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The Sanpete Messenger

Badgers back on track with two lopsided wins

Badgers back on track with two lopsided wins

 

Matt Harris

Staff writer

2-2-2017

 

EPHRAIM—The Badgers aren’t about to let anyone think that they had lost their touch last week.

After last week’s loss to Salt Lake to make a tie for first place in conference play, the 24th-ranked Snow College men’s basketball quickly responded to adversity. The  Snow athletes kept pace by blowing out both Utah State-Eastern and Colorado Northwestern (CNCC)  last Thursday and Saturday by scores of 80-59 and 106-72, respectively.

The Badger offense notched not only its 19th win against CNCC but also its eighth 100-plus-point game this season. Snow currently averages 92.5 points per game, 29th in the NJCAA and best in the Scenic West Athletic Conference.

For head coach Rob Nielson, defense was the big difference.

“They played with a real desire to improve this past week,” Nielson said. “Our defensive effort was very good in both games, and offensively, we moved the ball as well as we have all year.”

Snow left USU-Eastern in the dust from the get-go, jumping out a 28-6 lead by just over eight minutes left in the first half and going into the locker room with a dominant 47-18 advantage. The Golden Eagles final found themselves coming out of the break and began the second half outscoring the Badgers 21-10, but Snow’s advantage was already too large. Snow’s largest lead of the game was 33 with 7:32 in the second half remaining.

Freshman Zach Hunsaker lead the Badgers with 20 points. Backup Romain Boxus had a season-high 14 points, while sophomores Riley Panter and Blake Truman each chipped in 12.

Against CNCC, it was the same story, only even more in the Badgers favor. Snow’s red-hot offense became white-hot, shooting a collective 67 percent from the field, including a blistering 62 percent from three. The game was never in doubt as the Badgers led 49-32 at halftime and their lead only grew. Snow was ahead by as much as 39 points shortly before the end of the game.

The key to the offensive effort were Snow’s 29 assists, which Nielson says is “what we are looking for each night. Our guys are playing as a team, and it is a fun style to play.”

Once again, Hunsaker led all scorers, netting 23 points, but he was just one of five players in double figures on Saturday. Truman followed with 21 points, while backups Romain Louiserre and Nate Aland each put in 16. Sophomore Nate Bruneel rounded it out with 11. Hunsaker is currently in the top 30 nationally for points per game.

With Southern Idaho beating Salt Lake earlier in the week, Snow once against stands alone at the top of SWAC standings. Snow hosted Southern Idaho last Tuesday (score next week) and will rematch with Salt Lake at home this Saturday at 5 p.m.

“This next round of conference play will be crucial for us, as we have three of the four at home,” Nielson said.