EPHRAIM—Even without rotation players, the Snow College men’s basketball team crushed Colorado Northwestern Community College 104-70 Saturday afternoon. They also beat Utah State University Eastern Thursday night, 86-79.
Against CNCC, the Badgers, who are now 10-5 and 5-3 in Scenic West Athletic Conference play, saw five players score in double figures (and everybody who played, scored). At halftime, Hagen Wright, Drake Allen and Michael Scheffner, who have been role players, led Snow in scoring with 12, 11 and 10 points, respectively. (End-of-game statistics were not available as of press time.)
“That’s five or six games in a row that we’ve had five or six guys in double figures,” Snow Coach Robert Nielson said. “If somebody’s hot, they get the ball.”
Perhaps the Badgers have needed to do it by committee. After being without leading players Tredyn Christensen and Matt Norman in prior games, Snow was missing three players, including Travis Wagstaff and Ray Davis, and Assistant Coach Ben Cruickshank due to COVID-19 and the flu.
“There are a lot of things going around … and so if people have symptoms, we have them stay away so other people don’t get sick,” Nielson said. “It’s almost gotten through the whole team now.”
Nielson noted that Cruickshank handles scout work.
“We missed him,” Nielson said.
Nielson even put Wright and Scheffner into the starting lineup. That’s because the Badgers went small against the Spartans.
“We thought if we made them play on the perimeter, it would play to our advantage,” Nielson said.
In the first half, Snow gradually built its lead, eventually leading 53-39 at halftime. Then the Badgers burst things open after intermission, going on a 30-11 run in less than nine minutes to start the second half. At that point, Snow led 83-50 with more than 11 minutes left in the game.
“We weren’t very aggressive defensively in the first half, but the second half … we made it harder on them,” Nielson said. “It led to some easy baskets for us.”
On scoring 104 points, Nielson said “We moved the ball up and down the floor really well. We had a lot of fast break opportunities and we capitalized on that.”
Nielson said the Badgers are getting better and that it was a “good experience” for players like Norman and Christensen to be absent in prior games because it got other players “good experience for the rest of the season.”
“I thought our younger kids stepped up that haven’t been playing as much,” Nielson said.
Against USU Eastern, Snow overcame a 27-15 first-half deficit and at one point led 86-74. Ross Reeves, Wright and Christensen scored 19, 17 and 16 points, respectively. Christensen and Wright shot 7-of-8 and 7-of-9, respectively, from the floor. The Badgers shot well as a team in general, making 54 percent of its baskets. Snow out-assisted the Golden Eagles 23-16. The Badgers also out-rebounded USU Eastern 41-30. Christensen and Allen each nabbed three steals.