With a full head of steam, the Utah State Eastern men’s basketball team is pummeling towards the Scenic West Athletic Conference tournament. The next handful of games are crucial to the team securing a top four seed and ultimately a chance for a conference championship.
Having finally re-discovered the confidence that seemed to have waned earlier this season, the Eagles are quickly rising in the conference rankings once again.
Utah State Eastern met Snow College on the road, in Ephraim, Utah, this past week and took home the win. Shooting percentage was the name of the game, in the first half of play, with Eastern leading the way, shooting a steady 40% from the field on 37 total shots.
Snow struggled from deep early, and yet continued to try and put them away at a high rate. The Badgers launched 12 three-point shots in the first half but only managed to knock down an abysmal 8.3%.
Taking advantage of the lack of shooting, USU Eastern grabbed an early 12-point lead going into halftime and did not let up in the second half.
Snow continued to try and stay in the game by sending up 21 shots from behind the arc but only managed to connect on seven of them. Meanwhile, Eastern punished Snow College and owned the paint in the second half.
Spirits were high coming home with an 11-point victory against the conference rival, but the flame was quickly extinguished as they later fell to undefeated College of Southern Idaho.
Offensively, Utah State Eastern did well, shooting 43% from the field and even managed to rack up a handful of much needed three pointers to keep the game close. Struggles defensively caused Eastern to fall behind in crucial tie-game moments that let Southern Idaho gain momentum and emerge victorious.
With the loss to College of Southern Idaho, Eastern falls to a 6-7 conference record. As it sits, they are fifth in the SWAC standings. However, they hold a tiebreaker victory over Snow College, and will have the chance to win the season series against Southern Nevada on Feb. 22.
This means that with few left in the regular season Utah State Eastern needs to win four of their next five in order to edge out the Badgers and Coyotes, and earn the third seed heading into the SWAC tournament.
Eastern is scheduled to play Colorado Northwest Community College this Thursday, Feb. 16. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:00 pm, on Feb. 16, in Price, Utah.