The Western Nebraska Community College men’s basketball team fought hard, but couldn’t get the win against Casper College, falling 69-58 Wednesday night in Casper, Wyoming.
The Thunderbirds, in posting the win, received 29 points from Josh McSwiggan for their ninth win of the season.
Michael Connor, Jr., was the only Cougar in double figures, pouring in 18 points, dropping the Cougars to 4-4 on the season.
The Cougars gave up too many runs at different times on the night. In the opening half, Casper led 10-1 before WNCC came back to slice the deficit to 19-18 and had a chance to take their first lead of the night. A turnover resulted in a Casper bucket and the Thunderbirds outscored the Cougars 12-3 in the final five minutes of the opening half for a 31-21 halftime lead.
The second half was evenly played with Casper outscoring WNCC 39-38. The Cougars shot 43 percent in the second half compared to 29 percent in the opening 20 minutes, while Casper hit for 48 percent.
The difference in the second half was runs. WNCC had a 9-point run early in the second half to cut a 45-29 deficit to single digits at 45-38. WNCC sliced the lead even further, coming within six points with six minutes to play.
Casper came right back to bury consecutive 3-point shots and outscored WNCC 9-0 for a 61-46 lead.
Casper out-shot WNCC 43 percent to 37 percent. The Thunderbirds buried eight treys to four for the Cougars.
The Thunderbirds won the rebound battle 35-29. Marlon Sierra and Jeremy Ruffin had five rebounds for the Cougars.
WNCC won the steal battle, recording 11 steals to Casper’s seven. Vinnie Shahid finished with seven steals to go with his eight points.
WNCC, 4-4, will be back in action Saturday afternoon when they travel to Cheyenne, Wyoming, to battle Laramie County Community College in the Cougar’s first Region IX South Conference contest. Tip-off is set for 4 p.m.
WNCC (4-4) 21 37 – 58
Casper (9-3) 31 39 – 69
Josh McSwiggan 29, Vince Franklin 8, Colin Russel 4, Deante Strickland 15, Don Jarrett 3, Octavion Corley 4, Jack Pagenkopf 2, Isaiah Sims 2, Antun Mericevic 2.
Daylon Harris 7, Jeremy Ruffin 3, Vinnie Shahid 8, Michael Connor, Jr., 18, Djordje Dimitrijevic 5, Trent Harris 2, RJ Palmer 3, Jalan Brown 6, Marlon Sierra 6.