After a close win against Colorado Northwestern on Thursday, the Salt Lake Community College men’s basketball team returned to Bruin Arena on Saturday for a blockbuster matchup against College of Southern Idaho.
The Scenic West Athletic Conference is loaded with talent, and CSI is expected to be one of the top teams when the conference title is decided. But SLCC proved they are still a force to be reckoned with, defeating their rival 96-80 in their first conference home game of the season.
The 21st-ranked Bruins (15-3, 3-1 SWAC) started the game on a 6-0 run and led by as much as 20 points in the first half. The 15th-ranked Golden Eagles (15-3, 2-2) clawed back to close the gap to five before the Bruins ended the half with a 52-42 lead.
Bruin center TJ Oliver played strong in the paint, finishing the first half with 15 points and six rebounds. Freshman guard Cooper Holt scored 11 points and made three of four shots from behind the arc.
SLCC and CSI continued to push the pace of the game in the second half, which made for some exciting plays in the open court. Bruin forward Christian Gray chased down a Golden Eagles player and slammed a layup attempt off the backboard, reminiscent of “The Block” from the 2016 NBA Finals.
The Golden Eagles found some momentum and managed to cut the lead to five midway through the second half. But the Bruins were able to compose themselves with key plays by Holt, Gray and point guard Dalven Brushier.
Five Bruins reached double figures. Oliver finished the game with 21 points and 13 rebounds, Holt and Gray added 19 points apiece, and Brushier scored 13 points.
SLCC will host Mountain View High School product Roman McKnight and USU Eastern at home on Tuesday, while CSI travels to play SWAC leader Snow College on Thursday.