The Western Nebraska Community College men’s basketball team shot 61 percent and put five players in double figures in rolling to a 97-79 win over Rexburg United Saturday afternoon at Cougar Palace.
The Cougars had a balanced offensive output, burying eight treys while dishing out 24 assists in evening their record at 5-5 with the win.
Jarred Rosser, who led the team with 20 points, said it was a good win.
“I thought we played pretty hard today,” the freshman from Newman, Georgia, said. “It was a good game. [Rexburg] United came out and played hard. We played hard and got a good win. We came back from two losses to get the win. We played a pretty decent game as a whole as a team.”
A big key in the contest was balanced scoring with plenty of weapons on offense. After Rosser’s 20 points, Elie Cadet and Kalen Williams finished with 17 points followed by Kenny Strawbridge with 14, and Mohamed Youssef with 13. Scottsbluff’s Conner McCracken came a point from double digits, finishing with nine points on three 3-pointers.
“We could have picked up on the defense intensity more,” Rosser said. “We got what we wanted on offense and ran the offensive plays. We executed. Coach coached us. We won.”
The Cougars opened up the game 8-0 only to watch Rexburg United come back to tie the game at 14-14 on a Preston Hummer trey. Rexburg and WNCC were trading buckets and the Rexburg United Vikings trailed just 22-21 before the Cougars opened up the offense, going on a 21-5 run to lead 43-26 on back-to-back 3-pointers from McCracken and Youssaf, and back-to-back 3-pointers from Strawbridge. WNCC led 54-38 at halftime.
The second half was an evenly played 20 minutes. WNCC outscored Rexburg 43-41. Rexburg the lead to 14 points on several occasions, but the Cougars defense wouldn’t allow the Vikings to drift any closer. WNCC led 65-51 and that was the closest the Vikings could get as WNCC went on a 14-6 run to open up a 79-57 lead behind two Youssef treys.
WNCC never looked back after that in getting the win.
WNCC shot 61 percent from the field and were 44 percent from beyond the arc (8 of 18). WNCC also went 11 of 17 from the charity stripe.
Rexburg shot 43 percent from the field and 43 percent from beyond the arc (13 of 30).
WNCC controlled the boards, out-rebounding the Vikings 39-29. Strawbridge led on the boards with 10 rebounds followed by Williams with nine.
Jordan Smith continued his precision passing, dishing out 10 assists. Williams also had five assists.
WNCC will be on the road on Tuesday when they travel across the border to face Eastern Wyoming College on Tuesday.
WNCC will then host the Thanksgiving Classic on Friday and Saturday. Friday’s Thanksgiving Classic schedule has Trinidad State Junior College taking on Minnesota Prep at 5:30 p.m. followed by the Cougars facing Rainy River Community College at 7:30 p.m. Saturday’s action begins at noon with Trinidad State facing Rainy River and then the Cougars facing Minnesota Prep.
Rosser said they have to keep working hard for next week’s contests.
“Next week we have three more games,” he said. “We just have to stay healthy and get ready to play and go 3-0 next week.”
NJC 43 41 – 84
Williston 29 51 – 80
Quincey Jewett 4, Dalton Knecht 17, Cyler Johnson 9, Moz Doria 6, Ryan Bagley 9, Mohamed Diallo 17, Andrew Ferrin 7, Jared Adams 6, Rashon Barron 6, Sami Logoro 3.
Isaiah Williams 3, Eden Holt 16, Paul Macsteves 2, Jordan Kellier 20, Kobey Lam 23, Shae Linton-Brown 11, Nathaniel Powell 3, Jonathan Komagum 2.
Rexburg 38 41 – 79
WNCC (5-5) 54 43 – 97
Jarred Rosser 20, Conner McCracken 9, Sami Harun 4, Jordan Smith 3, Kalen Williams 17, Kenny Strawbridge 14, Elie Cadet 17, Mohamed Youssef 13.
Randall Robinson 5, Marcus Richards 3, Enow Asemeyong 7, Dan Heintz 10, Preston Hummer 21, Trey Thatcher 15, Cody Spjute 9.