No. 1 South Plains whips Cougars

LEVELLAND, Texas - The Western Nebraska Community College men's basketball team shot just 27 percent from the field Tuesday night as the Cougars fell to No. 1-ranked South Plains College 102-49.

The Cougars, who came into the game averaging 101 points a contest, were ice cold from the field, connecting on just 4 of 23 from 3-point range and just 27 percent from the field overall.

"We are a little banged up with Sebastian (Suarez] out eight weeks and Tahir [Little] playing at 50 percent with a second degree shoulder separation," WNCC coach Russ Beck said. "With those two on the mend, it leaves us with a bunch of new guys that need to get on the same page by looking at what they think that they can do and sacrificing it for what the team needs them to do."

The Cougars trailed just 25-12 early and had plenty of chances to close the gap, but the Texans put on a late first-half run to increase their advantage to 48-24 at halftime.

The Cougars kept battling hard in the second half, but South Plains, which has five sophomores on its squad, stayed hot offensively. South Plains hit 12 3-pointers for the game, including five in the second half. South Plains outscored the Cougars 56-25 in the second half.

Three Cougars finished with eight points each. Willie Mangum, Charles Ward, and Cody Johnson each had eight points. Johnson led the team in rebounding with six boards.

Rich Williams, a Scottsbluff High School graduate, chipped in six points on two 3-pointers.

South Plains had four players score in double figures. Kendahl Amerson finished with 22 points, including connecting on six 3-pointers. Other Texans in double digits included Yanick Moreira with 19 points, Michael Karena with 12, and Roderick Lawrence with 11.

The Texans out-rebounded the Cougars 52-35. South Plains also outscored the Cougars from the bench, 43-20, and converted 12 second-chance points to WNCC's two.

WNCC (1-2) will next be in action this weekend when it travels to Casper, Wyo., for the Region 18/9 challenge. WNCC will face College of Southern Idaho and Salt Lake Community College.

"We have a lot of work to do, and it starts with communication and having a passion for defense. We don't have that yet," Beck said. "And on the offensive side, we need to trust each other and the system."

WNCC (1-2) 24 25 – 49
South Plains (3-0) 46 56 – 102
Tahir Little 4, Zach Clemens 3, Quante Cooley 4, Rich Williams 6, Willie Mangum 8, Trey Moore 5, Doudou Gueye 2, Charles Ward 8, Cody Johnson 8, Youssoupha Kane 1.
Terrence Durham 2, Tanick Moreira 19, Jamaal Samuel 2, Darrel Lucky 4, Devonte Smith 6, Malik Nichols 1, Kendahl Amerson 22, Forrest Robinson 9, Roderick Larence 11, Brandon Neel 5, Ryan Martin 7, Michael Karena 12, Anthony Walker 2.

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