Men return home with split games
|Six-foot-7-inch Tate Sorensen looks for a block against a Western Wyoming Community College player in a Jan. 15 non-conference game. CEU beat Western Wyoming 85-66 and is 18-8 overall this season.|
College of Eastern Utah's men's basketball team returned home with a split pair of away games last weekend against Dixie State College. The Eagles beat the Rebels 76-68 Friday, but took a loss on Saturday, 64-91.
Chris Lang led Friday's game scoring 20 points, making seven of 14 field goals, and three of six free throws. Lang also had three rebounds, two assists and a steal. Jamaal Smith made 18 points, had three rebounds and an assist, while teammate Eldridge Henderson had 14 points, one rebound, one assist and a steal. John Rogers led CEU's defense with 10 rebounds, one block and three steals.
CEU averaged a low 35 percent from the field, compared with Dixie's 44 percent; however, the Eagles attempted 24 more shots than the Rebels Ã¯Â¿Â½ enough for a win. Lagging behind in defense, CEU made 40 rebounds, two blocks and seven steals; Dixie made 46 rebounds, eight blocks, and five steals.
CEU's head coach, Bryan Zollinger explained earlier in the season that the back-to-back games often end in a split. Friday's loser returns determined not to be swept, and the winner returns overly confident of a win.
"We just played very poorly," said Zollinger, unable to point to any single factors that contributed to Saturday's loss.
Just as the night before, CEU lagged in defense, with 53 rebounds, four blocks and six steals. Dixie had 54 rebounds, five blocks and nine steals.
On Friday, CEU scored eight points off rebounds and 30 off turnovers; on Saturday, they scored 16 from rebounds and 19 off turnovers.
With CEU again shooting a low 27 percent from the field and Dixie shooting 43 percent, there were only two minor differences from the night before: Dixie College's ability to score quickly after a change of possession and the number of shots attempted.
On Friday, the Rebels had made just four points off rebounds and 13 off turnovers. That changed on Saturday to 17 points off rebounds and 29 off turnovers.
CEU attempted 65 field goals and 29 free throws on Friday. That remained virtually unchanged on Saturday with 60 field goal attempts and 30 attempts from the line. Dixie went to the basket more Saturday, attempting 58 field goals on Saturday, compared with just 41 the night before, and 49 free throws on Saturday, compared with 40 free throws on Friday.
"We won the series against Dixie," said Zollinger, citing a win last December against Dixie. He further explained that set of wins this weekend against Snow College or the following weekend against Salt Lake Community College would move them up from their fourth-place ranking. Four wins would move CEU to second in the conference.