The Northeastern Junior College men’s basketball team used a late 12-0 run to pull away for a 97-77 win over Western Nebraska Community College in Region IX South Sub-region play Thursday night at Cougar Palace.
The loss drops the Cougars to 16-9 and 6-3 in south sub-region action. NJC moved to 20-6 but more importantly to 10-0 with two conference games left. The Plainsmen, with the win Thursday night, earned the right to host the Region IX tournament in March.
WNCC has three regular season games left, all on the road, and the sub-region games are important in a chance to host a first-round regional tournament game. WNCC hits the road Friday to face Lamar Community College and they then will finish the regular season next week with contests at Otero Junior College and Trinidad State Junior College.
The battle in the game was intense as both teams wanted the win. WNCC led early at 8-7 on a Kalen Williams 3-pointer. NJC came right back to grab a 10-point lead at 29-19 lead. NJC pushed the lead to 48-36 late, but the Cougars stormed back on two free throws by Teddy Allen and then Allen took a 3-pointer that was headed into the net but an NJC was called for goaltending. NJC led 49-41 at halftime.
The first 10 minutes of the second half was insane. NJC snuck out in front 61-50 on a 3-pointer, but WNCC came storming back, cutting the led to three points on a Jarred Rosser 3-pointer at 64-61.
NJC ran off eight straight and went on a 20-7 run to grab an 84-65 lead. WNCC stopped the run with 6:44 to play but it was too late for the Cougars to come back.
The difference in the game was shooting. WNCC was 36 percent from the field and the Cougars were just 7 of 19 from beyond the arc. NJC, on the other hand, shot 49 percent for the game and buried 12 of 28 from the 3-point line.
NJC won the rebound total 54-44. Kalen Williams led the team on the glass with seven.
WNCC had four in double figures. Allen led the way with 28 points, including three treys. Allen also had three assists in the contest.
Kenny Strawbridge tallied 22 points with six rebounds, Rosser and Williams each had 10 points.
NJC was led by Ryan Bagley with a double-double of 23 points and 11 rebounds. He also finished with nine assists. Dalton Knecht also tallied 18 points with nine rebounds. Andrew Ferrin finished with 19 points and seven boards, while Cyler Johnson had 13 points and Mohamed Diallo had 14.
NJC 49 48 – 97
WNCC 41 36 – 77
Jarred Rosser 10, Tayler Johnson 3, Jordan Smith 4, Kalen Williams 10, Kenny Strawbridge 22, Teddy Allen 29.
Quincey Jewett 2, Dalton Knecht 18, Cyler Johnson 13, Moz Doria 4, Ryan Bagley 23, Mohamed Diallo 14, Andrew Ferrin 19, Rashon Barron 6.