Snow men rally for wins against CSI and SLCC
EPHRAIM—In the heated contest to be the top dog in the conference, the Badgers are letting out a long victory howl.
Snow’s men’s basketball team came back from late-game deficits twice to pull out thrilling victories against fellow title contenders Southern Idaho and Salt Lake, 91-83 and 94-87. The wins put Snow at a near guarantee to claim the Scenic West Athletic Conference title at the end of the season.
Southern Idaho, coming off a win against Salt Lake, came into their game with the Badgers full of momentum, and it showed. Shooting 48 percent while holding the Badgers to a mere 40 percent, the Golden Eagles raced out to a 48-35 halftime lead.
The Eagles led by as much as 16 early in the second half before Snow began to rally. Without much in the way of scoring runs or explosive offensive stretches, the Badgers methodically took over the flow of the game and forced Southern Idaho completely off of their game plan.
Snow slowly crept up to the lead, finally tying up the game at 74-74 behind a three-point shot from sophomore Blake Truman with just under five minutes left to play. From there, it was all Badgers, as the Eagles completely fell out of sync and could not contain Snow’s newfound momentum en route to the victory. By the end of the game, Snow had outscored Southern Idaho in the second half by 21 points.
While the leading scorer was freshman Zach Hunsaker with a whopping 29 points, Truman took home the unofficial “clutch player” award with a double-double performance of 16 points, 13 rebounds, a block and a steal. Sophomore Nate Bruneel and freshman A.J. Jones each scored in double figures as well with 12 and 11 points, respectively. Though Hunsaker struggled with four turnovers, he made up for it four steals.
Then came the Bruins.
Salt Lake, considered at this point to be the biggest threat in the conference to the Badgers, once again managed to hold the Badgers down early, countering their hot shooting by shooting 60 percent from the field in the first half. The Bruins finished out the first half on a 10-0 run and led 48-40 at halftime.
When the second half rolled around, the Badgers continued to shoot at a high percentage, but the Bruins did not, falling from 60 percent down to a mere 38 percent clip. The cold shooting allowed Snow to retake the lead shortly into the second half. After the two teams exchanged baskets and leads for the majority of the half, Jones and Bruneel hit a consecutive pair of threes late in the game to put the Badgers ahead for good.
Hunsaker once again led the scoring effort with 25 points, while Truman added 17 points and two blocks. Jones and sophomore Riley Panter added 10 and 16 points, respectively. The Badgers additionally benefited from an efficient day off the bench from sophomore Romain Louissere, who contributed 16 points.
“We have been able to come back because our guys are very disciplined and are willing to keep doing the things that work,” head coach Rob Nielson said. “They are tough players who don’t give up and believe that someone will step up and make a big play. We have hit several big shots and continue to shoot the three-point shot really well. They are an unselfish group who like playing the game together.”
Following the Badgers’ game at Utah State-Eastern last Tuesday (score next week), Snow will be hosting Colorado Northwestern this Saturday at 5 p.m.