Photo by Jeff Barrett
By Dave Hocanson
The USU Eastern men’s basketball team was in Twin Falls, Idaho on Thursday night for the opening round of the Region 18 Conference Tournament to face the Salt Lake Community College Bruins. The Bruins showed that they deserved the No. 9 ranking nationally as they seemingly scored at will, handing USU Eastern a season-ending 101-68 loss.
Ending the regular season with a 12-17 mark was enough to land USU Eastern in the No.3 spot in the conference tournament. Salt Lake made it through the regular season with a 26-4 record and currently holds a No.9 ranking nationally.
The first half started out as a battle with both teams going back and forth. Jack Jamele came off of the bench for the Eagles, putting up nine in the first half. But USUE couldn’t overcome the hot shooting of the Bruins, who shot 73% from the field, 77% from behind the three-point line and 81% from the foul line, which allowed them to take a 54-29 lead at the half.
In the second half, the Eagles tried to slow down Salt Lake and were successful at times, but the hole was too much to try and dig themselves out of as they moved on in the tournament by handing the Eagles a 101-68 loss.
Jaxon Pollard and Dwayne Koroma led the Bruins, scoring 16 points each. Jalen Weaver added 15 as Salt Lake had six players that scored in double figures. For the Eagles, Dyson Lighthall led the team with 13, Jamele finished with 11 and Kevin Bethel had 10 in the loss.
The loss brings an end to USU Eastern’s season, ending with a final mark of 12-18 overall.