ETV News stock photo by Jeff Barrett
By Loren Miller, Utah State Eastern Sports Information
Utah State Eastern men’s basketball lost to the Salt Lake Community College Bruins 68-60 on Saturday in Taylorsville.
Last time the Eagles played the Bruins. they took home a 87-86 win. This time around, the game went down to the wire until the final two minutes when Salt Lake’s Matt Lindsey hit two threes to give his team the edge.
“We gave them two offensive rebounds and they scored on us,” said USU Eastern head coach Adjalma Becheli. “We turned the ball over on offense and they got a dunk off of it. Salt Lake scored more and got eight points up and that was the difference in the game.”
The Eagles led most of the second half after being tied 28-28 at halftime. It was turnovers and free throws that ended up coming back to hurt the Eagles in the end. In the second half, the Eagles shot 4-14 from the free throw line while Salt Lake shot 15-18 from the line.
“We shot very poorly from the line and this made the difference. Both teams had similar numbers in various categories and free throw shooting decided who won the game,” said Becheli.
As a team, the Eagles had a better field goal percentage and three point percentage than the Bruins, 38.9 and 36.8, respectively. They also out rebounded the Bruins 42-37.
Freshman guard Blaze Nield led the Eagles in scoring with 25 points. He also had a team-high eight rebounds and two steals. USU Eastern forward Vojtech Ruzek was second on the team in scoring with eight points off the bench. Ruzek also had four rebounds and three blocks against the Bruins before fouling out with 4:43 left to play.
“He did a great job on defense for us, closing out on their shooters and taking away their three point shot opportunities. He also did what he is supposed to do on offense and scored easy baskets for us,” said Becheli.
Saturday’s loss puts the Eagles in fourth place in the Scenic West Athletic Conference standings with three games left.
Up next for USU Eastern is a must-win game against the Snow College Badgers on Thursday at home. Tip off for Thursday’s game is set for 7:30 p.m. following the USU Eastern women’s basketball game. Fans can purchase their tickets in advance at usueasternathletics.com/tickets. The game will be streamed live on the Scenic West Digital Network at scenicwestnetwork.com.