The USUE men’s basketball team has been on a roll lately. The Eagles traveled down to Redlands, California, to play Community Christian College for a two-day doubleheader. Then on traveled to Henderson, Nevada, to take on conference rival College of Southern Nevada. The Eagles won all three games and now have rattled off five straight wins and showed tremendous determination midway through the season.
Community Christian College
The doubleheader was against Community Christian College. Community Christian College is a two-year private college from Redlands, California. The Saints came into the game with one of the worst records in college basketball at 0-13. Meanwhile, Utah State Eastern was 12-5 and coming off two straight wins.
When the game began, it was clear who was the better team on the court. The Eagles stormed out to an early 20-point lead at the half. They cruised to an easy victory 106-49. The starters for USUE scored at will throughout the game, combining for 63 points. The win sparked confidence in the team for the next day to play Community Christian again.
Game 2 of the two-day doubleheader was slightly closer than the first game. However, the Eagles still stomped the Saints in a 30 point blowout, 98-62. The Eagles took care of business against the winless Saints, and Utah State Eastern was on a roll with four straight victories. The winning streak helped set up a crucial conference matchup in Henderson.
College of Southern Nevada
Coming into Henderson, the Eagles were second in region standings. College of Southern Nevada had a 9-10 record, was 3-4 against conference opponents, and was 5th in region standings. With a win, the Eagles would stay one game ahead of College of Southern Idaho in the region standings keeping them in contention to catch top-ranked and unbeaten Salt Lake Community College. With a loss, the Eagles would be tied with CSI and be 3 games behind Salt Lake in the standings. A loss would be devastating to any chance at a region title.
The game started off with both teams playing tough defense. Offensively Each team was having a hard time scoring. USUE was 0-7 from the three-point line, while CSN was 1-6. Both teams would finish with below 40% shooting in the first half.
Right before the end of the Half, CSN forward Terrance Marigney hit a deep 3 pointer to put the Coyotes up by 2, 29-27. However, Eagles center Mabeny Naam hit a turnaround jumper to tie the game back up at 29s and would stay that way heading into halftime.
In the second half, both team’s offenses turned it around, and the game quickly turned into a shootout. Eagle’s guard Peyton Falslev hit the Eagle’s first three of the game early into the half. He would go on to hit 3 three-pointers in the second half. Both teams were on fire throughout the whole half. The Eagles were able to gain a slight advantage of 73-68 with two minutes left in the game. The Eagles would hold on to their lead after Falslev hit a dagger 3 pointer to put the Eagles up eight with about 1:30 left. Utah State Eastern would hold on and win 81-76.
The win now puts the Eagles on a 5 game win streak and keeps the Eagles in second place in region 18. Region 18 is very competitive. 3 teams, SLCC, CSI, and Snow, are all ranked in the national top 25 rankings. Despite this, the Eagles are in second place, and their determination and grit now put them in a golden opportunity to become nationally ranked and battle for the top spot in the region.
This week, our Eagles will play two key conference games, which will serve as a key test to see if they are a legitimate contender in Region 18. Hatted rival Snow College, ranked #20, goes to Price for a clash in the BDAC on Thursday, January 20. Then the Eagles will next travel to Salt Lake City on Saturday, January 22, to face unbeaten Salt Lake Community College in a Region 18 showdown.