The preseason in any sport is a time to mesh and come together as a team. It is also a time for all to see playing time and to work out any quirks that are plaguing the team. The CEU men's basketball team has fared well this preseason and now are ready for the task that lies ahead of them this season; taking on the competition in the all-to competitive Scenic West Athletic Conference.
Things will be a bit different this season for the Eagles, simply because there are many new faces both on the roster and in the assistant coaching spot filled by Brock Erickson and Bob Potts. The team is smaller than in year's past and the coaching staff has employed a different kind of offensive scheme. The Eagles opponents will have their stamina checked every time they are in their defensive setup, for the Eagles employ a sort of run-and gun-offense, but more of a controlled fast-break type of offense. Every chance that will present itself, the Eagles will run the socks off of their opponent's feet and hopefully this will turn in to many fast-break opportunities. They still defend the ball well as we saw last year, but will just lack the inside size that many of us are accustomed to seeing in the past.
The Eagles have participated in three tournaments and two other games this preseason and have had success in all of them. The first was held in Hobbs, New Mexico on November 4-6. On the 4th against New Mexico Junior College, they squeaked by with a one-point victory 81-80. Chris Lang led the Eagles with 19 points, while Jamaal Smith chipped in 16 and Eldridge Henderson with 14. On the 5th they didn't have the luck they hoped for. They fell to NMMI 65-71. Smith led the Eagles with 16 and Tate Sorenson added 13 of his own. They bounced back well the following night and beat Cochise College 80-77. Tournament MVP Lang dropped in 21 on 8/12 shooting while Henderson and John Rogers both added 11.
The Eagles then traveled to Rock Springs Wyo. and won both games. In the first, Henderson and Lang again paced the Eagles with 19 and 13 points to beat the Spartans of Western Wyoming Community College 70-64. The following night they again toppled the competition with a one-point victory over Salt Lake Metro 81-80. Just like the night before Henderson and Lang both lead the Eagles with 21 and 13. Sorenson also put in 13 for the Eagles.
After the success that they had been seeing, they brought their confidence home to the BDAC and wiped the floor with the competition with wins against Clearfield Job Corps and Salt Lake Metro in the CEU tournament. Clearfield put up a fight but the Eagles were too much for them and CEU won 125-40. Henderson led with 23 on 10/12 shooting with Smith adding 14 of his own. The following night they kept the wheels spinning and beat Salt Lake metro 86-78. Lang paced the Eagles with 19 and pulled down 13 boards while Colby Vranes pitched in with 13.
It was another weekend on the road for the Eagles as they traveled to Salt Lake Community College this past week for a tournament where they saw the likes of Treasure Valley Community College, a former member of the SWAC, and also Westminster College. Against TVCC, the Eagles were plagued by 25 turnovers but luckily they forced their opponents into 27 of their own. They again were victorious and won 81-79. Lang and Smith led the Eagles with 21 and 15 points, respectively. They followed that victory with yet another when they beat Westminster College the following night 73 -54. Henderson led the charge with 16 and Lang followed up with 11 points.
As the CEU men's basketball team has wrapped up their preseason with much success, they know what they have to work on before the opener of the SWAC season Thursday at 7:30 pm. The BDAC will be filled to capacity as the Eagles take on the nationally-ranked (2nd overall) Dixie State Rebels from St. George. The Eagles will come out running, literally, and hope to use their speed to counter the size of not only Dixie State, but the rest of the competition in the SWAC. The players and coaching staff urge all to come out Thursday and root for the home team as CEU kicks off the 2004-2005 basketball season.
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