Men’s record now 6-3 in season, 21-6 overall
By James Tilson
EPHRAIM—The Snow College men’s basketball team swept Colorado Northwestern last week, improving to 21-6 on the season and 6-3 in the Scenic West Athletic Conference.
Snow is now one game behind the College of Southern Idaho with three games remaining in the season.
Snow travelled to Rangely, Colo. last Thursday, and defeated the Spartans 77-72 in the first game of the week. And then on Saturday, the Badgers dominated the Spartans 85-64 in the return game in Ephraim.
“Our guys really played hard tonight, and did well on defense,” said Head Coach Rob Nielson when describing his team’s effort against the Spartans on Saturday night. Neilson described how, after a physical game in Rangely, the Badgers wanted to increase the tempo for the game in Ephraim, and hopefully get their offense going better.
The game in Rangely had been well in hand until a stretch in the second half where several turnovers led to easy points for the Spartans; and they made the game closer than it should have been.
“We were up 15, but then we gave away four or five turnovers in a row, and we lost the lead,” he said. The game stayed in doubt until the very end, when Jake Walker hit a three to give the Badgers a 4-point lead that would stand.
That did not happen in the second game. The Badgers jumped out to a 10-point lead at half, and exploded in the second half to win by 21.
The first factor in the impressive margin was improved play underneath the basket. “Our bigs were much more aggressive on the pick-&-roll, and we took that away from them,” said Nielson. “And then we out-rebounded them. We really tried to control the paint.”
The other factor was improved 3-point shooting, including a break-out game by Nick Huston, who went 5-9 from three during the second half, including a stretch where he hit a 3-pointer three possessions in a row. Nielson said Huston’s recovery from injury led to a big night for him.
“[Huston] had broken his finger early in the year, and it bothered [his shooting]. It was good to see him get out of the slump,” Nielson said. “He’ll help us a lot going forward.”
Between his game winner on Thursday, and his 16 points on Saturday, Jake Walker was named SWAC Player of the Week for his efforts. Logan Hokanson won the honor last week, making it two weeks in a row for the Badgers.
Snow now sits one game out of first place in the SWAC with three games left in the regular season. This week, Snow has two road games, tonight at USU-E in Price, and then at Salt Lake CC on Saturday. Next week, Snow will host Southern Idaho on Thursday night in the last home game of the year.