USU Eastern Press Release
Utah State Eastern men’s basketball lost to the Salt Lake Community College Bruins 86-78 at home on Thursday. The Eagles were able to bounce back from a slow start in the beginning to make it an exciting game in the final 10 minutes of the game.
At halftime, the Eagles trailed by nine in front a full crowd inside the BDAC on Fan Appreciation Night. USU Eastern rallied after another slow start in the second half and cut the Bruins’ lead to one with 16 minutes remaining after trailing by as much as 11.
“We fought hard in the second half and we did some great things on defense with our rotations and taking away points in the paint,” said USU Eastern head coach Adjalma Becheli.
Part of that rally was put together by the performance of sophomore guard Matija Novkovic. Novkovic scored all of his 13 points in the second half, including three baskets made from long distance.
“Tonight, he came in and shot with confidence. He did some great things for us offensively after a rough week or two,” said Nield.
USU Eastern finally grabbed their first lead of the second half when a Ognjen Pantovic score made it 55-54 with 12 minutes remaining in the game. Pantovic and sophomore center Stevan Jeremic played a critical role in keeping the Eagles in the game until fatigue and foul trouble set in down the stretch.
“Our bigs were finishing and fought through to get some scores and get to the free throw line,” said Nield.
Both Pantovic and Jeremic finished the game with 13 points. Jeremic led the team in rebounding with nine boards.
In the final two minutes of the game, the Bruins took advantage of the mistakes made by USU Eastern and pulled away with the win.
“We made the same mistakes in the beginning of the game and gave them second chances. They hit some big time threes that really sealed the game for them,” said Becheli.
Thursday’s loss is the third consecutive loss for the Eagles, their longest losing streak of the season.