Michael Hale III hit 7 of 17 shots and scored a game-high 24 points and North Idaho (22-8, 7-8) opened up a 26-18 halftime lead, holding on to beat visiting Eastern Utah (23-7, 10-5) 62-53 in their Scenic West Athletic Conference basketball finale Saturday.
The Cardinals trailed only once in the early going and held CEU to 15.2 percent shooting in the opening 20 minutes
The second half saw both teams heat up, as the Cardinals outscored CEU 36-35, pushing their lead to as many as 12.
NIC also received seven points and seven rebounds from Tyrone White, while the Golden Eagles were led by Bryant Crowder’s 14 points and 12 boards.
The Cardinals now advance to the SWAC tournament and will face Snow College on Thursday in Twin Falls, Idaho. A win in that game would match them against regular-season champion – and host – Southern Idaho.