The Snow College men’s basketball team showed just how impressive it can be last weekend, winning both of its games by an average of 35.5 points.
Six of the Badgers’ seven losses have been by two possessions or less. And every loss has been to a team that has been nationally ranked at some point this season. And many weeks this season, Snow was without players and/or a coach due to COVID-19 and sickness. So even though last weekend marked the final weekend of the regular season, the Badgers have had only so many chances to show what they can do.
They sure did last week. The Badgers won four out of five games, beating Utah State University Eastern, 96-65, on Saturday and dominating Colorado Northwestern Community College, 100-60, on Thursday.
“We’re playing well. I think we are healthy,” Badger Coach Robert Nielson said. “We’re playing together. I hope this break helps us get ready to go … I think we have a chance to win [the Region 18 tournament] if we play together and play better defense.”
Snow, which is 15-7 overall and 10-5 in region play, plays in the tournament starting Thursday, April 8. It’s at the Sevier Valley Center in Richfield.
Nielson also said he thought his players executed well and “really moved the ball.”
That most certainly includes the USU Eastern game. It was key to Snow shooting 17-of-38 (45 percent) from the 3-point line.
“That’s really good. If we keep shooting it like we have the past two games going into the tournament, we have a chance to win it,” Nielson said, noting that his team is “picking good shots.”
Against CNCC, the Badgers shot 38-of-66 (58 percent) from the field.
Snow beat USU Eastern by 31 after defeating them by only two and seven in its prior games. As Nielson pointed out, the main reason was that the Golden Eagles’ leading scorers, Dontrell Hewlett and Donaval Avila, didn’t play. However, as Nielson pointed out, the Badgers had 29 assists out of 36 baskets and played with confidence.
Seven Snow players scored nine or more points Saturday. Nielson pointed out that in several games this year, five or six players have scored in double figures. Nielson applauded his team’s “unselfishness.”
“If one person needed to, we could score a lot of points,” Nielson said, adding that if the Badgers share the ball, it makes them harder to defend.
Snow forced 23 turnovers, a relatively high number.
“We’ve been working on our defense to try to get more aggressive and that’s starting to show,” Nielson said. “As we go into the tournament, I think that’s a good sign.”
Snow outscored USU Eastern 30-6 in points off turnovers.
“To not have many turnovers to lead to their points and to [score off turnovers] that makes a big difference in the game,” Nielson said. “It turns the game around.”
For the third time this season, the Badgers hit the century mark against CNCC. With the win, Snow clinched the No. 3 seed for the tournament.
Eight players scored eight or more points for the Badgers against the Spartans. Five players had five or more rebounds. And five players had two or more steals.
“It’s been a good year. It’s been a long year, but I think our guys finished very strong,” Nielson said. “Our guys have done a good job at getting through COVID and being able to get through a lot of games.”