This year, the Utah State University Eastern men’s basketball team had an interesting year. The Eagles ended with an overall record of 12-18, and a conference record of 10-8.
Eligibility issues caused the Eagles to forfeit seven of their preseason victories. The team recovered through conference play and earned the No.3 seed in the conference tournament with a win over College of Southern Nevada, late in conference play. USU Eastern wrapped up the season with two blowout wins over Community Christian College, by a combined score of 218-79. Going into the tournament, the Eagles knew that matching up with Salt Lake Community College was going to be difficult.
In previous matchups between the Bruins and Eagles, the Bruins won both meetings with scores of 76-70 and 109-73. The third and what came to be the final matchup between the Eagles and Bruins took place on Mar. 2, at College of Southern Idaho in the first round of the Scenic West Athletic Conference Tournament.
In the first half, SLCC got out to a good start by outscoring the Eagles 54-29. Jack Jamele had three triples in the first half to lead the Eagles, but it just was not enough. In the second half, the Eagles were outscored 47-39 for a final of 101-68. The Eagles did what they could to try and slow down the Bruins but, in the end, it just was not enough.
Dyson Lighthall would finish with 13 points to lead the Eagles and 11 from Jamele Kevin Bethel added 10 of his own.
This loss ultimately ended this season for the Eagles. Eastern will look to bounce back in the off-season to be a in the upcoming season in the Scenic West Athletic Conference. The 12-18 finish is not what the Eagles had in mind, but it was a good learning experience for the team. Eastern has the talent to be a contender.