Umpqua routs Rexburg to wrap up Utah adventure
Connor Shaw put on a show in his home state on Monday, leading Umpqua Community College to a 105-66 victory over Rexburg in a nonleague men’s basketball game in Taylorsville, Utah.
A sophomore point guard out of Weber High in North Ogden, Utah, led the Riverhawks (1-2) with 24 points. Six players finished in double figures for UCC.
After struggling at the free throw line in the first two games of the season, Umpqua corrected the issue by converting 21 of 21 at the charity stripe against Rexburg.
“We kind of struggled at the line and we should be a good free throw shooting team,” UCC coach Daniel Leeworthy said. “We were a bit more relaxed at the line (Monday) and going 21-for-21 was pretty good.”
Umpqua had a size advantage against Rexburg and used it well, shooting 50 percent from the field on 39-for-78.
Leading scorer Eric Klekas added 14 points with four 3-pointers, while Tucker Peterson and Cameron Benzel both added 12 points, Jacob Sutton had 11 and John Keeler finished with 10. Twelve of 13 players scored for UCC.
“We were able to have a good combination of playing inside and out,” Leeworthy said. “We had a size advantage and we made the most of that. Connor Shaw played really well with 24 points and we had multiple guys play really well. It was a good team contribution from everyone.”
The Utah trip was a first for Umpqua under Leeworthy, who heavily recruits the state. Seven members of this year’s team are from Utah, and the trip offered them an opportunity to play in front of friends and family.
While Umpqua lost the first two games of the trip to Snow College and host Salt Lake Community College, which had star guard Cam Mack commit to St. John’s on Monday, the trip served a greater purpose for the Riverhawks.
“I’m happy with the progression in our entire time here in Utah,” Leeworthy said. “We took a step forward every game here and we got guys more comfortable with each other out on the floor.
“I’m really optimistic about our season and i think it will be a really exciting season for us and for our fans.”
Leeworthy and the Riverhawks visited the Huntsman Cancer Institute, located on the campus of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, earlier on Monday.
“That made a giant impact on our guys, as well as the patients there,” Leeworthy said. “It’s one of the leading cancer hospitals and we had a great time there and a big impact there. We’re not only trying to make them great basketball players, but we’re trying to make an impact on their lives for the future.”
Several Umpqua players will remain in Utah to spend the holiday with their families when the team returns to Roseburg on Tuesday. The Riverhawks will play their first home game on Nov. 30 when they host the University of Oregon Club team to open a three-game home stand. They will also play at home on Dec. 1 against Multnomah and on Dec. 2 against the Concordia Club team. Seven of Umpqua’s next 10 games will be at UCC, with the only road games being part of the Dale Bates Classic at Lane Community College Dec. 7-9. It will end 2018 playing four straight home games.
Umpqua scoring only
UMPQUA (105) — Connor Shaw 8 8-8 24, Gilbert 1 0-0 2, Martin 3 0-0 8, Ehrhardt 2-2 4, Campbell 2 0-0 4, Sutton 4 3-3 11, Hillman 0 0-0 0, Mortensen 1 2-2 4, Benzel 6 0-0 12, Klekas 5 0-0 14, Peterson 6 0-0 12, Marz 0 2-2 2, Keeler 3 4-4 10. Totals 39-78 21-21 105.
3-Point Goals — Umpqua 6 (Martin 2, Shaw 4).