College of Southern Idaho, perennially the best junior college basketball team in the West, proved too tough for a young Salt Lake Community College team Friday, breaking away in the second half for an 80-64 win at the South Campus gym.
The Eagles, who were 37-2 last year, improved to 7-0 with the win in the Scenic West Athletic Conference opener for both teams. The Bruins fell to 6-4 for the season.After leading by just two at the half, CSI went on an 18-2 run to start the second half and coasted home. Jose Jube led all scorers with 24 points, David Anderson had 18 and Anthony Williams 11 for CSI.
SLCC was led by Rob Stark with 20 and Zachary Allison and Lorenzo Jarvis with 12 apiece.
"We were flat the first four minutes of the second half and those first few minutes are key," said SLCC Coach Jeff Menday. "This team will get better."
Menday, frustrated with the officiating, was ejected midway through the second half after throwing a tantrum and getting three quick technicals.
"You have to be far enough ahead not to let the officials decide the game," said Menday. "They did not call it at both ends the same because their coach is Fred Trenkle. I felt I had to take care of my team."
Trenkle, who has an outstanding 198-22 record in six years at CSI, said of Menday's ejection, "It's too bad it had to happen. That's his business. I learned long ago you need to be with your team."
Menday's ejection had little to do with the outcome. It was 67-47 when Menday complained that CSI's players were pushing his players under the basket. The official gave Menday two quick technicals and after Menday called him a "gutless wonder" he got a third T and automatic ejection.
Jube, a 6-5 Brazilian, sank all six technical shots to make it a 26-point game. A late rally by the Bruins cut the final margin.
The Bruins had led for much of the first half and thought they had taken a 37-36 halftime lead. But the officials called traveling on a last-second desperation shot by the Bruins. After consultation, the officials put two seconds on the clock and gave the ball to CSI. With the reprieve, Jube sank a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give CSI a 39-37 lead.
"That killed our momentum," said Menday.
In the second half, the Bruins didn't score a field goal until the 12:05 mark and by then it was 57-43.
"We did a couple of things in the second half," said Trenkle. "We tried to get the ball inside more and use our strength and played better defense."