USU Eastern Press Release
Utah State Eastern men’s basketball defeated the Snow College Badgers 56-55 on Saturday in Ephraim The Eagles’ defense shut down one of the top three point shooting teams in the country on their way to snapping a three-game losing streak.
“It was a good for our team to get a win on the road and beat the first place team in our conference. It will give us a lot of confidence going into what is a very important week ahead of us,” said USU Eastern head coach Adjalma Becheli.
Snow, which averaged 14 three pointers made per game coming into the game, only made seven and shot 25% from beyond the arc against the Eagles on Saturday.
“I think that we did a great job defending Snow’s shooters. They did not have that many chances to take a open shot because we closed out on them really well,” said Becheli.
Another key component for the Eagles win was limiting the Badgers to only five offensive rebounds and only seven second chance points. Two weeks ago, the Eagles allowed 13 offensive rebounds and were -4 in rebounds against Snow.
After trailing by two at halftime, the Eagles were able to take keep pace with the Badgers led by Pantovic’s 11 points and five rebounds.
“Although we struggled offensively, we followed our coach’s game plan and that helped us stop Snow from going on any scoring runs. Our coaches really did a great job preparing us for this game,” said USU Eastern guard Matija Novkovic.
USU Eastern also got a boost from the bench in the second half with freshman guard Tanner Nygren’s 10 points. Nygren would finish the game with 12 points, which is tied for his career-high.
“Tanner stepped up and was ready to play coming off the bench. He had a good night for us and made some important plays,” said Novkovic.
The game came down to the wire and the Eagles’ defense stopped the Badgers’ final shot at winning the game with less than five seconds left.
With one second left, freshman forward Vojtech Ruzek would block a shot by Snow’s Truman Moore after an inbound play to seal the victory for USU Eastern.
“It was a great play by Vojtech because it was a very difficult shot to block, especially after we allowed them to get the offensive rebound because we didn’t box out,” said Becheli.
Pantovic led the Eagles in both points and rebounds. He scored 15 points and had nine rebounds in 27 minutes on Saturday. Freshman Blaze Nield finished the game with eight points, seven rebounds, four steals and three assists against the Badgers.
The Eagles will now prepare for a two-game road trip this week as they take on the College of Southern Idaho on Thursday and Salt Lake Community College on Saturday.
“We will have to get back to work on Monday and try to prepare the best way that we can to try to win both games on the road,” said Becheli.
Thursday’s game against CSI is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. and will be broadcast live on the Scenic West Digital Network.