Snow basketball team sporting No. 25 national ranking following four wins
EPHRAIM— The Snow College men’s basketball team has made it clear to all that they are not going anywhere.
Now standing at No. 25 in NJCAA polls, Snow followed up their 2-0 start in Scenic West play with a 96-64 dismemberment of Colorado Northwestern and held on at home against Utah State-Eastern to win 86-79 and make it four in a row.
Riding high from two wins over ranked opponents, Snow never gave up a lead after the first ten seconds of the game and led by as much as 37 points in the second half.
Freshman Zach Hunsaker led all scorers with 25 points, while sophomore Riley Panter added 20. Sophomore Nate Bruneel also contributed 14 points, and Romain Boxus added 15 from the bench.
Against USU-Eastern, the final score served only to blur the reality of how Snow dominated in the game. Snow led by as many as 20 points in the game and consistently held a double-digit lead over the Golden Eagles throughout the game. Foul trouble late in the second half led to a comeback effort by USU-Eastern, whose starting point guard, Quinn Peters, played every minute of the entire game, totaling 26 points. Hunsaker was the only Badger to foul out, occurring late in the second half.
Snow successfully held off the resurgent Golden Eagles thanks to a scoring balance between Bruneel, Hunsaker, Panter, and freshman guard A.J. Jones, scoring 19, 16, 15, and 15 points, respectively. Bruneel also had nine rebounds to lead the team, four of them coming offensively. Jones nearly had a double-double of his own with nine assists.
The wins all but guarantee that the Badgers will continue to move up in the rankings, but head coach Rob Nielson remains honed in with his team on continuing their success. “It’s a long road, and we have to keep focused,” Nielson says. “The team plays well together, and it is nice to be ranked, but it just makes people play harder against us.”
Shooting from distance, and forcing opponents to respect it, is playing a big part of the Badgers’ success. Averaging 42.5 percent from three, they are seventh in the nation in that category.
Snow hosts Southern Idaho tonight at 7:30 p.m. before traveling to play Salt Lake this Saturday.