Basketball recap: Week of Nov. 15 - Nov. 19

Junior Mikaela Eppard shoots a free throw in a game against North Central College. (File Photo)

Men’s Basketball

The EC men’s basketball season is underway. The Bluejays got things started by dropping three consecutive games versus non-conference foes this past week.

EC will need to do better if they want to compete with the juggernauts of the conference. The Bluejays were predicted to finish sixth in the CCIW by conference coaches in their annual preseason poll despite the fact that EC is coming o of a CCIW tournament appearance in 2015-2016, finishing with a third place ranking and a 22-7 record (10-4 in conference).

In the first game of the season, EC visited Iowa to play the Loras College Duhawks. The Bluejays hung on closely; however, they ultimately fell to the Duhawks by a final score of 104- 102.

This contest featured a pair of 20 point EC scorers as freshman guard Jake Rhode (29 points, 4 assists, 3 steals) and senior forward Caleb Mowry (22 points, 12 rebounds) led the way for the Bluejays.

Rhode enters the starting line-up as a newcomer for EC. Rhode is a graduate of Mt. Carmel High School.

Mowry returns for the Bluejays after three seasons in a reserve role. The 6’5” senior will surely be leaned on as the season progresses.

Heading into the CCIW/SLI- AC Challenge tournament, the Bluejays dropped their second game of the season, this one in a 110-98 final against the Greenville College Grizzlies.

Mowry showed up again, scoring 29 points to go along with 9 rebounds in the loss.

Turnovers were the primary issue for the Bluejays in this one, giving away 37 possessions that led to 30 Greenville points. A second half push of 60 points came up short and the Bluejays fell to 0-2 in the season.

The next day brought up a new opponent in the Westminster Bluejays.The score was tied at the half, but Westminster ended up pulling away in the second half and won by a final score of 88-81.

EC battled throughout with five players reaching double digits in points and the team shooting 50 percent from the eld as a whole. EC outscored Westminster in the paint, 36-24, and outrebounded them 35- 31, but points o of turnovers proved to be a significant difference as Westminster turned takeaways into 33 points while EC struggled to only 17 such points.

Looking forward, EC will open their home schedule against Concordia University of Chicago at 7 p.m. on Nov. 22 at R.A. Faganel Hall.

After the match-up with CUC, the Bluejays will head out to Alma, Michigan to play the Alma College Scots on Nov. 27 in their last non-conference game before CCIW play begins.

Once they return home, the CCIW grind starts as the Wheaton College under visit R.A. Faganel Hall on Dec. 3 at 4 p.m.

Women’s Basketball

Coming o of a .500 record last year and a fourth place finish in conference, the EC women’s basketball team has entered this season with greater expectations and hopes of taking home a CCIW title.

With the 2017 season underway, the team needed a great start to their season and that is exactly what they got in the first week of the season, winning all three of their games by a combined score of 224-134.

The Bluejays (3-0) got things started with a trip to Indiana to face the Franklin College Grizzlies.

After leaping out to a 39-19 lead at the half, the Bluejays were able to put the Grizzlies away by a final score of 70-39.

Junior Guard/Forward Mikaela Eppard led the way with a double-double (17 points, 11 rebounds), shooting 7-9 from the eld and 3-3 from the line. Eppard was named to the 2015- 2016 CCIW All-Conference team and is poised for a big season for EC.

With Franklin behind them, the Bluejays made a weekend trip to Greenville College to take part in the CCIW/SLIAC Challenge.

The host Greenville College Panthers were the first team to face off with the Bluejays, as the teams met up on Friday afternoon.

EC came into the weekend with an outstanding offensive attack as they posted an early season high of 86 points in an 86-50 victory over the Panthers.

Eppard was excellent again, posting 14 points and Senior Guard Kalia Summerlin was 3-4 on three point attempts.

The bench added 42 points of their own and the Bluejays led by as many as 36 points late in the fourth quarter as they advanced to 2-0.

Day 2 of the CCIW/SLIAC Challenge saw a battle of the Bluejays when EC played the Westminster College Bluejays.

Junior Forward Kaela Jones hit five three pointers on eight attempts, finishing the day with 16 points. Eppard grabbed 11 boards, and Senior Guard/Forward Michaela Kumer dished out four assists during another dominating Bluejay performance with a final score of 68- 45.

The Bluejays are currently outscoring their opponents by an average of 30 points per game, shooting 44.8 percent from the field and 44.1 percent from three-point range, with an averaging about 10 eld goals from deep every game.

Perhaps more strikingly, the Bluejays also are also averaging a +14 rebounding margin and a +6.4 turnover margin, over all opponents. Ball control will be crucial if the Bluejays plan to continue their winning ways heading into conference play.

EC will visit Aurora University for a 7 p.m. tip-off on Nov. 22, then they will hit the road and head out to Colorado for a Thanksgiving weekend tournament during which they will face Colorado College and Concordia College of Minnesota.

CCIW Conference play will begin at home for the Bluejays on Saturday, Dec. 3 at 2 p.m. as they will play the two-time defending conference champion Wheaton under at home.