TWIN FALLS — It was a historic night for the No. 10 College of Southern Idaho men’s basketball team, but the fun was spoiled by a double overtime loss to No. 8 Salt Lake Community College.
The Bruins earned a come-from-behind win, 103-99, to spoil a new 3-point scoring record set by CSI sophomore Jake Hendricks.
With less than eight minutes in the game, Hendricks stepped to the right corner, planted and drained his 175th 3-pointer in his time at CSI. It gave the Golden Eagles a 67-63 lead at the time.
“It’s cool that I’ll be able to say that forever,” Hendricks said. “But honestly, all I can think about is that we couldn’t get the win.”
Minutes after the record-setter, Khalid Thomas drained a 3-pointer with less than three minutes to play for a 73-72 lead, and Roberto Gittens added a finger roll lay-in to extend that lead to 75-72.
Hendricks had a chance to stretch the lead to three points at the line with 10 seconds left in regulation, but his second attempt missed and made its way to Bushmen Ebet, who hit a transition layup to tie the game at 76-76 and send the game to overtime.
After the Bruins jumped out to an 85-81 lead with about a minute left in the first overtime, Tommy Burton and Gittens drained back-to-back layups, and the Golden Eagles got a last-second steal to send the game to double overtime at 86 apiece.
Salt Lake CC rolled in double overtime, however, pushing its lead to 97-91 with less than a minute to play. Though the Golden Eagles made a late push and Bushmen Ebet missed two free throws at 99-96, the Bruins held on for the win after Josh Colon buried four straight free throws.
CSI head coach Jared Phay told his guys after the game not to hang their heads.
"I told them I was proud of them," he said. "Our guys just kept battling and never quit tonight."
The game started much differently than it ended, and also differently than the last matchup between the two teams, which the Bruins won 84-64.
Salt Lake CC started slowly this time, shooting about 30 percent in the first half, while the Golden Eagles dropped 14 points in the first five minutes.
As the half progressed, the game got more even and much more physical, with hard drives to the rims and even harder fouls on both sides. That physicality persisted throughout the game from then on.
CSI also blocked five shots in the first half as it held Salt Lake CC to eight points in the paint. The Bruins posted 56 points in the paint versus CSI’s 22 the last time they met.
But Salt Lake CC made up for its lack of shooting in the paint with a strong performance from the 3-point line, draining eight long balls to CSI’s three in the first half.
The Golden Eagles held on to the lead through the first half, with a 42-37 advantage, but the Bruins rallied back in the second half to get the double-overtime win and jump to 2-0 against the Golden Eagles so far this season.
CSI head coach Jared Phay said his team performed well all night, but Salt Lake CC just hit its shots.
“We told ourselves that we were going to make them beat us from the 3-point line,” he said, “and that’s exactly what they did. Statistically, they haven’t shot this well, but they just hit big shots.”
The Bruins made 18 3-pointers, shooting more than 40 percent from 3-point range.
The matchup was the first for the Golden Eagles without two of their top players, sophomore guards Charles Jones, Jr. and Danya Kingsby, who were suspended from the team indefinitely following failed drug tests.
Jones Jr., a University of Utah commit, scored a game-high 22 points in the last game between CSI and Salt Lake CC. His performance was 10 points higher than the next closest Golden Eagle (Thomas with 12).
Danya Kingsby, who has signed to play with the University of Pittsburgh next year, had a tough game in Salt Lake City, but has averaged 12.4 points and a team-leading 4.4 assists per game this season.
However, the Golden Eagles showed great offensive production without them, including a double-double by Thomas, who scored a game-high 28 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. He also threw down a hard dunk late in the second half that got the crowd going.
Gittens backed him up with 20 points, and Hendricks followed with 18.
Colon led Salt Lake CC with 20 points, followed by Bushmen Ebet with 17.
The two teams will meet up one more time in Salt Lake City on Feb. 15 before the Region 18 tournament. Phay said there are a few changes to be made before then, but overall he's happy with what his team showed tonight.
"We allowed too many offensive boards, so we'll have to go back to the drawing board on that," he said, "but I feel like we have something to build on now because our effort was really good."
And Hendricks, an albeit-disappointed record setter, said this game gave the Golden Eagles confidence for next time.
"We proved we can play with them and that we can beat them," Hendricks added. "We've just got to get it done."
Correction: A previous version of this article referred to the Salt Lake CC mascot as the Bears. They are the Bruins. We regret the error.