Eagles Soar Defensively in Lopsided Conference Win


Photo by Jeff Barrett

By Jordan Buscarini

USU Eastern freshman Jack Jamele put on a shooting clinic Wednesday night, scoring a career-high 33 points in a 106-53 win over the Colorado Northwestern Community College(CNCC) Spartans at the BDAC.

The Eagles launched a high effort performance on the defensive end of the floor early as they gathered a hefty 58-19 lead by the end of the first half. The energy on defense was matched with an exciting tempo on offense, creating multiple highlight reel plays.

“I think we played hard, and we created some opportunities,” said head coach Bill Evans following the win. “Without effort, nothing works, so it doesn’t matter what you do. Tonight, we played extremely hard.”

The Eagles forced 30 turnovers and 23 steals for the game. The suffocating defense caused CNCC to shoot just 34-percent from the field and 25-percent from beyond the arc.

Jamele caught fire early from the field, outscoring CNCC by himself 22-19 in the opening half. The trend continued over the final 20 minutes as he finished 12-15 from the field, including 7-10 from deep. The 33-point performance comes following a previous season best 16 points against Community Christian on Dec. 17.

“Jack is a really good shooter and he’s been working really hard,” said Evans. “I think we have three or four guys that can shoot the ball really. That’s obviously going to help us out on that end of the floor.”

Dyson Lighthall  finished a perfect 5-5 from the field has he scored 14 points in just 15 minutes of play. Tige Voorhees and Gbenga Olubi both notched 13 points and Malek Malual finished with nine. Noah McCord delivered an all-around performance, just missing out on a double-double, with 11 rebounds, nine assists and three steals.

Wednesday’s win is the second straight conference victory for the Eagles, improving the team’s conference record to 2-3. It also marked the first game played in the 2023 calendar year following a lengthy break from game action.

“We’ve been back since Dec. 28 and have been working hard and trying to do things to make us better,” Evans said. “We’re hungry right now, but we better stay hungry because we go to Southern Nevada next. That’s a team that has improved and we will be battling for a playoff spot with them.”

USU Eastern is currently two games up on the College of Southern Nevada for fourth-place in the conference standings. Saturday’s road tilt with CSN will be the first of three meetings between the two teams this season, with two of the three coming on the road.

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