Men's Basketball News & Highlights
February 15, 2014
Eagles Press Past Colonels for Freedom Win
The Eagles grabbed the lead early on and led by 11 at the intermission. The visiting Colonels, came out of the gates quickly with the first nine points of the second half. With the lead at 41-39, the Eagles threw the ball away and head coach Nate Stewart called a timeout.
He asked his players to start to attack with their defense, and his young charges answered. Austin Carroll stripped the first pass out of the timeout free and finished a lay-up while being grabbed for a three-point play. Wilkes was able to break the press for a Nic Wilkins layup on the next possession before the Eagles answered with a 9-0 run of their own.
Jordan Diggs had four points in the run and Carroll hit a 3-pointer on a nice kick from Diggs. Carroll finished with a team-high 19 points and Diggs finished with 13. Diggs has six double-digit scoring efforts in the last nine games for the Eagles. He had not finished in double-figure scoring before that stretch.
"Jordan has done a nice job since finding his role," head coach Nate Stewart said of the senior transfer. "We are moving the ball much better on offense and all the guys benefit from that."
Stewart was pleased with his team's ability to convert defense into offense. The Eagles scored 23 points off of Wilkes turnovers.
The Colonels cut the deficit to nine on a Steve Stravinski 3-pointer at the 12-minute mark, and the Eastern defense again created chances to spark a 14-0 run. Carroll made a pair of free throws after an Anthony Parenti steal. Seconds later, Malcolm Garrison converted a layup after a Carroll steal, and then Carroll finished in transition after a Ben Connor steal.
The Eagles scored the next eight points of the game in half-court offense to build their advantage to 23 with eight minutes to play and effectively end the game. Shaquan Turk (12 points) and Jimmie Willis (11 points) were both efficient at the offensive end. Turk took only three shots and Willis was 4-of-7 from the floor. Connor was also 3-of-3 from the floor for seven points. The senior also grabbed four boards and picked up a pair of steals and assists off the bench.
"We are starting to move the ball much better," Stewart said, "and we are really playing much better overall. We have been in it down to the last possession in each of our last five losses, and I really feel like we are taking big steps forward."
Carroll grabbed a game-high eight rebounds to go with his four steals and two assists. Carroll's 19 points are a career-best for the first year point guard. Wilkins led the Colonels with 23 points.
The Eagles grabbed the lead four minutes into the contest and never trailed. They built the lead to 13 with two and a half minutes left in the half on a transition finish off Carroll's behind-the-back pass by Connor. Eastern made 15-of-27 field goal attempts on the way to a 41-30 lead at halftime. The Eagles have scored 40 or more points in six of the last seven halves they have played.
Eastern will travel to FDU-Florham on Tuesday before closing the season at home against DeSales on Feb. 22. Eastern Men's Basketball will honor the contributions of seniors Ben Connor, Jimmie Willis, and Jordan Diggs before that game.
Updated: Saturday, 15 February 2014