WNCC men's season comes to an end

STERLING, Colo. – After running by Miles Community College on Sunday 87-57 in the first round of the Region IX Tournament in Sterling, Colo., the Cougars couldn't hold a halftime lead in falling to No. 6 Northeastern Junior College in the quarterfinals on Monday.

WNCC led 32-29 at intermission, but let NJC go on a 19-0 run and scored just 20 second-half points in falling to the Plainsmen 81-52. WNCC ends their season at 18-14, while NJC advances to the semifinals to face Sheridan College.

The other semifinal will pit North Platte against Gillette with the two semifinals winners playing for the title on Wednesday.

Monday's loss was unfortunate as WNCC played well in the first half as Joel Einfeldt hit a 3-pointer with three seconds left to give the Cougars a 32-29 halftime lead.

The big difference in the game was 3-pointer shooting because in the first half, WNCC was 5 of 14 from behind the arc, while the Plainsmen were 0 of 11. The second half, well, was a different story as NJC lit up from long range, burying 8 of 10.

NJC couldn't miss, either, scoring the first 19 points of the half to take a 48-32 lead. WNCC didn't score its first points until with 11:54 to play as Diante Mitchell hit two free throws. WNCC's first field goal didn't come until the 9:42 minute mark.

WNCC shot just 32 percent for the game compared to 53 percent for NJC. The Plainsmen were 67 percent in the second half. The Cougars did convert more free throws than NJC, connecting on 13 of 23 compared to 9 of 17 for NJC.

The Cougars also were close in rebounding, getting out-rebounded just 38-35. Youssoupha Kane and Brandon Morley led the team with six boards each.

The Cougars had just two players hit double digits on Monday. Einfeldt led the way with 14 points, while Tyler Crosbie had 10.

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