USUE Men’s Basketball Picks Up Another Road Win


Press Release

Utah State Eastern men’s basketball participated in the Mustang Invitational on Friday and Saturday in Rock Springs, Wyo. The Eagles went 1-1 in the tournament and moved their overall record to 4-4.

On Friday, the Eagles lost 85-62 to the home team, the Western Wyoming Mustangs. Head coach Vando Becheli said that his team struggled in the first half so much that it was hard to get back into the game. At halftime, the Eagles were down 20 to the Mustangs.

“We put ourselves into a hole too deep and it’s hard to get out of that big of a hole. We shot poorly from the floor and that had a lot to do with it,” said Becheli.

The Eagles shot 40% from the field and 33% from behind the three-point line against Western Wyoming. Leading the Eagles in scoring against Western Wyoming was sophomore Rafael Monteiro, who finished the game with 20 points.

The next night, the Eagles took on Central Wyoming in a rematch of a game that took place earlier this season. Central Wyoming defeated the Eagles 90-65 on Nov. 3 in Casper. This time around, the Eagles got the win, defeating Central Wyoming 94-85.

“We started really flat in the first game but I am happy that they bounced back and responded on Saturday,” said Becheli.

Helping the Eagles bounce back was freshman Matija Novikovic, who finished the game with 13 points off the bench and was a factor defensively.

“He came in big off the bench and made plays for us,” said Becheli.

The Eagles shot 56% from the field and 48.5% from three-point range on Saturday.

After the game, Novikovic said that his team came out with a different mindset and wanted to play like they know they can play.

“I think we came to the game with a different attitude and played more aggressive on offense and defense,” said Novikovic.

Monteiro had another big night for the Eagles after leading the team with 21 points, six rebounds and two steals. Monteiro stepped up for the Eagles in both games and changed positions due to the injuries of teammates. So far this season, he is averaging 15 points and six rebounds per game.

“He is a hard worker and will play wherever we want him to play for us and he has taken advantage of that,” said Becheli.

The Eagles also got help from the perimeter shooting of sophomores Kristupas Totoris and Neema Namdar. Each made four three-pointers and together scored 32 points against Central Wyoming.

The Eagles will host Impact Academy this Friday and Saturday at home. Earlier this season, the Eagles defeated Impact twice at home by a combined total of 257-143.

Friday’s game will tipoff at 7:30 p.m. at the BDAC and can also be viewed live streamed on the USU Eastern YouTube channel.

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