TAYLORSVILLE Saturday afternoon at SLCC's rocking Lifetime Activities Center was about as good as it gets for junior-college basketball atmospheres at least in the Beehive State.
SLCC and Southern Idaho provided two of the top three-ranked teams in the nation, identical unblemished 19-0 records, the most-explosive offense in the NJCAA and the team whose defense had been the stingiest for most of the season.
A drumming group boomed support for the Bruins. The two schools' cheerleading squads razzed each other and opposing fans, helping create a rivalry-like ambiance. And students made a rowdy cheering section even with signs like "Fact: Bears Eat Birds."
They don't beat them in this case, though. Second-ranked CSI Golden Eagles ran off with a strong 84-78 win over No. 3 SLCC.
Fans also came in record numbers for an SLCC-best-ever crowd of 2,265. Support was good for both schools. Several hundred avid CSI boosters came from Twin Falls, Idaho, having rented a couple of charter buses for weekend games in Ephraim and Taylorsville. Even part of the University of Utah basketball team showed up.
It was the type of game scene SLCC and many junior colleges can usually only dream of. The Bruins hope to get about 500 spectators a game.
"It was fun. I think our kids enjoyed it," said SLCC men's coach Norm Parrish. "I wish we'd be more aggressive all the time getting people out. I thought this was great. It's similar to what you have up there (in Twin Falls, Idaho) every game. I appreciate the fans coming out."
Local interest should be high again this weekend as SLCC hosts Snow College for a pair of rivalry games on Friday (5:30 p.m. women, 7:30 p.m. men) and Saturday (1 p.m., 3 p.m.).
THOUSAND ISLAND: Another week, another Westminster woman in the 1,000-point club. Griffin point guard Shannon Evans joined teammate Elisa Leader in surpassing the millennium mark in career scoring with an eight-point game Thursday. That gave the team's leading scorer 1,005 points, placing her among only three other players in the school's short basketball history to surpass triple digits. Leader accomplished the feat earlier in January.
"We are real excited Shannon reached that personal milestone," said Westminster coach J.D. Gustin. "She is one of the best point guards in our conference, if not the best. However, I know she would trade all the personal success for a conference championship."
Next on Evans' milestone list: the school record for assists and steals. The 5-8 junior from Morgan is only three assists away from a record 403 and needs 13 steals for a record 217.
THREE'S COMPANY: Juniors Jordan Jacobs and Shannon Evans recently shot their way into the Westminster record book for most 3-pointers in a game. Jacobs drilled nine on 9-of-11 shooting in a win at Montana Western. He followed that up Saturday with a game-winning trey against Rocky Mountain.
Evans also picked on the Bulldogs, sinking a school-best six long balls on nine shots. Both players scored 27 points that night in Dillon, Mont.
THAT'S SICK: PacWest opponents might want to send Dixie State forward Jessica Carver some Vitamin C, throat lozenges or chicken soup anything to make sure she does NOT get sick anymore.
Carver, a junior forward, missed the Rebels' game against BYU-Hawaii last Wednesday because of strep throat, but Dixie still won by 20 points.
The former Layton High star returned the next night and led Dixie to another 20-point blowout win over the Seasiders, scoring 25 points on 8-for-13 shooting. She followed that up with 18 points in a big win over Hawaii Pacific on Saturday.
Carver also grabbed 17 rebounds and blocked six shots in the two games after being sidelined. She leads the PacWest in rebounding (8.9 rpg) and blocked shots (1.9 bpg) and is second in scoring with 16.4 points per game.
T FOR EFFORT: The stat probably isn't kept, but Dixie State freshman Landon Clegg might have set a new NCAA record for pregame technical fouls this year. The Lone Peak High product got a "T" before the Rebels' game against BYU-Hawaii on Wednesday for dunking when he shouldn't have during warm-ups.
His untimely jam gave BYU-Hawaii two free throws and an early lead in a game that the visitors won 87-79 before any time elapsed. The same scenario happened two weeks earlier when Dixie State played at Utah.
Aside from his pregame dunking displays, Clegg has averaged 4.5 points and 2.7 rebounds in 19.9 minutes per game in his first college hoops season.NATIONAL SCENE: Before last weekend's games, the Westminster men jumped two spots to No. 11 in the NAIA; the Griffin women stayed at No. 23 ... SLCC's men remained at No. 3 in the NJCAA, while the Bruin women were among others receiving votes (No. 28) ... Westminster point guard Danny Reeder held on to his NAIA assists lead at 7.1 per game; he's also fourth in free-throw percentage at 88.8 percent ... Other Griffin national leaders include Shannon Evans, who is ninth in assists (5.3 apg) and 10th in steals (3.2 spg), Danny Stosich in FG percentage (17th, 57.7) and Jordan Jacobs for assists-to-turnovers ratio (45-16, 2.81) ... SLCC's Brian Green finally missed a free throw; he's now second in FT percentage (26-for-27, 96.3), while CEU's Kal Bay ranks fifth (25-27, 92.6) ... Green is also eighth in 3-point percentage (57.7 percent) ... CEU's Felix Caspari is 16th in FG shooting (69.4 percent) ... SLCC men dropped to second in points allowed (51.1 ppg); the Bruins are also fifth for 3-pointers (44.5 percent) and ninth for free-throw shooting (71.2 percent) ... SLCC's women are fourth at the charity stripe (71.1 percent) ... CEU's Kendra Daleabout is sixth in FTs (90.7 percent).
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