CEU teams taken down by Cardinals: Men drop close one in Coeur d' Alene
Hoping to make a move back up in the standings, College of Eastern Utah Eagles took on the Northern Idaho Cardinals last weekend. To say they just missed their chance would be an understatement.
Three points made the difference between two wins or two losses. The Friday game came down to a single point, as CEU lost 67-66 to the Cardinals. Saturday it was a single bucket that handed the Eagles a defeat with a 74-72 loss.
During the Friday night game the 16th ranked Cardinals had built up a big 22 point lead over CEU, but just like the last weekend against CSI, the Golden Eagles kicked it into gear. They made a tremendous run at the end of the second half only to come up short. A missed layup and then a missed three point attempt for the win by Darington Hobson proved to be the difference as CEU lost its third straight conference game on the road.
"That seems to be our thing this year," said CEU head coach Chris Craig. "We get down 20 and fight like hell to get back in the game."
Against the College of Southern Idaho last week his team climbed back into the game after trailing by 18 points.
"It's tough when you're playing good teams," said Craig. "In my opinion, North Idaho is the best team in the league right now. We have to do a better job."
Four players scored in double figures for CEU with Aaron England leading the team with 15. Stephen Franklin added 14 and went five of six from the line. Cliff Colimon added 12 and Phillip Thomas rounded up the top scorers with 11.
Noticeably absent was team scoring leader Darington Hobson who ended up with a mere two.
The Eagles got no Valentine wishes on Saturday either. They found themselves down by a point with six seconds left. Hobson was fouled on a shot attempt but the officials decided that the foul didn't occur during the shot and gave him a one and one. He hit the first free throw but it was waved off. According to the officials, CEU's Chandler Pearson stepped over the line that demarks the lane before the ball hit the rim on the attempt. NIC then got the ball.
A Cardinal's free throw with 5.2 seconds left put NIC up by two. CEU came down the floor and a pull-up 3-point shot by the Eagle's Mike Scott bounced off the back of the rim at the buzzer.
"Referees decided the game," Craig remarked. "That's two weeks in a row. Last week at CSI, the referees decided the game too. We've already watched the film. The ball was clearly gone before my guy ran in there. You just don't make that call. Even if it's close."
CEU was dominant on the boards. They outplayed NIC 50-26 in the rebounding effort by the bigger Golden Eagles. Phillip Thomas had 16 points and nine rebounds. Stephen Franklin had 15 points and eight boards.
With the losses CEU dropped to 5-6 in conference play and now stands in fourth place in the conference before going into the last four home games against Snow and SLCC. If the season ended today the post season tournament would be hosted by SLCC in Salt Lake City.
The Eagles meet up at home with Snow College this weekend. The games start at 7:30 p.m. on Friday night and 5 p.m. on Saturday.