PRICE, UTAH – Utah State Eastern men’s basketball opened its home schedule with a win against Impact Academy on Friday and Saturday.
The Eagles dominated Impact on both sides of the ball on Friday night and won 137-58. On defense, the Eagles forced 20 turnovers and scored 39 points off those turnovers. The Eagles offense was scoring at will on Friday, including 70 points in the paint.
USU Eastern head coach Vando Becheli said he attributes the scoring to the way his defense played.
“We shot very well and at a high percentage because of our defense. Without our defense we couldn’t have that much success on offense,” said Becheli.
On Friday, the Eagles shot 60.9% from the field including 39% from behind the three point line. Sophomore Rafael Monteiro finished the game with a team-high 20 points while grabbing 11 rebounds and three steals.
Becheli said after the game that he was impressed with the way Monteiro stepped up coming off the bench on both defense and offense.
“He has been playing good and he does a lot of things for us on both ends of the floor,” said Becheli.
Monteiro said that he believes the effort he is putting in during the games is the reason for his early season success as the Eagles’ leading scorer.
“I am just doing the little things well and listening to what the coaches ask me to do because I want to do my best every time on the court,” said Monteiro.
Sophomore Petr Ropek scored 16 points and grabbed nine points for the Eagles coming off the bench.
The second leading scorer in Friday’s game against Impact was Kristupas Totoris, who finished with 17 points, including five shots made from behind the three point line.
The next day, the Eagles played another game against the same Impact team and won 120-85. Eastern shot the ball well again after finishing the game shooting 63.4 % from the field, 50% from the three point line and 81.8% from the free throw line.
Both Sophomore Landon Swartz and Monteiro finished the game as the leading scorers for the Eagles with 15 points apiece. Freshman Karbala Gueye grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds and scored eight points off the bench. Sophomore Nico Rojas added 14 points and rebounds in 14 minutes of action on Saturday.
Becheli said after the game that he was proud of the way his team played and the progress they have made since last weekend.
“It feels good to get the wins because we played well as a team in each game. We really shared the ball and I saw the progress we really needed to make,” said Becheli.
Next up for the Eagles is a trip to Twin Falls to play Treasure Valley Community College on Friday and Columbia Basin on Saturday.
Both games will be at 5:30 p.m. and will be held on the campus of the College of Southern Idaho.
According to Monteiro, the Eagles will have to work hard on defense during this week’s practices to help secure a pair of wins on the road in Idaho.
“We have to work hard especially on defense because if we want to win the defense will be needed to allow us to be more free on offense,” said Monteiro.
Utah State Eastern men’s basketball has an overall record of 2-2 now after the games against Impact. They will play Impact again at home next month on Dece. 1 and 2.
Fans can follow the Eagles all season long on Facebook at Utah State Eastern Athletics and on Twitter at twitter.com/usueathletics.