Men's B-Ball holds on

Posted Thursday, January 29, 2004 - 12:00am

The men's basketball team at the College of Eastern Utah has gone through a tough stretch the last couple of weeks.   Two weeks ago, they battled Snow College, who stands at the top of the SWAC.   The Eagles fell in both games in Ephraim, 78-69 and 82-68, respectively.

During the first game against the Badgers, the Eagles came out strong and took the lead into halftime.   In the second half, while the Eagles' offensive output remained the same, Snow caught fire, lighting the Eagles up for 51 points in the second half.   CEU was outscored 51-37 in the second half and Snow got the win, 78-69.  

The Badger's Jake Schroeder led all scorers with 22 points, including making 12 of 13 shots from the free-throw line.   Snow had four players score in double digits on the night.   The Eagles were led by Michael Kirkpatrick who scored 11.   Jared Quayle chipping in 10.

The next night, the Eagles squared off against the Badgers again with results were similar to the previous night's.   The Eagles, again, came out strong in the first half and took a six-point lead into halftime.   But the Badgers were able to muster the same offensive magic they had the previous night, scoring 48 points in the second half.   The Badger's defense also stepped up in the second half, holding the Eagles to 28 points.

The Eagles had three players in double figures, again, led by Kirkpatrick with 17, which included five three-pointers.   The Badgers had four players score in double figures, this time led by Slade Bigelow with 16.

After those two games, Snow took control of first place in the SWAC at 10-4 and CEU fell to sixth place in the conference at 7-7.

The next weekend, the Eagles came home to face off against the Dixie State Rebels.   After splitting games with the College of Southern Idaho, the Rebels fell to second place in the conference behind Snow.

On Friday night, both teams started out slowly on offense, but the scoring picked up part way through the game and never slowed down.  In the second half, the Eagles' offense and defense were firing on all cylinders and managed to build, at one point, an 18-point lead.  

However, the Rebels were out to prove why they are ranked #25 in the nation among junior colleges.  The Rebels started firing three-point shots and they were falling.The Eagles also started trying to slow down the game, but it affected their offensive production. The large lead quickly evaporated and the Eagles found themselves in a dogfight for the victory.

The big lead earlier in the second half proved too much for the Rebels to overcome, and the Eagles triumphed 83-78.

The next night, the Rebels seemed a lot more focused on both ends of the court right from the opening tip.   Only a few minutes into the game, the Rebels had already taken a double-digit lead.   Poor shot selection and many turnovers took the Eagles out of the game early.

But, the Eagles were able to calm down and get back into the game by halftime.   The second half remained close, but the Rebels were maintained the lead.   As the game wound down, the Rebels went on a little run, pushing the lead back to double-digits and the Eagles never recovered.   The game ended with the Rebels on top 88-82.

In other games in the SWAC:   Salt Lake Community College swept Snow College over the weekend in Salt Lake City 77-74 and 109-96 (OT).  Also, in Twin Falls, North Idaho College split one game each with the College of Southern Idaho 61-74 and 80-71.

What does all this mean?   Well, with one win for Dixie and Snow losing twice, both are tied for first place at 10-6.   Salt Lake Community College is in third place after their two wins at 8-6.   After splitting with each other, North Idaho College and CSI are tied for fourth at 9-7.   The Eagles are sitting in sixth place at 8-8 and Colorado Northwestern, who hasn't managed a conference victory yet, are in last place at 0-14.  

With only two games separating first place from sixth, the rest of the season should be very interesting to see how it unfolds.

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