Cougar men pick-up 16th win

The Western Nebraska Community College men's basketball team put five players in double figures and then held off a furious Eastern Wyoming College rally to post a 101-90 south subregion win Tuesday evening in front of an energetic atmosphere.

"We were able to play a lot of guys in the game and for the most part we did a pretty good job in substituting and not dropping off," WNCC coach Russ Beck said. "I didn't like how we finished the game in taking care of the ball. We turned the ball over umpteen times in a short time span. But it was an exciting game. It was a fun game to play against EWC and Casey Jones does a good job with his guys. Now we are just going to focus on Lamar on Friday."

EWC coach Casey Jones said he liked how his team fought and the energy level his team had.

"We only played that hard only three or four times all year and it is really frustrating because this is a really good group of kids," Jones said. "I told them if we had this energy effort all year we would be in a lot better position right know. This is just a home game where one team is kind of hot. They got up on us a little bit."

The win snapped a 3-game losing skid for the Cougars and pushed them to 16-12 overall. Jones said for Eastern Wyoming, the loss tonight takes them out of the running for post-season play.

"The way it sits, the only way the upcoming subregion games would be big if we won tonight," Jones said. "Now we can't make the tournament whatever we do. I just told them that they are just games now. We need to go home and we have a lot of pride as a program and we are going to and play hard. We don't have to worry about anything and just play. Unfortunately, it might be a lot easier situation in just playing and let our home fans enjoy our effort and our intensity."

The Cougars trailed just once in the contest at 5-4. After that time, they would move out to a 44-32 halftime lead. That halftime lead was highlighted from a strong final five minutes of the half, where they outscored the Lancers 14-8.

"How you start and finish halves is the key to getting a win," Beck said. "That is one thing we didn't do against North Platte is finish against North Platte in the last five minutes and that is when North Platte went on a 14-4 run and we definitely turned it around tonight and a good end of the five minutes today and it was nice to go into halftime with a little bit of a lead."

The second half saw the Cougars ignite on offense, running to a 60-39 lead behind 3-pointers by Joel Einfeldt and Tyler Crosbie. WNCC would lead by as much as 23 points, 75-52, early in the second half.

The Cougars intensity kept going as they held a 20-point lead, 89-69 with just under four minutes to play. That was when the Lancers picked up the steam and sliced the lead to single digits at 95-88 on Kalil Potts three free throws with a minute to play. During that same stretch, the Lancers outscored the Cougars 13-0.

WNCC, however, hit six free throws in the final minute to get their 16th win of the season.

The Cougars outrebounded the Lancers 62-36, where Julio Guity led the way with 11 boards followed by nine from Youssoupha Kane.

WNCC shot 45 percent from the field and connected on 19 of 23 free throws, compared to 33 percent for the Lancers and 28 of 35 free throw shooting. The Lancers also buried 10 3-pointers, four of which came from Jason McClellan.

WNCC was led in scoring by Einfeldt with 19 points followed by Preston Christensen with 16, Crosbie and Kane with 12 points and Derrick Bowers with 10.

EWC had four in double figures. Potts led all scorers with 25 points followed closely behind by Alex Padgett's 22 points. McClellan chipped in 15 points, while Mark Hall had 15.

WNCC will be back in action Friday when they host Lamar Community College in their final home contest of the season. The Cougars will then travel to face Northeastern Junior College on Saturday in Sterling, Colo.

The Lancers have three games left, when they host Northeastern Junior College on Thursday, before hosting Lamar on Saturday. The Lancers will wrap up the season on Monday when they host Casper College.



EWC (10-16) 32 58 – 90

WNCC (16-12) 44 57 – 101

EWC

Jason McClellan 15, Mark Hall 13, Kalil Potts 25, Jonathan Doss 4, Alex Padgett 22, Jamon Jackson-Wilson 4, Tyler Crosbie 6, Arthur Santanna 1.

WNCC

Tyler Crosbie 12, Preston Christensen 16, Youssoupha Kane 12, Diante Mitchell 7, DouDou Gueye 8, Joel Einfeldt 19, Jalen Griffiths 2, Derrick Bowers 10, Brandon Morley 9, Julio Guity 6.

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