The smallest player on the court came up huge in the 200th installment of the Mayor’s Cup men’s basketball rivalry series.
College of Idaho junior point guard Emanuel Morgan racked up 11 points, seven rebounds, six assists and three steals, spearheading a second-half rally as the Yotes recaptured the Mayor’s Cup trophy with a 75-71 victory over Northwest Nazarene University in front of a capacity crowd of 2,400 inside J.A. Albertson Activities Center.
The win avenges a Nov. 10 loss to the Crusaders in Nampa and gives the Yotes five victories in the last six meetings, including three straight wins in Caldwell.
“We were extremely hungry to win after they beat us at their place,” said Morgan, who stands 5-foot-6. “All the guys were fired up, and we went out thsere and handled our business.”
Junior forward Joey Nebeker led the Yotes with 21 points, including two thunderous second-half dunks that ignited the crowd and threatened to bring down the J.A.A.C. roof. He added seven rebounds and four steals, while junior guard Dominique Jordan added 13 points, including two clutch 3-pointers.
“The community makes this game a huge event, so it was a big win and it was a lot of fun,” Nebeker said. “The crowd had a huge impact, and our guys stepped up and played great.”
Trailing 34-30 at halftime, the Yotes rallied behind crisper offensive execution, a tenacious defensive effort and the spark provided by Morgan, Nebeker and a deep supporting cast. Jalyn Turner scored six of his eight points in a quick second-half burst and Aitor Zubizarreta contributed seven points and eight rebounds for the Yotes, who grabbed the lead for good on Nebeker’s fast-break jam with 16:10 to play. NNU made several attempts at a rally, but the Crusaders never got closer than four down the stretch.
“I’m really proud of our effort,” C of I coach Scott Garson said. “Our guys just had a mindset tonight that they were not going to quit and they were not going to lose this game.”
After time expired, Garson sprinted across the court to celebrate with the student section. He and the team thanked the fans and then celebrated together at half court, hoisting the Mayor’s Cup trophy alongside Caldwell Mayor Garret Nancolas.
“It means so much to us,” Garson said of the fans’ support throughout the evening, and throughout the season. “The YoteFam, the city of Caldwell—I just love them. We have the greatest fan base in the whole country for small college basketball.”
The College of Idaho has a 125-year-old legacy of excellence. The C of I is known for its outstanding academic programs, winning athletics tradition and history of producing successful graduates, including seven Rhodes Scholars, three governors, four NFL players and countless business leaders and innovators. Its distinctive PEAK Curriculum challenges students to attain competency in the four knowledge peaks of humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field—empowering them to earn a major and three minors in four years. The College’s close-knit, residential campus is located in Caldwell, where its proximity both to Boise and to the world-class outdoor activities of southwest Idaho’s mountains and rivers offers unique opportunities for learning beyond the classroom. For more information, visit www.collegeofidaho.edu.