Anything can happen in the Scenic West Athletic Conference.
The Salt Lake Community College men’s basketball team learned that lesson the hard way after losing 75-74 to USU-Eastern at home on Thursday and 94-87 to Snow College on Saturday in Ephraim. The back-to-back losses push SLCC (18-6, 6-4 SWAC) down to third place in the conference standings.
SLCC vs. USU-Eastern
SLCC started slow and struggled from the perimeter Thursday against USU-Eastern (8-16-1, 3-7-1), making just 2 of 10 3-point shots in the first half. But back-to-back buckets from Isaiah White and a 3-pointer from Matt Conway gave the Bruins a 41-39 halftime lead.
The Golden Eagles built a 66-56 lead midway through the second half, which put a lot of pressure on the Bruins. But SLCC made a few defensive stops and quick buckets to chip away at the lead.
Cole Kesler hit a 3-pointer with two minutes left to put SLCC down by one. The Bruins shot 7-for-12 from the free-throw line but failed to convert two free throws on the final possession to give USU-Eastern the win.
Dalven Brushier led the Bruins with 13 points and six assists. Conway posted a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
SLCC at Snow
After the home loss, the Bruins traveled to Ephraim to face SWAC leader Snow College (21-3-1, 9-1-1). SLCC started the game strong, shooting 60 percent from the field in the first half. A Jake Miles 3-pointer put the Bruins up 29-17 with nine minutes left.
Snow closed the gap to two with five minutes remaining before SLCC regained momentum and built a 48-40 lead at halftime. White led the Bruins with 13 points and eight rebounds and Conway added 12 points.
The Badgers started the second half on an 11-2 run to take a 53-50 lead. After a timeout, the Bruins settled down and were able get a few scores from White, Kesler and Brushier to build a six-point lead with nine minutes remaining.
With SLCC trailing by one with two minutes left in the game, Snow hit two critical 3-pointers to build a five-point lead, and made 7 of 9 free throws to seal the victory.
The Bruins failed to maintain their hot shooting in the second half, converting just 14 of 36 shot attempts. White led the team with 24 points and 11 rebounds. Brushier scored 17 points, while Conway and Christian Gray added 14 apiece.
Despite the losses, SLCC is still within reach of the SWAC title. The Bruins return home to play Colorado Northwestern on Thursday, Feb. 9.