doing so have a chance to go to the National Tournament.