This archived article was written by: David Osborne Jr.
The Utah State University Eastern Golden Eagles closed out 2013 and started out 2014 on a hot streak. Starting Region 18 play during finals week was the way that the team ended the semester and the year, hosting North Idaho College and the College of Southern Idaho. The team was able to tally two more W’s in the win column beating NIC 85-83 and CSI 95-85 during those games bringing momentum into 2014.
After the break, and to get back into form, the team played two non-conference games in the Bunnell-Dimitrich Athletic Center. On Jan. 1, Western Wyoming Community College took on the Golden Eagles. Not skipping a beat the Golden Eagles easily handled the Mustangs winning by 16, final score 92-76. The following day the South Colorado Kings paid a visit to Price, and once again the Eagles came away with a win beating the Kings by 31, 115-84.
Getting back to the action in region play, the Golden Eagles hosted Colorado Northwestern Community College on Jan. 4. The team was once again ready for the challenge putting points up on the scoreboard in droves. The Golden Eagles ended the game with five players that had point totals in double-digits, led by Kendahl Amerson with 25 points and eight assists. Travon Langston added 14 points while leading the team with 9 rebounds. Unfortunately for the Golden Eagles, no player was able to catch the elusive double-double. At the end of the game the Golden Eagles nearly doubled CNCC’s point total, final score 107-54.
Following a long home stint totaling five games, the Golden Eagles, ranked 16th nationally, hopped on the bus and took their game on the road to face the Snow College Badgers. Although it was the first time that the Golden Eagles have had to go into a hostile environment against a team in the region. Although the team started out slow on the road, behind by three at the end of the first half, a new energy took over the team in the second half outscoring the Badgers in the second half by 16. There was a small black eye during the game. The Golden Eagles received two different technical fouls , one given to Amerson and another to Jaleni Neely. At the end of the game, the Golden Eagles had three players with double-digit point totals lead by Trahmier Burrell and Amerson with 19 respectively. Burrell also led the team with eight rebounds and went 7-7 from the freethrow line. The final score in Ephriam was 74-61, giving the Golden Eagles another win.
On Jan. 11, the Golden Eagles paid a visit to the Salt Lake Community College Bruins in Salt Lake City. Visiting the “Den” as it is known at SLCC, seemed to be the toughest test that Golden Eagles have had all season. It was a perfect storm for the team, a lid seemed to be on top of the basket and SLCC’s basket seemed to be the size of a hula-hoop. SLCC hit 63 percent of their shots while the Golden Eagles were barely able to hit 42 percent of their own. One bright spot that fell on the stat sheet was the freethrow percentage which so far this year has been rather low. The Golden Eagles were able to go 18-22 from the charity stripe for 81.8 percent while SLCC only hit 52 percent of their freethrows. At the end of the game the 11th ranked Golden Eagles had suffered their first loss in region to the 20th ranked Bruins.
The Golden Eagles will continue their road trip against 10th ranked CSI in Twin Falls, Idaho on Jan. 16. Coach Vando said, “We are going to have to play tough. If you want to win our conference you play through Twin Falls. We are going to need to start out hard and play smart, not flat. The key is to execute and be ready to play.”