The Badgers pulled ahead into a five-game winning streak after shutting down the Utah State Eastern Eagles at home on Thursday, February 13.
After scoring consecutive 3-pointers to quickly establish a lead over the Eagles, the Badgers pushed their lead to 10 points in the first half, as USUE struggled to keep up. Before halftime, the Eagles took capitalized on their last possession, shrinking the badgers lead to only nine points to end the half 38-29.
The second half didn’t prove to support a different story for the Eagles as Snow came out with a stronger fight than before, forcing themselves through USUE’s defense over and over. Soon, the Badgers sported a 21-point lead, allowing themselves to change up the bench, and grant the rest of the team some playing time.
While the Eagles were able to make up a part of their deficit during this time, it wasn’t enough to cover the powerful 3-point shooters that Snow sports. After ultimately shutting down the Eagles defense, the Badgers finished off the game with a momentum crushing dunk and consecutive threes to give Snow 14-point lead.
Finishing off the second half 80-66, The badgers have now cemented their position as the number two seed in the region XVIII tournament at the end of the month.
The Badger’s Freshman shooting guard, Matt Norman, scored a game high 24 points after shooting 9-of-13 from the field, along with connecting on 6-of-9 shots behind the 3-point line, including 3 of the teams 12 steals.
Brayden Johnson followed behind with 11 points of his own, along with Tredyn Christensen who found the basket 3 times in the field, and twice from the charity line for a total of 9 points.
The Badgers were collectively able to pull off an impressive 47.4 percent shooting average against the Eagles along with 12 steals, 27 rebounds, 4 blocks and 80 points to give themselves their fifth consecutive win in the conference.
In an interview after the win, Head Coach Robert Nielson stated his excitement after Norman’s impressive game. “We were able to hold them under 80 and you know It’s fun to see Matt Norman finally play, like we know he can play. That’s the Matt we’ve been looking for and he plays like that all the time, so to finally have him do that in a game was really exciting.” Nielson continued when asked about next week’s game against the No. 1 Bruins, mentioning, “we’ve got a week to take some time, get ready and healthy and then see If we can’t get those guys here. We have second place in the league, so that’s good for these guys. It’s a lot of freshmen and for them to come in and win this place in this league, imp round of them and what they’ve been able to accomplish this season.”
The Badgers will continue their season this week as they take on the Salt Lake Bruins on Thursday, February 20 at home to finish off the home schedule this semester, and close out Snow’s “Pack the HAC” event. Following this, the badgers will take to the road for their last scheduled road game of the conference against Colorado Northwestern in Rangely, Colorado.
Despite the Badgers slow start to a rough season, the young team have really been able to turn it around, finding themselves in a very favorable position heading into the region’s tournament. Currently the No. 2 seed, Snow has high hopes and a great chance at making a run for another title this year to finish off the season.