Teddy Allen finished with a double-double of 43 points and 10 rebounds as the Western Nebraska Community College men’s basketball team put together a solid second half in rolling to a 90-83 win over Western Wyoming Community College Saturday afternoon at Cougar Palace.
Allen had a big portion of the points in the win as the sophomore transfer ignited for seven 3-pointers in 33 minutes on the court.
But, Allen wasn’t the only one that was stepping up on the court in lifting the Cougars to a win over a Western Wyoming team that topped the Cougars back on Nov. 1, 96-75. Saturday was a different story against a Mustang squad that shot 49 percent in the first half. The Mustangs also scored 10 of their 13 3-pointers in the first half as Western Wyoming held a 49-41 lead.
WNCC coach Cory Fehringer said they made adjustments and played good defense in the second half.
“We just have to keep getting better. We are a long ways from a finished product,” he said. “I appreciate the energy and effort they gave me better than the last time in the Palace [Tuesday night] and we just keep looking at the windshield in the rearview. We have to keep coming back to work and cleaning up small things.”
What the Cougars learned from this game will definitely need plenty of it come Tuesday night when No. 9 Casper College comes to Cougar Palace for a 7:30 p.m. contest. The Thunderbirds 5-1 this season after splitting a pair of games at Williston, North Dakota, falling to Williston State 86-73 before topping Minnesota Prep Academy 96-81.
Fehringer said his team needs to be prepared and would love to see a packed Palace for a Region IX battle between two Region IX elites.
“It will be a slugfest. They are the single biggest athletic team we have seen in the country so far,” he said. “They are coming in off a loss as well against Williston State so they will have some extra incentive to come in and play well against us. We expect the Palace to be packed with the No. 9 team in the country in the house. We are going to need everybody as far as our fans to get in here and represent Western Nebraska.”
WNCC will need how they played in the second half if they want to pick up the win on Tuesday. The first half was not the way the Cougars wanted to play half of the time. The first half was a back and forth contest as both teams had big leads and watched the other team come back. Western Wyoming managed to hold a 49-41 lead at halftime. The second half saw the Mustangs lead 57-49 before the Cougars charged things up a notch.
“It is clear as day. In the first half they were 51 percent from the field and in the second half they were 31 percent,” Fehringer said. “Defensively we increased pressure, rotated, and played off each other better. We still really struggled on the glass. We played well against Salt Lake City on the glass. We have to learn that it about getting consistent. “
With Western Wyoming leading 57-49, the Cougars went on a 10-0 run to grab their first lead since with under 10 minutes to play in the first half. The 10-0 run was highlighted by back-to-back treys from Allen and then back-to-back inside shots by James Felton for the 59-57 lead.
The Mustangs came back to hold a 64-62 lead only to watch the Cougars take a 68-64 lead on buckets by Sami Harun and Kalen Williams. The Cougars pushed the lead to 74-66 before finally going up by double digits at 82-71 on a Allen trey. The dagger that more or less slammed the door was a Allen 3-point bucket that Allen buried from the corner with time running out on the shot clock to give the Cougars a 85-73 lead.
WNCC shot 52 percent in the first half and was even hotter in the second half, shooting 60 percent. The other thing that improved in halves was free throw shooting. WNCC was just 5 of 13 in the first half and a lot better in the second half at 9 of 14.
Allen led all scorers with 43 points. Two other Cougars had double digits as Felton finished with 14 points while Jarred Rosser had 10 points.
Jordan Smith finished the game with seven points, but the freshman point guard dished out 12 assists.
Western Wyo. 49 34 – 83
WNCC (4-3) 41 49 – 90
Jarred Rosser 10, Sami Harun 4, Jordan Smith 7, Kalen Williams 4, James Felton 14, Kenny Strawbridge 2, Elie Cadet 6, Teddy Allen 43.
Sindou Cisse 14, Jalen Blaize 21, Trey Marble 8, Dayne Prim 14, Chase Stoeger 2, LaChaun Duhart 8, Tray Pierce 4, Justin Boley 2, Trevor Trost 10.