USU Eastern's Neveij Walters prepares to release the ball during a free throw attempt in a game last season. The sophomore led the Golden Eagles in their first two games averaging 25 points per game.
The USU Eastern Golden Eagles have landed on the basketball court after a long offseason, ready to begin the new season. It was an offseason filled with plenty of newcomers coming into the program and the tragic loss of coach Brad Barton.
For the mens team, the start of the new season brought two wins against Impact Prep (94-64) on Friday and against Salt Lake Metro (104-94) on Saturday.
Sophomore Neveij Walters led Eastern on both nights scoring 31 points against Impact Prep and 19 against Salt Lake Metro. Sophomore newcomer Demetrus Richardson also had a big debut for Eastern as he averaged 19 points over the two games.
The men pulled away from Impact Prep in the second half after leading by just two at the half 36-34. They outscored the visitors 58-30 in the second half on their way to a season opening win.
The following day, Eastern led by as many as 17 points in the second half before SL Metro was able to close the gap down to six points. Despite the close score, Eastern maintained a lead throughout on their way to the 10 point victory.
Five Golden Eagles scored in double figures including Walters (19), Richardson (19), McKay LaSalle (17), Travon Langston (15) and Chase Flint (15).
Walters led the team with eight rebounds and Langston and Dashaun Wiggins each added seven rebounds. Flint had a team-high eight assists.
For the USU Eastern women, the season has gotten off to a rough start as they dropped both games at a tournament held in Cedar City at Southern Utah University. On Friday the team lost to Central Arizona 54-52. Eastern trailed by two points at the half and played to an even 26-26 game in the second but they were unable to push through for a win.
Sophomore Priscila Santos led the team with 24 points, including 16 in the first half, on 10-of-20 shooting and added five rebounds. Freshman Amy Arbon chipped in 18 points and had a team-high seven rebounds for the Golden Eagles.
On Saturday, the women again fell in defeat to the East Idaho All-Stars 77-60. The East Idaho All-Stars led by 10 at the half and were able to add onto their lead as Eastern committed 30 turnovers in the game.
Santos again led the team 18 points on 7-of-18 shooting and had a team high nine rebounds. Sophomore Abbie Kay added nine points. Sophomore Caitlin Nelson grabbed seven rebounds for Eastern and Freshman Brooke Slade and Arbon both added six rebounds.
For the USU Eastern men (2-0), the early season start gives them a little momentum heading into their next game on Wednesday night as they travel to Coolidge, Ariz., for a game with Central Arizona at 7:30 p.m.
For the USU Eastern women (0-2), a tournament in Salt Lake City starting on Thursday night and going through Saturday offers a chance to put the losses behind them and turn their focus to the rest of the season as they will play Northeastern Wyoming on Thursday night at 5 p.m.