Photo by Jeff Barrett
By Calvin Jensen
In a highly-anticipated matchup against No. 10 Salt Lake Community College (SLCC) on Wednesday night, Utah State Eastern men’s basketball shocked the Bruins with a remarkable upset on their opponent’s home court. Coming in the underdog, the Eagles emerged victorious over Salt Lake with a final score of 84-66.
USU Eastern entered the contest with a record of 12-4 overall and 2-2 in Scenic West play. The Eagles’ exceptional performance on the court was highlighted by a well-rounded team effort.
Martel Williams led all scorers on the night, earning another double-double with 33 points and 10 rebounds. Dyson Lighthall picked up 14 points in the game as he continues to be a defensive threat underneath with six rebounds. Trace Ross contributed 10 points and showcased his versatility with seven rebounds, two assists and two steals while the backcourt duo of Ethan Copeland and Kendall Alexander combined for 20 points to help keep the Eagles’ impressive lead.
Utah State Eastern’s offensive efficiency was evident throughout the game, shooting an impressive 60.4% from the field. The Eagles’ success beyond the arc, with a 47.6% three-point shooting percentage, played a pivotal role in dismantling Salt Lake Community College’s defense. Additionally, their solid free-throw shooting, especially in the second half with an 85.7% conversion rate, sealed the victory for the underdogs.
On the other side, SLCC faced unexpected challenges and despite the efforts of key players like CJ Luster, who contributed 16 points, and Jordan Battle, who added 19 points, Salt Lake struggled to find consistent offensive rhythm. Eastern’s defense disrupted the Bruins usual scoring patterns, leading to the eventual upset.
USU Eastern (12-5, 3-2) will remain on the road to face another nationally-ranked opponent in No.13 Snow College (17-2, 2-1) in Ephraim, Utah. Tipoff will be at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 27.