MOUNTAINEERS HANG ON FOR VICTORY
By Pat Perkins
Observer Staff Writer
For a game in which the Eastern Oregon Mountaineers never trailed in the second half, it sure didnt look that easy.
Every time Eastern took a lead, Concordia came back, until the clock ran out on the Cavaliers and the Mountaineers stood with a 71-67 Cascade Collegiate Conference victory Wednesday at Quinn Coliseum.
Concordia kept rallying behind an advantage at the foul line, but it never took the lead from an Eastern team that shot 59 percent in the second half.
When we get up by six or seven, we need to go for the jugular, junior forward Trevor Exline said.
It was hard to do that when Eastern kept getting called for fouls. Concordia was in the bonus with 12 minutes left in the game, and it was 17-for-21 from the line in the second half.
Were getting used to not getting that stuff, Exline said.
Eastern (4-4 overall, 1-1 conference) had a 62-56 lead with 4:56 to play. Concordia had four free throws and the teams traded layups to tie the contest 64-64 with 1:48 left.
Exline put Eastern on top for good with a backdoor layup on a pass from Scott Collins. After a Concordia miss, Jerome Toby took the ball downcourt and dished a pass to Exline, whose soft jumper put Eastern on top 68-64.
A three-point-play by Keith Childs cut the lead to one with 39 seconds left, but Toby made three free throws in the final 18 seconds.
For where we are at, for all our inexperience, this was a big win, Eastern coach Art Furman said. Timing was everything and this was huge in the timing of where we are as a team.
Furman has been trying to get his players to buy into his system and it worked for two halves Wednesday. The Mountaineers stayed in their offense and shot 57 percent in the first half, 59 in the second. Eastern outrebounded Concordia 38-26.
The Mountaineers did have 22 turnovers to Concordias six, but Concordia didnt capitalize by shooting 34 percent.
Furman credited his big guys. Jon Stoddard came off the bench and scored 11 points and pulled down six rebounds, including four offensive boards, at least two of which he converted to easy baskets. Ty Miller was another bench player who contributed seven points in 11 minutes.
Our defense stepped up and I thought Ty was a big part of that, Furman said.
Stoddard had a good week of practice and it paid off on the court. He was rewarded with 22 minutes.
This is the kind of game Jon can have consistently, Furman said.
Exline finished with 19 points on 9-for-11 shooting. Toby had 13 points, nine assists and four steals.
Keith Childs led Concordia (4-8, 0-2) with 20 points. Michael Lay added 10 points and six assists.
The teams played a close first half and it took a 3-pointer from Scott Collins with 28 seconds until halftime to tie the game. As Concordia was running down the clock for the last shot, Toby stole the ball and made an easy layup for a 30-28 halftime lead.
Nunez 2-6 0-0 5, Slonecker 3-11 0-0 7, Hale 2-7 0-0 4, Garrison 1-4 2-2 4, Childs 7-19 6-8 20, Smith 0-2 6-9 6, Lay 3-5 3-4 10, Johnson 0-2 2-2 2, Breon 2-3 4-4 9. Totals: 20-59 23-29 67.
EASTERN OREGON (71)
McLean 1-3 0-0 2, Toby 5-9 3-4 13, N.Collins 1-6 1-2 3, Exline 9-11 0-0 19, Williams 2-5 0-0 4, Hayes 1-3 0-0 3, S.Collins 1-1 0-0 3, Cauffman, Neibling 2-3 0-0 6, Stoddard 5-8 1-1 11, Miller 3-3 1-1 7. Totals: 30-52 6-8 71.
Halftime score Eastern Oregon 30, Concordia 28. Three-pointers Concordia 4-19 (Nunez 1-4, Slonecker 1-6, Hale 0-4, Childs 0-1, Lay 1-3, Breon 1-1), Eastern Oregon 5-13 (McLean 0-1, Toby 0-1, N.Collins 0-3, Exline 1-1, Hayes 1-3, S.Collins 1-1, Neibling 2-3). Fouled out None. Total fouls Concordia 15, Eastern Oregon 23. Technical fouls None. Turnovers Concordia 6, Eastern Oregon 22. Rebounds Concordia 26 (Childs 6, Smith 6), Eastern Oregon 38 (Exline 8). Assists Concordia 14 (Lay 6), Eastern Oregon 18 (Toby 9).