Snow claims SWAC title with convincing 106-74 and 88-76 wins
Badgers slated as No.1 seed in tournament
EPHRAIM—There’s no place like home to celebrate a season of victories.
Snow College’s men’s basketball team overwhelmed visiting Utah State-Eastern, 106-74, to clinch the Scenic West Athletic Conference title outright in front of the home crowd for their home season finale last Thursday. They finished season play the following Saturday with an 88-76 victory over Colorado Northwestern. The Badgers end the regular season with a 25-5 overall record and a 13-3 conference mark.
“It has been a great year for this team,” head coach Rob Nielson said. “To win the SWAC conference is a very difficult thing with the quality teams in the league. I am excited for the team and the way they have worked together to play great basketball this season.”
106 points was the highest point total in conference play for the Badgers this season, and it was fittingly earned against the Golden Eagles, who were the only team besides Salt Lake to get a win off the Badgers in conference play. Snow scorched the net on 60 percent shooting with a 43 percent clip for three. The Badgers made 13 threes by attempting 30 of them, accounting for nearly half of their shot total on the night.
Snow never left the game in doubt, leading from beginning to end. It didn’t take long at all for Snow to already be up by 20 on the Golden Eagles in spite of them having an efficient night of their own, shooting 48 percent from the field. The Badgers made a statement early in the second half when freshman A.J. Jones lobbed a pass that was slammed home by sophomore Nate Bruneel, putting the Badgers up 30.
A jumper by bench center Souleymane Gueye with a minute remaining put the Badgers above 100 points for the ninth time this season. Freshman Zach Hunsaker led the charge with 21 points, but Jones managed a double-double with assists in the game with 18 points and 10 assists. Backup forward Romain Louiserre led with 10 rebounds.
Against Colorado Northwestern, the hot-shooting Badgers cooled down to only 43 percent from the field, but they stifled the Spartans to 37 percent shooting. The closer game prompted Hunsaker to explode. The freshman led all scorers with 31 points, while sophomore Blake Truman dominated the interior with 15 points and 17 rebounds. Sophomore Riley Panter also chipped in 15 points.
With the regular season finished, it all comes down to the SWAC Tournament, being held this week in Salt Lake City. The Badgers have the No. 1 seed in the tournament and will play the bottom seeded team tomorrow at 2 p.m.
“We are looking forward to the tournament and competing for the championship,” Nielson says. “It is a great opportunity, and we are excited to be playing.