Badgers impressive with wins over Idaho, 105-81 and SLCC 83-80
EPHRAIM—Conference play could not have begun any better than it just did for the Badgers.
Snow men’s basketball began SWAC play in the best way possible, posting consecutive victories over nationally-ranked opponents Southern Idaho (No. 10) and Salt Lake (No. 12) last week.
The wins served as redemption after a tough loss in the championship game of the Fiesta Bowl Junior College Shootout, where the Badgers lost 85-65 to No. 1-ranked South Plains.
“The team is off to a great start,” head coach Rob Nielson said. “They are getting better and continue to learn the system and how to play together.”
Southern Idaho was thought to be the biggest challenge in the SWAC. Snow quickly proved who the real threat was in a shocking dismantling of the Eagles, 105-81.
The offensive downpour from the Badgers marked their seventh game with more than 100 points this season, and much of it came from an explosive effort from freshman Zach Hunsaker, who went off to the tune of 37 points and seven rebounds on 9-14 shooting.
“Zach has had a great start to his season,” Nielson said. “He is continuing to get better at finding open teammates, and that makes him even harder to guard.”
All five starters, including Hunsaker, scored in double figures against Southern Idaho. Sophomores Blake Truman, Nate Bruneel, and Riley Panter scored 17, 14, and 12 points, respectively, while Hunsaker’s fellow freshman starter, A.J. Jones, put in 19 more.
The week only got better when Snow hosted and defeated rival Salt Lake in an intense game, 83-80. In a game that featured 13 lead changes, everything went down to the bitter end. Down 78-77 with less than 90 seconds remaining, Bruneel hit a three to give the Badgers an 80-78 lead. After the Bruins tied it up for the tenth time, Hunsaker delivered by hitting a layup with 49 seconds left to put Snow ahead for good.
Hunsaker led all scorers again with 21 points, while Bruneel, Panter, and Truman scored 16, 12, and 11, respectively. Backup guard Romain Boxus contributed 11 points as well.
The Badgers played Colorado Northwestern last Tuesday and will host Utah State-Eastern this Saturday at 5 p.m. following the women’s game.