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SLCC men hold off USU-Eastern, 84-81

Posted on January 18, 2015 at 6:50 AM

TAYLORSVILLE — The Salt Lake Community College men’s basketball team fought off a very pesky USU-Eastern Saturday night and hung on for an 84-81 victory at Bruins Arena.


“We gave them easy shots at the end thinking the game was over,” said SLCC head coach Todd Phillips. “We were up eight with a minute left and thinking they won’t come back, but it is a learning experience for the kids. I'd rather them learn on win instead of a loss.”


The Bruins held a 12-point lead late in the game before the Eagles (9-9, 0-5 SWAC) trimmed the lead to three in the final minute.


After shooting the ball poorly in the first half going 7 of 21 from the field and 1 of 7 from 3-point range the Bruins (17-4, 5-1 SWAC) went into the locker room trailing 35-34 after the half.


“I didn’t think we battled in the first half. We played hard but didn’t battle,” Phillips said. “We did some things wrong, now let’s get back to what we do — pound the ball inside and be aggressive and strong.”


After struggling shooting the ball in the first half, the Bruins quickly changed that and went 14 of 23 to end the game. They also got comfortable at the charity stripe where they made 40 of 54 free throws.


“We shot it horrible from the three we were 2 of 11, which is a nightmare,” said Phillips. “When we got it inside to our bigs, we took better shots as a team.”


DeSean Parsons led the way for SLCC with 20 points while shooting 60 percent from the field and going 8 of 11 from the free-throw line. Gibson Johnson (13 points), Zerrion Payton (10 points) and Blake Wilkinson (16 points) also hit double digits.


Nathaniel Wright led the Eagles with 14 points, while Philip Winston recorded a double-double with 13 points and 11 assists.


The Bruins will play the first of five straight road games beginning Jan. 24 at Snow College where they have only lost once under Phillips.


“They are really good and really talented,” said Phillips of Snow College. “It is going to take a team effort to come out with a win, and when we play at a high level we are pretty good.”


You can follow David "Vito" Winkworth on Twitter @RealDavidVito.

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