Photos by Jeff Barrett
USU Eastern Press Release
PRICE, UTAH – Utah State Eastern men’s basketball lost to the Salt Lake Community College Bruins 124-111 in triple overtime on Saturday night at home.
The game took almost three hours to complete and both teams competed toward the very end despite fatigue and foul trouble.
“I am very proud of my guys, they fought hard against a really good Salt Lake team,” said USU Eastern Head Coach Vando Becheli.
Led by the three-point shooting of sophomore guard Neema Namdar and Milan Surlic’, the Eagles led the Bruins through most of regulation until midway through the second half.
Namdar and Surlic combined for seven of nine from three-point range to score 21 of the Eagles 46 first half points.
In the second half and in the overtime periods, Namdar made important shots from long range to keep the Eagles in the game.
With 35 seconds left in the first overtime, Namdar hit a three to tie the game at 95 and go to a second overtime. Namdar finished the game with 34 points, three rebounds and four assists, including 10 three pointers made.
After the game, Becheli said that Namdar’s performance was simply amazing and thought he couldn’t be stop from the perimeter.
“It was unbelieveable, I thought he could shoot from anywhere. They tried to trap him and deny him but he was hot, when the ball would leave his hand, I thought it was a bucket,” said Becheli.
Surlic’ also had a great performance for Becheli. He had a double-double with 22 points and 12 assists.
Up until the beginning of the third overtime, the Eagles stood toe to toe with the number four team in the country.
The Bruins went on an 8-3 run in the beginning third overtime to help them prevail in an instant classic of a game.
With six USU Eastern players fouled out, including four post players, the Bruins attacked the basket and won the game by double-digits.
After the Surlic’, one the lone returning players on this year’s USU Eastern team, said he was happy with his team’s effort in the loss.
“Definitely not the outcome we wanted but I am proud of the way we fought and the way we played and the decisions we made,” said Surlic’.
Sophomore forward Samuel Velez and freshman forward Ognjen Pantovic gave the Eagles help off the bench providing much needed rebounding and scoring when starting forwards Nico Rojas and Rafael Monteiro were in foul trouble.
“Oggie played very well offensively and defensively. Sam helped us out defensively and he got offensive rebounds I didn’t know he could get which he created extra possessions for us,” said Becheli.
Pantovic had 10 points and nine rebounds while Velez finished the game with six points and nine rebounds.
The triple-overtime loss on Saturday moves the Eagles overall record to 10-8 and 0-1 in Region XVIII play.
Next up for the Eagles is another home conference game against Colorado Northwest on Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. Fans can watch the game on the Utah State Eastern athletics’ YouTube channel or on koaltiv.com.
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