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Eastern Arizona College

EAC News

2/23/2006

Monsters Secure a Playoff Spot

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Write it down, lick the envelope, stick a stamp on it and drop it in the mailbox — Eastern Arizona College's men's hoopsters punched their tickets for postseason play Wednesday via a 21-point (105-84) thrashing of the Pima Aztecs at Guitteau Gymnasium on Wednesday. The Gila Monsters (20-7, 14-5) picked up their 20th win of the season and still have three conference games remaining on their schedule. "The kind of success we've had this season and still having three games to go hasn't happened since the (President) Bush Sr. years," EAC head coach Tim Parmeter said. "The fact that we've been able to have this kind of success is nice. Those are things to be proud of." Despite picking up the 21-point victory, Parmeter said he wasn't "remotely happy" with the way the Monsters played against the Aztecs (a club that has only four conference wins this season) but complimented one specific attribute of his club. "The character of the kids we have in the program is great," Parmeter said. "The talent obviously helps, but even when I'm not happy, like after tonight, our character is still there." From the game's opening tip to the final horn, EAC never trailed against the Aztecs and jumped out to an early 11-3 advantage following six points from Marcus Palmer, a three from Ervin Youmans and a rim-rattling dunk from Jerryck Owens-Murrey. Five Gila Monsters turned in double-digit performances with Palmer and Youmans leading the way with 20 points apiece. Owens-Murrey tallied 19; Gabor Boros added 16 (including four threes), and Jeff Wilson chipped in 13. Boros was just one assist shy of a double-double by dishing out nine assists. Palmer added 10 rebounds to go with his 20 points for a double-double, and Youmans dialed up five treys from long distance.

"(Youmans) can put the ball in the basket," Parmeter said. "There has never been any kind of doubt about that. "When he has the ball from Mt. Graham and in (Guitteau Gymnasium's sideline logo) they had better be up on him," Parmeter said. "If they aren't, he's going to be able to knock it down." In addition to the Monsters' starting five, Eastern received plenty of productivity from Phillip Briggs and Tamas Papp off the bench. Briggs was perfect from beyond the arc and drained three 3-pointers on three attempts during the final 10 minutes of the game, and Papp chipped in five points and played great defensively.

"(Briggs) and (Papp) both do a great job. They are two guys you don't see a lot of who stepped right in, and that is where we get our balance and depth," Parmeter said. "Those guys were ready when they were called upon. Those are the qualities we need to see." Throughout the game, Eastern's post players did a nice job of finding EAC's sharp-shooters on the outside while keeping Pima honest on defense in the paint with the Monsters' ability to score down low, as well. "When the guards are doing a good job of getting the ball down in the lane, you've got to reward them the second that anybody collapses," Parmeter said. Eastern's ability to score from the perimeter or at the post is one attribute that gives EAC the ability to make some noise come playoff time. "If teams want to play us one-on-one outside, we'll score," Parmeter said. "If you want to double down, we'll still score and be fine." Eastern had a 52-44 lead at halftime and led by 15 points with 7:13 remaining when Boros knocked down a three to give EAC a 38-23 advantage.

Parmeter wished the Monsters had "put them away early, but that just shows a little bit of the maturity we lack." EAC opened the second half with a 9-2 run, and Pima was unable to pose any type of serious threat to Eastern's lead down the stretch. Perhaps it was Parmeter who simply summed up the way things went Wednesday. "We were just better than them," he said. After clinching an early spot in the playoffs, EAC (which more than likely will have to travel to Yuma and face Arizona Western on March 9), can set its sights on the most important game of the season. "The advantage we have down the stretch is we play two of three on the road against good teams that play at a slower pace," Parmeter said. "The last few times we've lost have been on the road and against teams that have played in the half court. "We've got the right schedule for us down the stretch to see if we're going to have a chance," Parmeter said. Eastern traveled to Yavapai on Saturday and hosts South Mountain on Wednesday for its final home game of the season.

Andy Hansen, Sports Editor Eastern Arizona Courier