TWIN FALLS — Danya Kinsby’s plan worked to perfection. It just took a while to play out.
Kingsby led the College of Southern Idaho men’s basketball team to a 113-100 win over Arizona Western College in the final game of the Idaho Central Credit Union Invitational Saturday night at CSI. The Golden Eagles outscored the Matadors 80-57 in the second half to pull out the victory.
Before the game, Kingsby and his coaches agreed that he should begin the game on bench for the first time all season, said Kingsby, who came off the bench last year. Keegan Duncan started in his place.
“I thought it would be better for me to come off the bench this game to bring the energy,” he said.
The decision took a while to bear fruit.
The first half woes that have plagued CSI several times this young season, including Friday night against Elite Prep, did not go away Saturday. The Golden Eagles shot 31.3 percent from the field, 16.7 percent from 3-point range and 68.8 percent from the free-throw line during the first 20 minutes against Arizona Western.
“We came out with a lack of energy,” Kingsby said. “Coach told us in the locker room, ‘If we don’t run and rebound, we’re gonna lose this game.’”
The Matadors weren’t hot in the first half (34.1 percent on field goals), either, but they made 6-of-14 (42.9 percent) 3-pointers to help build a 43-33 lead at the break.
CSI started the second half stronger on offense, but Arizona kept its distance for the early going. Then the Golden Eagles ran off runs of 11-0 and 15-3, taking a 69-64 lead with 11:08 left.
In fewer than nine minutes to begin the second half, CSI had outscored its entire first half point total.
As a team, the Golden Eagles shot 26-of-34 (76.5 percent) from the field and 11-of-15 (73.3 percent) from 3 in the second half.
Saturday’s game fit the small trend for CSI this season: unspectacular first half, explosive second. The one exception was its home-opener against Western Nebraska CC on Nov. 10. After a 57-47 first half, Western Nebraska outscored CSI 45-30 in the second to hand the Golden Eagles their only loss of the season thus far.
CSI head coach Jared Phay said his team needed that loss.
“Hopefully, we think about that loss all season,” Phay told the Times-News the day after the defeat.
CSI hasn’t been perfect since then, but its record (5-0) has. The Golden Eagles’ rapid pace and cast of strong options on offense have overwhelmed their opponents, even when they’ve taken 20-plus minutes to get going.
Charles Jones Jr. tied the game-high with 28 points (9-of-18 from the field, 4-of-7 from 3), Kingsby had 27 (7-of-10, 5-of-6) and Jake Hendricks added 22 (6-of-11, 2-of-6).
Kingsby wasn’t the only bench contributor. Tommy Burton scored 11 points (3-of-5 from the field), and Idaho Falls native Telly Davenport posted 10 points (5-of-6) and 12 rebounds, tying the game-high.
“We’re very explosive,” Kingsby said. “We all can shoot.”
CSI stays home next week for the Coca-Cola Invitational.