USUE Men’s Basketball Participates in GW Mechanical Tipoff Classic


Press Release

Utah State Eastern men’s basketball kicked off the 2017-2018 season in Casper, Wyo. on Friday and Saturday.

On Friday, the Eagles fell to Central Wyoming 90-65 in the first game of the GW Mechanical Tipoff Classic hosted by Casper College.

The Eagles struggled shooting against Central Wyoming with only shooting 36.5 % from the field and 26.5 % from behind the three-point line. Utah State Eastern head coach Vando Becheli said that his team’s shooting woes was what hurt his team’s chances to win the game on Friday.

“We were not being aggressive enough and getting to the hoop strong enough to score points,” said Becheli.

Sophomore Rafael Monteiro led the Eagles in scoring with 14 points along with eight rebounds coming off the bench in his USU Eastern debut. Milan Surlic’ and Nico Rojas each scored in double figures against Central Wyoming with 11 and 12 points, respectively.

The following day, the Eagles hit the floor against tournament host Casper and lost to the Thunderbirds 68-57. Before going into the game on Saturday, Becheli knew his team would have a challenge on their hands.

“Casper was a really good team and we knew beating them on their home floor was going to be a tough thing to do,” said Becheli.

Despite early foul trouble, the Eagles were able to out rebound Casper 41-33 and hold them to 25 % from three-point territory defensively.

Surlic’ said after the game that his team made improvements from Friday and Saturday on the way the Eagles played at both ends of the floor.

“I think on Saturday we were more discipline on both ends of the ball and that discipline is going to be key for us to win games this year,” Surlic’ said.

Rojas and Surlic’ led the charge against Casper, each scoring 11 points.

Monteiro, along with sophomores Petr Ropek and Neema Namdar, combined for 20 points off the bench in the loss against Casper.

After the weekend of the games, the Eagles have an 0-2 overall record, something Coach Becheli hopes his players can learn from.

“I am frustrated that we are 0-2 but I hope we can take this weekend as a lesson to learn from and I think my players are already learning from it,” said Becheli.

The Eagles will open their home schedule this Friday with a game against Impact Academy at 7:30 p.m. in the BDAC. Both teams will face off again on Saturday evening at 5 p.m. following the USU Eastern women’s basketball team’s game against Laramie County.

All homes this season will be broadcast on YouTube through the USU Eastern Athletics YouTube channel or live on

For more information about USU Eastern men’s basketball, please visit Utah State Eastern Athletics on Facebook or on Twitter at