EPHRAIM After playing like the fifth-ranked team in the nation that they are in the first half Saturday, the SLCC men looked like they were on the road against a feisty rival that rarely loses at home in the second half.
The Bruins squandered a 15-point lead against Snow College. They trailed with less than 20 seconds remaining. Their No. 1-ranked defense let the Badgers shoot 63.6 percent after halftime.
"We didn't keep our composure," said SLCC point guard DaVell Jackson. "We fell asleep a little bit."
Fortunately for the Bruins, their snoozing didn't turn into losing. Sharpshooter Brian Green drilled a late 3-pointer and SLCC's defense woke up in time to pick up a scary 63-60 win in the teams' Scenic West Athletic Conference opener.
"It's hard here," said SLCC coach Norm Parrish, whose team handed the Badgers their only home loss all of last season in the SWAC tournament. "I thought we lost (our composure) there halfway through the second half of the game, but the last five minutes I thought we kept it."
That was especially the case in the final seconds. Snow's Rory Patterson, who had a team-high 18 points, hit two free throws to put the Badgers up 60-59 with 44.3 seconds left. The Bruins took advantage of a missed one-and-one opportunity by Snow when Jackson found an open Green, who nailed his three with 19.1 seconds to go. Center Kael Pope then drew a charge and grabbed a key rebound to help seal the win.
Jackson was SLCC's offensive sparkplug, scoring 21 points with five assists and seven rebounds. Aaron Smith scored 11, while Green and Andy Palmer chipped in with 10 points apiece.
Jackson said the win, which improved SLCC's record to 16-0, was especially "sweet" for him because it came against his former coach. Snow's new coach, Michael Ostlund, was an assistant with SLCC last season."Courage" described his new players' comeback, Ostlund said. Though they gave up 19 straight points at one point and trailed by 15 several times in the opening half, the Badgers (8-8, 0-1) clawed back with a stifling zone that led to a bunch of easy baskets and several late leads.