This archived article was written by: Riley Spears
Starting off the tough conference schedule, CEU was in need of wins to move up the conference standings. They came into the weekend with a record of 1-1. They had a strong change to take two against rivals Salt Lake Community College and Snow College. SLCC came into the game ranked as one of the best in the nation and with rivalries, no one ever knows what can happen.
Against SLCC, EU needed this win not just for an emotional boost but a boost up the NJCAA totem pole.
EU played a good game against SLCC, but the Bruins played a better game. CEU dug themselves into a hole early and could never get back. Chandler Pearson stepped up in the game and had his best game of the year scoring 16, including four of eight from behind the arc. CEU went into the half down 35-23.
A big part of the problem for CEU was the amount of turnovers and steals. EU had seven steals and 18 turnovers compared to SLCC’s 11 steals to 13 turnovers.
In the second half, the Eagles really stepped up and outscored the Bruins 44-37. The scoring was in large part to the duo of Darrington Hobson with 12 points and Thomas Phillips with 11 points. CEU also rebounded the ball much better than the Bruins, pulling down 33 rebounds compared to the 31 of SLCC. Most of the rebounds were contributed by Stephen Franklin who pulled down eight, five of which were offensive.
Even with the last half heroics by the Eagles, they could not get out of the hole they put themselves in the first half and lost 72-67. CEU did have a better shooting percentage than SLCC, but could not pull out the win on the road.
Head basketball Coach Chris Craig said, “Our kids played their hearts out. We came out and didn’t connect on any of our shots and Salt Lake came out and executed in the half court to begin the game. The second half was a different story as our guys came out strong on both ends of the floor. We had chances to take the lead or tie late in the game and made some crucial turnovers. We have a long way to go as a team but I am proud of my guys’ effort. As long as they continue to play with that kind of determination, we will have a chance to win every game this year.”
The next day CEU put it all behind them, but with the extra incentive of them playing rival Snow, they should had no problems getting up and ready for the game.
Coach Criag said, “After our Salt Lake game, we had to bounce back and beat a tough Snow team on their home floor the next day. Darington got hurt in the first few minutes of the second half and everyone else stepped up and rallied around each other to find a way to win a tough game in a hostile environment.
“Again, our offense was not clicking as it should have and as it has in the past, but our guys’ effort put us in a position to win the game on the road. Chandler hit a huge three-point shot with 45 seconds left to put us up three points and ultimately win us the game. Nick Thompson was huge for us with nine big rebounds to go with 11 points.”
Snow on the other hand came out with even more energy than CEU and at the half it looked again like it may be the day before all over again as the Eagles went into the half down 36-33. Stephen Franklin helped CEU in the first half and ended the game with 15 points.
After going into the half down like the night before, EU had to again climb out of the hole they dug. They did just that by coming out in the game out scoring the Badgers 31-27. CEU ended up with the win 64-63 thanks in big part to the play of Nick Thompson with 11 points and nine boards. Pearson came off the bench and scored 12 including making four from behind the arc.
Craig said, “After the game, a Snow player tackled one of our guys to the ground and both benches cleared. I was proud of our players for backing up their teammate and the small skirmish resulted in no punches being thrown. I was happy with the win, especially winning in a hostile environment. The whole team came to back up [Aaron] England which was a testament to how close knit this group really is.”
On Jan. 24, Eagles took on the Colorado Northwestern Community College Spartans in Rangely, Colo. This SWAC matchup was a hotly contested game, and by half time CNCC had pulled out to a 33-29 lead. In the second half, the Spartans came out hot, and went on an 11-point run. CEU answered emphatically, and with nine minutes left in the game, took control. They ended the game on a 30-11 run, pushing the final score to 72-63. With the win, CEU improves to 3-2 in SWAC play, and remain nationally ranked at 24.
The Eagles take on CNCC again this weekend at the Bunnel-Dmitrich Athletic Center. The games will start at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 30, and 5 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 31.