After an effort to get second place in the Scenic West Athletic Conference (SWAC), the Snow College men’s basketball team lost 99-98 to Salt Lake Community College Saturday in the Badgers’ home finale in Ephraim.
That followed Snow’s 102-83 and 93-86 victories over College of Southern Nevada Tuesday, March 16 and Wednesday, March 17 in Las Vegas and Henderson, Nev., respectively.
Saturday, the Badgers, who are 13-7 overall and 8-5 in SWAC play, led by as much as 71-56 with 17:04 left in the game. But the Bruins responded with a 14-4 run as Snow didn’t score for at least two-and-a-half minutes.
After Salt Lake took an 82-81 lead with 9:03 left after a Bruin 3-pointer, the teams would trade buckets through much of the rest of the contest until SLCC, which is 17-3 overall and 10-3 in SWAC play, scored on a tough runner with only 4.5 seconds to go.
Still, Ross Reeves did make it up the floor in time to attempt one more shot. However, his 3-point attempt went off the back iron.
“That’s two really good teams battling it out, going blow to blow,” Snow Coach Robert Nielson said. “They made one more shot than we did.”
Before the game started, Snow honored Matt Norman and Tredyn Christensen, the two seniors on the Badger roster. (At that time, the public address announcer pointed out that Christensen began at Snow as a post player, but is now playing point guard.)
“They’ve had a great two years and we are really going to miss them. It’s been a lot fun to coach them; they’ve been very coachable,” Nielson said. “They’ve won a lot of games; had a lot of success. Two great guys that represent Snow College really well.”
Snow made six straight 3-pointers in the first half, when Norman had four and Travis Wagstaff, five. (Overall, Norman made five and Wagstaff, six.)
“When those two get hot, they just keep making it and they have to be harder and harder shots and they kept making them,” Nielson said. “In the second half, we didn’t get those shots. But in the first half, it’s fun to watch them. We see that a lot in practice—they get hot and they’re unstoppable. Just hard to carry that over. [In the] second half, they should have shot more, probably.”
The Badgers lost their lead because the Bruins got aggressive in taking the ball to the basket, getting a lot of points in the paint.
“We came down and shot some 3s that had been going in and they didn’t go in, so they kept beating us in the paint and we didn’t respond,” Nielson said. “They outrebounded us, which made a big difference.”
Nielson wasn’t impressed that Snow dropped 98 points because it had only 35 in the second half.
“We did have a bit of a problem,” Nielson said, noting that his team didn’t get good shots and committed turnovers.
Or didn’t get shots at all.
“We’ve got to get a shot every time,” Nielson said.
The game mirrored the Badgers’ game from four weeks earlier. In that contest, Snow played SLCC at home and the Badgers lost after a go-ahead basket in the closing minute.
Nielson brought up a handful of losses by one or two possessions to the top teams in the SWAC in College of Southern Idaho and SLCC.
“Like I told our guys, we’re five or six possessions [away],” Nielson said. “We’re right there and we’ve got a lot of freshmen who are learning how to play and they got to learn how to get a little bit better. We have two weeks to learn how to get better as we get into the [SWAC] tournament. We need to learn to make two or three better plays over the course of the game and turn it around.”
Wagstaff, Reeves, Norman and Christensen scored 26, 22, 20 and 17 points, respectively. Reeves and Christensen shot 9-of-13 and 8-of-12 from the field, though Christensen shot 0-of-5 from the free-throw line as the Badgers went 4-of-10 overall from the charity stripe. From the 3-point line, Snow shot a blistering 16-of-34. Christensen, Michael Scheffner, Reeves and Norman had eight, six, six and five rebounds, respectively. Wagstaff dished five assists. Reeves had three steals.
In the Badgers’ 19-point win over Southern Nevada, which is 2-11 overall and in SWAC play, Snow opened up a 39-12 lead with 4:59 still remaining in the first half following a layup by Michael Scheffner to end a fast break.
Wagstaff, Norman, Reeves and Christensen scored 35, 25, 16 and 16 points, respectively. Wagstaff went 7-of-14 from 3-point land. Snow won big despite shooting just 23-of-37 from the free-throw line. Christensen, Wagstaff and Scheffner grabbed 11, eight and seven rebounds, respectively. Reeves had six assists and three steals.
In the Badgers’ seven-point victory over the Coyotes, Snow allowed the Coyotes to go on an 8-0 run to close out the first half. However, Badgers came out after the break to go on an 11-0 run of their own to take a 17-point lead early in the second half. A Southern Nevada 3-pointer with more than 10 minutes remaining in the game would tie the score at 66-66.
From that point on, the two teams would trade buckets through much of the remainder of the game until Snow pushed its lead to seven points on a pair of free throws from Ross Reeves with less than 10 seconds remaining.
Norman, Reeves, Wagstaff, Christensen and Scheffner scored 23, 21, 17, 12 and 10 points. Reeves went 5-of-11 from the 3-point line. Norman, Reeves and Scheffner each had seven rebounds. Norman, Reeves and Christensen had nine, five and five assists, respectively. Christensen had four steals.