by Jakob Perez
Saturday, March 20, 2021 is the day the Bruins faced off with their conference rival, Snow College. They played for the third and final time in the regular season. The stakes were high going into this matchup as the results would impact their seeding going into the regional tournament with just one week left in the regular season.
Bragging rights were also on the line after the in-state rivals split their first two games earlier this season. In their first encounter, the Bruins were able to come out on top in a nail-biter, winning 91-89 on the road.
The Snow College Badgers would get their revenge in their next meeting, thumping SLCC 90-76 at the Bruin Arena. That leaves this weekend’s matchup as a highly anticipated tie-breaker.
The first half of the game strongly resembled their last contest as the Badgers got out to an early lead. SLCC was unable to get many stops in the first half and their offense struggled to keep up with the hot scoring of Snow College. With the home fans roaring, the Badgers went into the locker room with a commanding 63-49 lead.
Despite the 14-point deficit at the half, Coach Taylor’s team wasn’t ready to concede defeat just yet. They came out playing a much more aggressive style of play in the second half. While the Bruins have sorely missed starting guard James Lee, who has missed time with an ankle injury, guards Marvin Price and Quincy McGriff were able to step up in his absence.
The two guards used their size and strength to attack the rim relentlessly, chipping away at the Badger lead. They would end the game with a team high of 19 points each.
As the game began to get closer it was apparent that Coach Taylor wasn’t out of ideas quite yet. He inserted Slovenian sophomore Maks Klanjscek, who hadn’t played at all in the first half, into the game. Klanjscek would make the most of his minutes. He knocked down four three-pointers in a hurry, causing the Badger lead to disappear.
The team’s roles seemed to be reversed after halftime and now it was the Badgers who couldn’t match Salt Lake’s shooting. The bruins shot 55 percent from the field in the second half and the double-digit lead they had held for most of the first half evaporated as the Bruins took a one-point lead with only seconds left on the clock.
The Badgers called a timeout and hoped to orchestrate a game winning play. This would prove to be done in vain with their last shot bouncing off the rim as the buzzer sounded. That gave SLCC a hard-fought victory on the road with a final score of 99-98.
Featured image courtesy Stephen Speckman, SLCC Athletics