Cougar men fall to No. 10 in tough finale

STERLING, Colo. -- The Western Nebraska Community College men's basketball team fell behind early and then made a run on the No. 10 Northeastern Junior College Plainsmen before falling 91-86 in the final regular season for the Cougars.

The Cougars dropped to 17-13 overall and will now enter the Region IX tournament which begins Saturday in Sterling, Colo.

WNCC was down early in the contest, falling behind 51-37 at halftime. After halftime, the Cougars picked up the offense, outscoring the No. team in the nation 49-40. WNCC even cut the lead to five points on several occasions, but couldn't get closer.

The difference in the contest was shooting. WNCC shot 40 percent in the first half compared to NJC's 54 percent. The Cougars turned that around in the second half, shooting 58 percent, including connecting on four 3-pointers and going 17 of 19 from the charity stripe. WNCC was 28 of 34 total from the stripe.

WNCC had three players in double figures, led by Brandon Morley with 22 points. The big man also pulled down six rebounds. Also pulling in double-figure scoring was Preston Christensen wiht 17 points and 8 of 9 shooting from the free throw line.

Tyler Crosbie also connected for 16 points, including draining three 3-pointers.

The Cougars finished the sub-region with a record which should make them the No. 5 seed for the regional tournament behind NJC, North Platte, Laramie County, and McCook.

Full brackets and times for the regional tournament will be available on Monday.

WNCC 37 49 -- 86

NE Colorado 51 40 -- 91

Tyler Crosbie 16, Preston Crhistensen 17, Youssoupha Kane 9, Diante Mitchell 6, DouDou Gueye 2, Joel Einfeldt 8, Derrick Bowers 3, Brandon Morley 22, Julio Guity 3.

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