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Eagles aim for strong finish to regular season

Men’s basketball won three straight games as their schedule nears its end.   |   Jason Lin/THE CHIMES

 

Following an embarrassing 15-point road loss at The Master’s University on Feb. 4, the No. 4 Eagles have righted the ship over the past week. Their 75-68 victory against the Vanguard Lions on Feb. 14 gave the team three consecutive wins heading into their final two contests of the regular season.

Every game counts

Despite still having the Golden State Athletic Conference tournament ahead of them, the Eagles have virtually ensured an at-large berth into the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics national tournament in March thanks to their 25-3 record. Even so, head coach Dave Holmquist’s squad has no intention of easing up.

“It’s really important to win these next two games,” said senior point guard Dakari Archer. “We’re trying to finish in first place [in conference] again, so it’s very important that we’re still winning and getting back to the tournament with a high seed. Every game counts.”

The Eagles’ victory over the Lions provided plenty of drama. After falling behind by as much as 24 in the second half, Vanguard narrowed Biola’s lead to just four when they fouled Archer near midcourt with 31 seconds left. Chase Gymnasium rocked as a vocal Vanguard contingent sparred with an even louder home crowd, but Archer stayed calm and sank both of his shots to give the Eagles some breathing room.

Supporting cast rises to the top

“I just had to concentrate,” Archer said. “I bent my knees and followed through like we worked on in practice. It was like a practice shot for me.”

Like he has all season, Archer led the way for the Eagles of late. In addition to his team-leading 22-point effort against Vanguard, the all-American scored 25 at William Jessup University on Feb. 9 and added seven points with four assists at Menlo College on Feb. 11. Archer received help from his starting backcourt partner, sophomore guard Trevor Treinen, who averaged 16 points over the past three games. Though less consistent, senior forward Jeff Gonzalez chipped in with a huge 20-point performance against Menlo.

The Eagles will next travel to Fullerton, Calif. to face Hope International University at 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 18.

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