Posted 11 months ago
By John Axtell
The Eastern Wyoming College men’s basketball team outscored Western Nebraska Community College 26-9 over the last eight minutes of the game in picking up a crucial South Sub-Region road victory 82-73 Tuesday night at Cougar Palace.
The Lancers, in posting the win, bounced back from Saturday’s 3-point loss to Trinidad State in dramatic fashion.
“We talked about the game and a lot of the kids didn’t really know, until they got over here, what the atmosphere is like, and they realize, ‘we are in a rivalry game,” EWC coach Casey Jones said. “The way we took it on the business end of things is we just dropped a game that we shouldn’t have lost against Trinidad State at home, so we said we need to get a game back on the road and get the next one, which was Western Nebraska.”
Jones told his team to be ready in the Highway 26 rivalry game and his team rose to the challenge.
“I told them separately that you will be challenged, have fun, and enjoy the heck out of the rivalry because not a lot of schools have this kind of rivalry in junior college. I said enjoy it, but we need the road win.”
Jones said that his team had to battle from behind almost the whole game.
“I felt like we played from behind the whole game,” he said. “Then we got a little bit of a lead and then we had to fight to stay in the game. I am just super proud because of all the emotion and that we responded by gutting it out and getting the win.”
The Lancers, who trailed much of the game, kept fighting hard in securing the win. EWC put four player players in double figures, led by 20 points from Jordan Doss, 18 points from Jarron Jackson-Wilson, 14 points from Ryan Wilson, and 10 points from Slade Spoonhunter.
The Cougars, who were on the brink of capturing their second win, had three players in double figures. Quante Cooley had a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds, while Charles Ward finished with 16 points and Sebastian Suarez had 15 points.
A big key in the win for the Lancers was rebounding, where they out-rebounded WNCC 51-39. The other thing that helped the Lancers to the win was a tight defense that forced a number of Cougar turnovers, especially during crucial times down the stretch.
EWC led early 14-13 before WNCC made a run to go up by nine points 25-16 on a Rich Williams 3-pointer. WNCC kept playing well in the first half, leading 31-22 before the Lancers made a comeback on back-to-back 3-pointers by Doss and Spoonhunter to trail 35-34 at halftime.
The second half saw WNCC take a 56-49 lead after Ward got a tip in off a missed free throw. EWC came back to tie the game at 56 on a bucket by Andre Norris at 56-56. The Cougars fought back to con on an 8-0 run that was highlighted by a 3-pointer by Trey Moore for a 64-56 lead.
The Lancers fought back to take their first lead since early in the first half at 68-66 on a 3-pointer by Ryan Wilson with 4:32 to play, WNCC cane back to tie the game at 70-70 on a Suarez 3-pointer, but the Lancers went on a 7-0 run that was highlighted by five points from Jackson-Wilson, including a dunk to seal the win.
WNCC will be back in action Saturday when they travel to Casper College, while the Lancers host Northwest Kansas Technical College on Friday.