This archived article was written by: Riley Spears
With a 14-game winning streak and perfect season on the line, CEU’s men’s basketball teams started off the grueling conference schedule in hopes to continue their quest for perfection last weekend at home. North Idaho College and the College of Southern Idaho were the first teams in the way of their quest.
In the first game against NIC, CEU did not come out with the intensity they normally do.
Head Basketball Coach Chris Craig said, “Everyone came out looking to be the hero in the North Idaho game instead of trusting each other and letting things happen through the course of our offense.”
The team did not play up to their level and were beat in all aspects of the game. They had issues in the turnover column in the first half against NIC, and it came back to haunt CEU in the second half. They had a few bright spots such as Darrington Hobson dropping 17 points and 14 boards, and Stephen Franklin nabbing 17 points on 6-11 shooting from the field. The team did not play like they had all year and it really showed on the court.
With a final score of 72-63, this was the lowest scoring game for the team all year. While shooting 34 percent from the field for the game, they could not expect to score their season average of 82 points. CEU was 2-13 from behind the arc and 19-28 from the charity stripe.
“I thought the guys did not respond for the first time this year. North Idaho came into our house and beat us in every facet of the game. It was very embarrassing and disappointing loss for us. Sometimes in athletics you learn more from a loss so I hope that our players have learned from that game and remember what it feels like to be beat like that,” Craig said. The atmosphere at the game was amazing, the scream team came out in full force to try to lift the EU men to victory, but it wasn’t enough.
The next day the EU men had to wake up and put the day before behind them and get ready to face an always nationally-ranked CSI team.
“Saturday night against CSI our team returned after being MIA on Friday night. We shared the ball and played with the kind of tenacity needed to win this league. Isiah Williams gave us a huge lift with 15 points and played solid defense also,” Coach Craig said.
The EU men did play a lot better and it showed on the scoreboard with five players scoring in double figures. Hobson led the team with 18 on 7-9 from the field including two of three from downtown. Franklin also had a big game again with 17 points on 8-11 from the field and six rebounds. Williams had 15; Mike Scott had 13 with five assists and he went seven for seven from the line. Thomas Phillip had 11 going four of four from the field. All the players in some form to contribute to the 94-78 win. The men shot 35-54 while resulting in a 64 percent shooting percentage.
The Eagles also did the little things it takes to win a game. In the win, CEU had 19 assists, four blocks, 23 rebounds and eight steals, three of which were from Chandler Pearson. Pearson got the nod to start the game on Saturday and seemed to give a spark to the EU men.
“I was really happy with Russo (Ferdando de Fevari) this weekend. I thought he stepped up on both sides of the floor and was one of the few that were not intimidated by NIC on Friday night,” Craig continued.
CEU will play Salt Lake CC this weekend in Salt Lake on Jan. 16,, then move on to rival Snow College in Ephraim on the 17. The next home game for CEU will be Jan. 30 against Colorado Northwestern Community College.
Coach Craig said, “We are grateful for the fans that showed up to support us. The community, CEU’s staff, and the student body did a great job attending both games this weekend and we apologize that they had to witness our lousy performance on Friday night.”
Men’s NJCAA Basketball Polls
1. Chipola College
2. Southeastern Illinois College
3. Indian Hills CC
4. Midland College
5. Cowley County CC
6. North Dakota State College of Science
7. Southeastern CC
8. Northwest Florida State College
9. Odessa College
10. Paris Junior College
11. U of Ark-Fort Smith
12. N. Idaho C
13. S. Plains College
14. Salt Lake CC
15. Collin CC
16 Tyler Junior College
17. C of Eastern Utah
18. Carton County CC
19. Miami Dade College
20. Ariz. Western College
21. Wallace State CC
22. S.W. Illinois College
23. College of Coastal Georgia
24. College of S. Idaho