This archived article was written by: Riley Spears
Blowouts against Colorado Northwest Community College and heart-breaking losses against College of Southern Idaho dropped Eastern Utah in national rankings.
After garnering a win in their meeting last week against CNCC the CEU men’s basketball team got the opportunity to play them again on their home court. CEU went into the weekend ranked third in the SWAC and 19th in the National NJCAA polls.
Before the matchup head basketball Coach Chris Craig decided to keep high scorer Darington Hobson out, missing his fifth game in a row due to an injury, and hoping to get him to 100 percent for the following weekend against CSI.
CEU didn’t miss a step in the first of two matchups for the weekend against the last place team in the SWAC and ended up scoring a season high 108 points in the blowout. EU won the game 108-71.
CEU’s scoring attack was evenly distributed with five players in double figures and three having a double-double led by Stephen Franklin who scored 24 points and had 16 boards. Also contributing for EU was Nick Thompson, who had 18 points and 11 rebounds. Scott Mike also achieved a double-double scoring 11 points with 10 assists, and one turnover. Also adding to the scoring frenzy put on by the Eagles was Aaron England with 16 points, Phillip Thomas had 14 in the game with eight rebounds. All but one player scored showing CEU’s versatility and depth. CEU did everything well, they hit the glass hard and pulled down an amazing 52 rebounds led again by Franklin. All but two players pulled down at least one rebound.
In the second game, CEU started off where they left off starting on a 10-0 run and never looked back. CNCC still could not find an answer for Franklin who had 22 points and 46 points total on the weekend. CEU again scored above their average for the season ( 94 ppg).The EU men took out CNCC with a 94-44 whopping.
The scoring was again led by Franklin with 22 points, Phillip 19 points, and Chandler Pearson had 12 points and 13 rebounds. CEU again had all but one player in the scoring column and all but one getting a rebound for the Eagles.
With the two huge yet easy wins they had a lot of momentum going into the game against The College of Southern Idaho who had just recently fallen out of the top 20 NJCAA rankings. CEU started the game playing step for step with CSI, Hobson came out of the gates firing.Hobson scored 14 in the first half, showing that he didn’t miss a beat after missing five games. CEU went into the half down by two.
In the second half CSI came out scoring and got off to a quick start by scoring the first four points of the half. The real action started late in the game when CEU was down by seven nearing the end of the game, and with one minute left CEU was down by five. After a three pointer made by EU and a monumental mistake by CSI inbounding the ball, CEU had the ball under the basket with three seconds left and down by two. CEU inbounded the ball to Mike Scott who was fouled and had the chance to send the game to overtime. Scott is who CEU wanted on the line because Scott is shooting 85 percent from the line good enough for sixth in the nation. Scott hit both from the line and sent the game into overtime completing the 17-point comeback.
Assistant Coach Anthony Owens said, “In the last five minutes, we hit our shots and they missed, that’s how we made the comeback.”
In overtime Thompson was leading the Eagles charge but could not get over the hump and get past CSI who was hitting all their clutch free throws. Coach Craig also got a second technical foul in overtime kicking him out of the game and giving CSI four free throws making all four giving CSI the lead by six. With a final score of 118-112 CEU suffered a huge loss to the chances of winning the conference.
Leading the scoring for CEU was Hobson who stepped right back in where he left off and scored 28 points and had 11 rebounds.
Coach Owens said, “Darrington gave us a extra lift with his 28 points.”
Franklin also had a good game scoring 18 points with Scott who also had 18 points. Thompson also had a good game scoring 14 points and England scored 12 in the loss.
Coach Owens said, “The guys are never satisfied with a loss, emotions were down, but the guys fought back and with an unfortunate call at the end giving us only two shots on a three-shot foul hurt us.
In the next game against CSI, CEU was hoping to turn the tides on CSI and get a win before heading home. CSI on the other hand had other ideas, and CEU didn’t have what it took to keep up, and with no Coach Craig at the helm they didn’t have it that night. CEU ended up losing the game 85-60 in the lowest scoring effort of the year.
Coach Owens said, “With Coach Craig not in the game, we just didn’t come out to play some of the guys were didn’t show the maturity that they should have.”
Hobson again led the charge for CEU scoring 21 points and pulling down 12 rebounds.
Coach Owens said, “I have been in the situation of having to step in and coach, last year our coach got fired during the season and I coached, but it’s a lot different when you are the head guy.”
With the two losses it brings CEU to a tie for third place with CSI. North Idaho College and Salt Lake Community College are tied for first after SLCC lost to Snow this weekend. NIC is ranked 18th in the nation and SLCC moved up one spot to sixth despite the loss.
EU will face NIC in Idaho next weekend hoping to pick up a win or two and help out their conference standings.