|Mindaugas Katelynas and Derrick Turner fight off a FCAA defender for a rebound during last Friday nights game. The Eagles have kicked off the preseason strong by remaining undefeated. The team will continue preseason play this weekend in Orem.|
The College of Eastern Utah mens basketball team has kicked off the preseason quite successfully. So far, the Eagles have posted a 5-0 record against many talented teams.
The latest in the string of victories for the Eagles came this past weekend as the team hosted their annual CEU Invitational.
To kick things off, the Eagles took on FCAA Friday night. The competition was intense and the Eagles held on to win the game 106-97.
The victory was not an easy one for the Eagles. In fact, the final decision came down to the final minutes of the ball game.
"We held on until the end. This was a talented team that has several strong players. We didn't give up and the guys held on until the final buzzer," explained Eagle's assistant coach Brady Trenkle.
With slightly over a minute left in the ball game, the Eagles were ahead of FCAA by two points.
The Eagles then turned up the heat and pressured FCAA who committed several fouls during the final minute of the game.
CEU field goal shooters were right on target as they sank foul shot after foul shot.
By the time the clock had wound down, the Eagles had claimed their fourth consecutive win.
The newcomers stepped up to play quite well for the Eagles. In fact, the new guys ruled the boards for CEU.
First year man with the Eagles, Devin Wood lead the team in scoring with 19 points. Wood also had two steals and shot 7-8 from the free throw line. Six of Wood's points also came from the three point field goal line.
Anthony Grant also scored 19 points for the Eagles. The six foot- four inch freshman from Washington also pulled down eight rebounds for CEU.
Derrick Turner followed in scoring with 17 points while posting 10 rebounds, while Corey Brown added 11 points, nine of which came from the long distance line.
Saturday evening, the Eagles returned to their home court to host Clearfield. Once again, CEU dominated the court as they handed Clearfield a 97-43 loss.
The Eagles took control of the ball game early on. By the time that the half rolled around, the Eagles lead the game 47-14. It was smooth sailing from here for the talented Eagle team.
Once again, the new players stepped up to play strong on their home court.
Keston Roberts had a tremendous game by leading the team in scoring with 27 points.
Roberts shot 5-7 from the three point line and pulled down six rebounds in the Eagles victory.
Following in scoring was second year Eagle, Mindaugas Katelynas who finished with 17 points.
Katelynas has been a dominant player for CEU so far this year and Friday night was no exception. Katelynas pulled down nine boards and blocked three shots against Clearfield.
Katelynas has also proved that tall guys can be quick. In Saturday's game, Katelynas had one steal. Not unusual for this talented athlete.
Grant had another successful game as he posted 14 points and dished out seven assists in the preseason game.
Finally, return player PJ Stinnett scored 13 points while handing out three assists and stealing three balls.
Even though the season has not began, the Eagles look forward to competing in the Scenic West Athletic Conference.
This should be a successful season for the team who finished last year with a 20-12 overall record. This season should prove to be better for the Eagles who have a strong lineup.
"If we can play during the season like we are right now, I think that we will do pretty good. There are a lot of talented teams in the SWAC, but I think that we will be one of the teams to beat this year," explained Trenkle.
The Eagles will continue preseason competition this weekend as they play at the UVSC Classic in Orem.
Friday evening the Eagles will play the University of Great Falls junior varsity team and Saturday night, CEU will take on Hill Air Force Base.
As the Eagles continue to prepare for the regular season, they will remain focused on building their skills as a team so that when the SWAC season begins in January, the team will be ready for any and all challenges.
The Golden Eagles will return to the BDAC Dec. 13 as they host Hill Air Force Base. In the meantime, the team will be on the road playing as many games as they can to prepare for the upcoming season.