The Western Nebraska Community College and Eastern Wyoming College men’s basketball teams combined for 240 points and 35 3-pointers Saturday night in a key South sub-region conference contest that saw the Cougars top the Lancers 129-111.
It was a contest that neither team was playing defense. The Cougars had three players register 20 or more points in the contest, while EWC had five players in double figures.
Vinny Shahid led all scorers with 32 points, including six 3-pointers and going 12 of 15 from the charity stripe. Djordje Dimitrejevic tallied 27 points, including burying seven 3-pointers all in the first half. Dimitrejevic had 23 points in the first half.
Marlon Sierra also tallied 26 points in the win, while knocking home three treys. Sierra only had eight points at halftime.
Also finishing with double figure scoring for the Cougars was Jervay Green with 13 points, and 11 points each from Martin Roub and Marko Rajanovic.
The Lancers high scoring offense was paced by Brandon Meadows with 32 points, including two treys and 9-of-12 from the free throw line. The Lancers also got double digit scoring from Nick Holmes with 17, Alek Cosic with 15, Walter Korell with 14, and Rhythm Ajanku with 13.
Shahid, the North Dakota State basketball recruit, said his team played well offensively, but they need to focus more on playing solid defense.
“I thought we played well on the offensive end, but I don’t think we played too well on the defensive end,” the sophomore said. “We gave up too many points defensively, we weren’t getting back in transition. The defense just wasn’t there today, but the offense did pretty well.”
WNCC’s offense was red hot, especially in the first half where they buried 13 3-pointers while shooting 65 percent from beyond the arc. The second half, the Cougars sank nine treys and shot 69 percent from the long range.
EWC was just as sizzling from the offensive end. The Lancers shot 50 percent from the field in the first half and 61 percent for the game. EWC was 13 of 23 from beyond the arc, led by four treys from Nick Holmes.
The first half was where the Lancers fell behind a hot-shooting Cougar team. WNCC led early 11-5 and then pushed the lead to 26-15 as the two squads combined for nine straight 3-point field goals. WNCC pushed the lead to 20 points, 39-19 and led 58-43 at halftime.
The second half was even more offensive. The two squads combined for 139 points in the second half with the Cougars outscoring the Lancers 71-68. WNCC led in the second half by 31, 95-64 at one time before the Lancers picked up the offense in cutting the lead to under 20 points.
As much offense the two squads had, it is the defensive side of the ball that has both sides worried. Shahid said defense is something they need to start figuring out.
“This team can really score and anyone can score,” Shahid said. “We really don’t worry about who scores. But the big area we have to worry about is breaking down and holding teams to under a certain amount of points and that comes in practice. It is huge to start playing defense because all the teams in the south can score like we can. It is huge for us to pick up our defense and stop other teams.”
WNCC, 10-2, will wrap up the first semester with two road games next weekend when they travel to Western Wyoming Community College on Friday and Central Wyoming College on Saturday.
The Lancers will have three games next week. EWC will travel to Casper on Tuesday before taking on Central Wyoming and Western Wyoming over the weekend.
EWC (1-9) 43 68 – 111
WNCC (10-2) 58 71 – 129
Daniel Wright 5, Rhythm Ajanku 13, Nick Holmes 17, Trey Schroefel 2, Walker Korell 14, Brandon Meadows 29, Kolton wall 7, Jonathan Morrobel 7, Alek Cosic 15, Bruno Oliveira 2.
Trent Harris 4, Bryce Sanchious 5, Vinny Shahid 32, Marlon Sierra 26, Marko Rajanovic 11, Jervay Green 13, Djodje Dimitjevic 27, Martin Roub 11.