USUE men’s basketball season kicked off this weekend after picking up two wins on the road in Twin Falls, Idaho.
On Jan. 22, the Eagles cruised past Northeastern Junior College 74-54. Jesse White led the team in scoring with 19 points while shooting 5/12 from the field and 3/6 behind the arc while dishing out three assists and only having one turnover. National Mims also had a nice defensive day as he recorded six blocks and four steals.
The Eagles defense got after it right from the beginning as they were able to force the Northeastern offense into tough situations and caused 17 TOs. The team then capitalized off Northeastern’s mistakes by scoring 20 points off the turnover. The defense played a huge role in the victory, but the offense converted when it needed to. The Eagles shot 31-free throws, converting on 24 of them; in a 20-point victory, 21-free points came from the foul line.
The offense shot decent from the field, shooting 39% on jump shots and shot 31% from behind the three-point line, although being good enough to win.
The Eagles then played Jan. 23, against Community Christian College and stomped them 119-63. Peyton Falsely and White both finished with 15. Falsely’s points came from behind the arc finishing the game with five threes while shooting an efficient 5/9 from the three-point line. White’s shot just as well as he finished 6/8 from the field and 2/2 from behind the arc.
“We have some guys that are really good at getting to the basket,” head coach Bill Evans said. “We can’t settle for jump shots when we are that successful going to the line.” The Eagles shot 31 free throws compared to Northeastern’s 15.
The Eagles offense this game was impressive, shooting 42-69 from the field and shot an impressive 56% from behind the three-point line.
The biggest takeaway that new head coach Bill Evans had from the successful weekend was teammate success. “Everyone was excited to see their teammates not only play but play well,” Evans said.
Team distribution was apparent throughout the game, with six Eagles players scoring in double figures. The offense scored all 119 points in many different ways but main from the paint. The Eagles had 50 points in the paint and took advantage of outside shooting while shooting 56% from the thee-point line and finished the game with seven three pointers.
The bench also stepped up and scored 53 points compared to Christian Community College’s 20. “Many guys were able to play and took advantage of their playing time,” coach said. “They saw the opportunity and really went with it.”
The Eagles defense also came to play again for a second time forcing 25 TO’s and took advantage of Christian Community College’s mistakes by scoring 27 points off those turnovers. The Eagles defense was smothering, Christian Community shot a poor 32% from the field and 24% from behind the arc.
“We forced them into some tough shots, and then we were able to capitalize off those turnovers and scored some points,” Evans said. The Eagles would obviously like a repeat of history again on Jan. 26, when they took on Christian Community College for the second time this season. Scores were not available at press time.