Eagles beat Cal State Fullerton in home opener

Eagles beat Cal State Fullerton in home opener

Crosgile and Jois both register double-doubles in 79-75 through

 The Eagles came back from a nine-point deficit  in the second half to beat the Cal State Fullerton Titans. 

Forward Venky Jois led the Eagles in points with 22 and had 13 total rebounds to earn himself a double-double. Guard Justin Crosgile, who shot 50 percent from behind the arc, also registered a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

Head coach Jim Hayford said he was proud of his team and the heart they showed.

“I’m very very proud of them,” Hayford said. “I’m proud of the defensive effort we put up in the second half.”

The Eagles, who are now 2-5 on the season, outshot the Titans by nearly 8 percent; Eastern was 45.6 percent from the floor and Cal State Fullerton was 38.1 percent from the floor.

The Eagles started strong as they kept pace with a fast Titan team early in the first half. Eastern seemed to slow down, however, as the half came to a close and the Titans had taken a 46-39 lead. The Eagles came out in the second half with a renewed vigor. At one point, the Eagles went on an 8-0 run and managed to slowed down the Titans’ hot offense.

“I just thought that we played harder in the second half,” Hayford said.

The Eagles also began poking holes in the Cal State Fullerton defense.

“We felt … that their pressure defense would wear down through the game and that we would be able to run the offense we needed to in the first half,” Hayford said. “I give my assistent coaches credit for a great scout.”

For Crosgile, the win was overdue.

“It felt great. I felt like our guys were working hard,” Crosgile said. “It’s a great confidence booster going into our next six games.”

According to Hayford, the team grew during the game. Crosgile said that, at times, the team would begin to let up when leading in games. He said Hayford acknowledged that the team needed to play a full game and not to get comfortable.

“All week he’s stressed to us about [how] we have to get stops. Don’t worry about the score,” Crosgile said.

Jois said his team prepared hard for the Cal State Fullerton team and that they were able to expose the Titans’ vulnerabilities.

“We saw that they just loved to play transition basketball, and I think in a half-court offense they couldn’t play against us,” Jois said. “Long possessions wear them down. If they don’t run, we’ve got these guys.”

Forward Thomas Reuter, who earned the start due to senior Collin Chiverton’s absence, stepped up and shot 50 percent from the field and had 16 points. Hayford praised Reuter’s effort.

“I think all Thomas thought was, ‘I need to play up to my ability and that’s the best I can do to fill those shoes,’ and he did a great job,” Hayford said.

Chiverton missed the game due to a family emergency.

The Eagles’ next game is in Reese Court against the Idaho Vandals on Dec. 6. Jois is excited for the next game, as well as the rest of the season.

“We’ve got some guys that are super quick,” Jois said. “We’ve got an exciting team to watch. We’re athletic and skillful. I think we can grow to be a really good team.”