TORRINGTON – The Eastern Wyoming College Lancer bid for an upset over the No. 14-ranked Western Nebraska Community College Cougars came up short in the closing seconds of the 73-68 loss Friday evening at the Verl Petsch Jr. Activities Center.
It was a battle of contrasting styles between the two teams.
The Lancers want to slow the pace of the game down and play defense, while the Cougars get up and down the court.
As a result, EWC held WNCC to the Cougars to a season-low 73 points.
“Basketball has changed,” EWC coach Tim Moser said. “Everyone wants to run up and down the court and shoot 3s. They are one of those teams. I want to play the old-school basketball by taking our time and get good shots.”
It nearly worked in the Lancers’ favor.
“It’s something we have to do,” Moser said. “We have to take good shots as we learn to play defense together. We need to limit their possessions, and I thought it frustrated them. We have to do that to stay in games like this.”
Western Nebraska strung together a 5-0 spurt early in the moments of the contest to grab an early 11-6 lead.
It was a lead which WNCC held for much of the contest.
The Cougar lead never reached anything greater than 12 in the first half.
In the first minute of the second half, freshman forward David Hook drew the Lancers back with four at 36-32.
With seven and a half minutes left in the game, sophomore guard Brandon Meadows converted on an old-fashioned 3-point play to give the Lancers their first lead of the game at 59-57.
Freshman guard Jonatan Arvidsson answered with a score of his own, but the Cougars countered with a 10-2 run.
With a minute left, the Lancers trailed 71-68, but a steal and a dunk by WNCC ended any hopes of an upset by EWC in the closing seconds.
“People don’t realize we have 15 really new kids. We are turning the ball over and making some freshmen mistakes, but we are growing as a group. Every day we are taking steps,” Moser said. “I love this group of guys. They are still trying to figure each other out.”
However, the action wasn’t finished after the final horn sounded.
As the teams were shaking hands after the game, tempers flared, leading to a pushing and shoving match between the teams at midcourt.
“I’ll give Western some credit, but I don’t think it was very classy whatever happened there at the end,” Moser said. “We have to keep our composure no matter what is said.”
EWC had four players in double-figures, led by Meadows who led the way with 19 points. Arvidsson had 15, while Hook tallied 13 and freshman Jordan Potts 11.
“The tenacity and energy of a game like this, playing a team with that talent, we showed we can compete with everybody in the league,” Moser said. “We just have to keep growing and make sure that at the end of the season we are a team to be reckoned with.”
The men’s team also heads to Nebraska this weekend. On Friday, they travel to McCook for a 6:30 p.m. tip, while on Saturday, the Lady Lancers head to North Platte for a 3 p.m. contest.
WNCC 36 37 – 73
EWC 30 38 – 68
Western Nebraska: Dru Kuxhausen 22, LeBeck Warren 2, Bryce Sanchious 5, Elie Cadet 6, Henry Tanksley 8, Jervay Green 24, Martin Roub 6
EWC: Brandon Meadows 19, Earl Baker 2, Jonatan Arvidsson 15, Sam Tiley 2, Jordan Potts 11, Jacob Pfaffinger 3, David Hook 13, Jeremi Jiba 3