Cougar men suffer home loss to McCook

The McCook Community College men's basketball team went on a late 20-4 run to upend Western Nebraska Community College 69-63 in south sub-region play on Friday at Cougar Palace.

The Cougars were playing well early on, holding a 22-14 lead in the first half and then had a 43-26 lead in the second half on a Charles Ward bucket and free throw. The Cougars even went up 48-43 on a Zach Clemens free throw and a Cody Johnson 3-pointer.

After that, though, the Indians turned up the heat defensively, limiting the Cougars to practically one shot. Also, what hindered the Cougars was missing easy bunnies underneath to untimely turnovers.

The Cougars shot just 39 percent from the field in the second half compared to 44 percent for the Indians. The first half was turned around as the Cougars shot 49 percent and the Indians 33 percent.

WNCC coach Russ Beck said it was a matter his team didn't execute down the stretch.

"We got out hustled tonight. Give McCook credit, they did what they needed to do," he said. "They scored 17 points off of 16 turnovers and they crashed the boards. We didn't box out giving them too many second chance opportunities. They wanted this game more than we did, which shocks me."

A big reason for the Cougars' torrid first half start was the play of Ward, who scored the first 13 points of the game on three 3-pointers. Ward, the sophomore from Phoenix, missed just one shot in the first five minutes of the game. WNCC held a 13-7 lead early on.

After that early lead, the other players started heating up as Youssoupha Kane hammered home a dunk and then Rich Williams drained a big 3-pointer to put WNCC up 22-12. The Indians fought back to tie the game at 30-30 on a bucket by Tony Dobbinson before Isaiah Castellaw gave the Cougars the halftime lead at 32-30 on a last second shot.

The second half was a tale of two 10-minute spurts. The first 10 minutes, the Cougars looked sharp and the last 10 minutes, they couldn't buy a bucket as McCook led 68-56 with 31 seconds to play. WNCC made a fast and furious comeback as Kane hit a bucket, Trey Moore made two free throws and Williams hit a 3-pointer, but that was as close as the Cougars got before time ran out.

WNCC was led in scoring by Ward with 24 points, while Kane had had a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds. Johnson also finished with 11 points.

WNCC will next be in action next weekend when they host Trinidad State and Otero.

McCook 30 39 – 69

WNCC 32 32 – 64


Tony Dobbinson 22, Tony Lester 5, Antownn Boyd 11, Anthony Eastern 6, Cyrell Hodges 8, Dominique McKinzie 14, Ademe Smart 3.


Zach Clemens 3, Rich Williams 8, Trey Moore 2, Isaiah Castellaw 2, Charles Ward 24, Cody Johnson 11, Youssoupha Kane 10, Chad Calcaterra 4.

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