Golden Eagles Fall to Rebels in SWAC Tourney
|GJ Macon pulls down a rebound during a regular season game earlier this year. Macon posted three rebounds against UVSC last week in the Scenic West Athletic Conference final tournament. The Eagles fell in overtime to the Wolverines, 81-79.|
It has been a long journey for the College of Eastern Utah men's basketball team this year. The season kicked off with the Eagles anticipating a strong season. The Eagles did accomplish this goal however, the team fell short of a Scenic West Athletic Conference title.
After completing the season with a 7-9 SWAC record and a 18-13 overall record, the Eagles entered the final season tournament in sixth place in the conference and faced the Utah Valley State College Wolverines.
The first round games took place last Wednesday in St. George. The Eagles came out strong knowing that it was do-or-die time. If the eastern Utah team lost the first round game, they would be dropped from the single elimination tourney and would be forced to return home without a SWAC title.
The Eagles came out shooting, but the rally didn't seem to materialize for the team in the first half. By halftime, the CEU team trailed the Wolverines, 35-22.
As the Eagles returned to the court, the team realized that it was time to turn up the heat. This is exactly what they did as they shot 65 percent from the field compared to the Wolverines 48 percent.
In the second half, the Eagles managed to even the score by scoring 49 points in the half. This forced the tournament game into overtime.
With an opportunity to stay alive and compete in the second round of tourney competition, both teams played tough and fierce as the game was to be decided in a matter of minutes.
By the time that the smoke had cleared, the Eagles had missed the victory by only two points. UVSC had defeated CEU, 81-79 in the first round of the SWAC tourney, but it took overtime to get the job done.
Derrick Turner lead the Eagles in scoring in the tournament game as he completed the match up with 26 points.
Turner also assisted the team defensively as he pulled down 15 defensive rebounds.
Second year Eagle, PJ Stinnett added 19 points in the Eagle's final game of the year. Stinnett has been a key player for the past two years with the Eagles and will be missed by the team next season.
Also posting double figures was Chris Langhorne who finished the game with 10 points.
The Wolverines moved on to compete in the second round of the tournament and defeated Southern Idaho, 88-83.
UVSC then moved on to compete in the final round of the championship tournament and ended up losing to this year's SWAC champ, the Dixie State Rebels.
The Eagles will now go into the long off season and will begin to reconstruct the team. With several players leaving the school because of graduation, the Eagles look toward next year.
Although many players will return, it will be interesting to see what reconstruction the team will go through to prepare for next season.