While the USU Eastern mens basketball team has been able to win a handful of close games early in the season, a slow start contributed to the teams first loss of the 2011-12 season.
The mens team completed a two-game road trip to Rock Springs, Wyo., on Friday and Saturday where they competed against Central and Western Wyoming.
In their first game against Central Wyoming, Eastern ran out to an eight point lead at the half, 32-24.
That eight point lead was a difference as the Golden Eagles converted foul shots and held Central Wyoming to 27 percent shooting from three to take the 64-56 victory.
Sophomore Demetrus Richardson led Eastern with 19 points, going a perfect 8-of-8 from the free throw line. Freshman Chase Flint added 11 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists. Sophomore Neveij Walters added 10 points.
In the second game on Saturday against Western Wyoming, things went a little differently.
While the Golden Eagles have played from behind on a few occasions this season, they have not faced a deficit as large as they did against Western Wyoming.
Some of the players on the squad, including freshman guard Chase Flint, were dealing with the effects of playing through an illness.
Also the team has been playing with the cloud of sanctions over their head as last week, the NJCAA announced the school was banned from postseason play after sophomore Max Zakharov was declared ineligible before the season started.
Whatever the case may be, the Golden Eagles came out to a slow start and trailed at the half 30-23.
Head coach Brian Edelstein said at one point the team was down by as many as 21 points, including a deficit of 18 points with six minutes left in the game.
Despite the large deficit, the Golden Eagles were able to cut into it by making plays down the stretch and never quitting.
Unfortunately for Eastern, the lead was too big to overcome and was a key reason for the team's first loss this season, 79-73.
"We made things close in the second half and the team never showed any quit," said head coach Brian Edelstein.
Walters led the team with a team-high 18 points and 9 rebounds. Three other Golden Eagles scored in double digits including freshmen LaSalle McKay and Dashaun Wiggins who both finished with 15 points. Flint chipped in 13.
The USU Eastern men (9-1) will return home to Price as look for revenge when they play host to Western Wyoming this Saturday at the B-DAC at 5 p.m.
For the USU Eastern womens team, the weekend slate of games brought another split as the squad begins to wind down from its early season play on the road.
Playing in Salt Lake City, the Eastern women faced off against Treasure Valley Community College (Ore.) and came away with a 76-54 victory.
Head coach Dave Paur said the Lady Eagles' tough defense was a key factor in the win and has been a key all season long.
Sophomore Priscila Santos led all scorers with 30 points and five steals. Sophomore Jasmine Petit finished with 10 points.
In the game Saturday against Otero Junior College (Colo.), the Lady Eagles kept up the defensive pressure but could not convert on offense, leading to a 46-36 loss.
Paur said teams are focusing their defense around shutting down Santos and her high scoring ability.
The low scoring affair saw both teams shoot under 36 percent from the field. The Lady Eagles committed a season high 32 turnovers.
Santos led the team with 16 points and had 7 turnovers. Freshman Caitlin Nelson had 6 points and 8 rebounds and freshman Abbi Kay added 6 points and 5 rebounds.
The Lady Eagles (4-6) will head on the road to Rangely, Colo., for another tournament this Friday and Saturday against Stone Child College and Saiish Kootenai Community College.