Snow Badgers can’t get winning shots to fall, lose to USU-E Eagles by one
By James Tilson
EPHRAIM—In a nail-biting finish, the Snow College men’s’ basketball team narrowly lost to the Utah State University – Eastern Eagles, 55-56 last Saturday, going to 4-3 in the Scenic West Athletic Conference and falling into a tie for second place in the conference.
“It’s a very tight league,” said Badger Assistant Coach Ben Cruickshank after the game. “In these league games, it’s so tough because you all know each other so well, and can counter all their tendencies.”
It was evident early on that this game was going to be tightly contested. Neither team would give up an easy basket; and there were several times during the game when the Snow defense forced a turnover for a shot clock violation.
After scoring 108 points over Salt Lake Community College last week, Snow only scored 29 points in the first half against the Eagles. However, they only allowed 27, and clung to a narrow lead.
“We only allowed [USU-E] to shoot 39 percent from the field, 19 percent from three, and 65 percent from the line,” said Cruickshank. “You expect to win when you play that well defensively, but we just couldn’t score on offense.”
Indeed, Snow did barely any better on offense than USU-E. They shot 37 percent from the field, and 26 percent from three. “7 for 27 from the three is not typical of our offense.”
But for all the offensive struggles for Snow, the Badgers had multiple opportunities to win the game at the end. With one minute left in the game, the Eagles led 55-56, which would be the final score.
Snow had possession, and its first chance to win the game. But it could not score, and went back down the court. Snow held USU-E, and got the ball back. Truman Moore found Jake Walker in the corner for an open three, but he couldn’t hit it either. In the resulting rebound, the Eagles Ognjen Pantovic was fouled, and the teams marched to the other end.
With 15 seconds left in the game, Pantovic could have pulled the Eagles away from the Badgers. But he missed both his free throws, and Snow rushed to the other end of the court. The ball goes out of bounds, twice, and Snow has one more play with 4.5 seconds left.
Moore got the inbound play, and had an open shot from 10 feet away. He missed the first attempt, and got his own rebound. He went back up, but this shot was blocked, and the game clock expired.
With the loss, Snow goes to 4-3 in the SWAC, and is in a tie for second with USU-E, behind the College of Southern Idaho in first at 5-2.
There are three more weeks in the SWAC regular season before the Region 18 Tournament at the end of the month. This week, Snow will play Colorado Northwestern twice, away on Thursday, Feb. 7 and back home on Saturday, Feb. 9. Tip-off is scheduled at 5 p.m.