Ward leads Cougar men to big road win

CASPER, Wyo. – The Western Nebraska Community College men's basketball team had a huge win in playing from start to finish in topping Casper College 88-81 win during homecoming festivities at Casper College Saturday evening.

The Cougar men, who had a depleted bench because of illness and suited up just 10 players, received 28 points from Charles Ward and converted 24 of 36 second half free throws in picking up the 88-81 win.

WNCC coach Russ beck was pleased with the way his team played.

"It was a great win for the Cougars," Beck said. "I am so proud of how they have responded and the roster changes we have had to deal with. We will keep working hard and get better every game. It is very hard to go into a place like Casper and win. We were without Cody Johnson and Youssoupha Kane because of sickness but we were a family tonight.

"We played through mistakes. We played through the refs fouling out five of our 10 players and we just simply found a way to win. All 10 of our Cougars stepped in and did their job. We need to keep working hard on our defense and keep getting better every day."

The men's win was historic especially after Casper defeated the Cougar men 86-74 back in November. WNCC took the lead midway through the first half and never trailed again. Casper held a 15-13 lead before Ward and Rich Williams drained back-to-back 3-pointers for a 19-15 lead. WNCC pushed the first half lead to as much as 13 points, 37-24 lead on a Trey Moore 3-pointer. WNCC led 41-31 at halftime.

The men opened up the second half with eight straight points to lead 49-31. Casper came clawing back, cutting the lead to 62-58. WNCC didn't fade as they responded with a 7-0 run to go up 69-58. WNCC continued sizzling as Williams buried another 3-pointer to put the Cougars up 77-64 with four minutes to play.

Casper did cut the lead to five late at 82-77, but WNCC nailed clutch free throws down the stretch for the win.

Free throw shooting definitely played a part. WNCC was just 1 of 2 from the line in the first half and then attempted 36 second half free throws, canning 24. WNCC also shot 51 percent from the field while Casper shot around 31 percent.

Casper also didn't connect on their free throws as they were 3 of 8 in the first half and 20 of 39 for the game.

Another big key for the Cougars was WNCC's bench outscored Casper 37-14.

WNCC had four players in double figures, led by Ward with 28 points. Tahir Little pitched I 14 points with eight assists, while Williams had 13 points and four 3-pointers. Zach Clemens had had a good day, finishing with 10 points and six rebounds.

Also for the Cougars, Chad Calcaterra had five points and nine rebounds.

The Cougar men will return to action Tuesday when they travel to Sterling, Colo., to face Northeastern Junior College in a South Sub-Region contest.



WNCC 41 47 – 88

Casper 31 50 – 81

WNCC

Tahir Little 14, Quante Cooley 4, Charles Ward 28, Chad Calcaterra 5, Zach Clemens 10, Rich Williams 13, Doudou Gueye 2, Sebastian Suarez 5, Trey Moore 7.

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