EOU men squeak by New Hope

Written by Casey Kellas, The Observer October 28, 2013 10:41 am
Jared Barrett got his coaching career off on the right note over the weekend as the Eastern Oregon University men’s basketball team picked up a pair of wins over New Hope Christian.

The Mountaineers used a strong second half to win 71-41 Friday before rallying for a 68-57 victory Saturday.

“The biggest thing that I liked, especially in the second half, was just the effort,” Barrett said after Friday’s victory. “I talk to my guys all the time about effort plays. Effort plays are what you can control, and we did a lot better job in the second half of controlling the things that we could control.”

Barrett’s debut started off a little rough on Friday. The Mountaineers had just one field goal in the first six minutes of the game and led 3-2 with 14:35 left in the half.

But Eastern Oregon found its rhythm after that and went on a 14-0 run and led 33-24 at halftime.

“I think we had some shots that we missed. And we had some shots that we shouldn’t have taken --— some contested, bad shots,” Barrett said of the team’s struggle early on. “First game of the year, first game in front of the fans. But the guys finally settled down a little bit late in the first half.”

New Hope Christian got within five points early in the second half at 35-30. But EOU went on another big run, this time a 28-6 spurt, to give itself a cushion that it held the remainder of the game.

After shooting 38 percent from the field in the first half, the Mountaineers shot 50 percent in the second half.

“First defense, and second was shot selection,” Barrett said of the turnaround. “We’ve been turnover prone in our three (scrimmage) games. We had a high number of turnovers (19) tonight. But our runs are when we take care of the ball, we’re solid defensively and we take good shots.”

EOU had four players finish in double figures, led by Tone Eackles Jr. who had 18 points. Kevin Attila added 13 points, and both Kylian Wood and Craig Tucker had 12. Tucker added 10 rebounds.

EOU 68, NHC 57

The Mountaineers struggled again in the first half in Saturday’s game. Eastern Oregon trailed 31-25 at halftime.

But EOU got it going in the second half, outscoring the Deacons 43-26 to pull out the win.

Tucker led the way with 15 points, Wood had 12 points and 15 rebounds, and Trevor Phillips added 11 points.

EOU hosts the Quinn Classic beginning Friday with Carroll College at 7:30 p.m.