TRINIDAD, Colo. – The Western Nebraska Community College men's basketball team scored just 31 second-half points and couldn't stop a Trinidad State Junior College team that buried 18 3-pointers in a 96-74 South sub-region loss Saturday afternoon.
WNCC drops to 22-7 on the season and 9-2 in South sub-region play. The Cougars and North Platte are tied for first in the sub-region, setting up a crucial battle on Tuesday when North Platte comes to WNCC for a 7:30 p.m. contest with the winner earning the No. 1 seed from the South and a first-round bye in the regional tournament while the loser will get the second seed and play Saturday in the first round of the regional tournament at home.
Saturday's contest saw Trinidad State jump out to a 16-4 lead before WNCC made a comeback, outscoring the Trojans 24-9 to take a 30-25 lead. From there it was a back-and-forth contest with plenty of 3-pointers. The came was tied at 33 and 36 before Trinidad took a 42-36 lead. WNCC sliced the lead to one, 42-41 but the Trojans took a 50-43 lead into halftime.
The second half was close at the beginning as WNCC trailed 55-49 after back-to-back buckets by Martin Roub. The Cougars trailed 60-55 on a 3-pointer but the Trojans would take off on an 18-2 run to lead 78-57 and cruised to the 96-74 win.
WNCC shot 43 percent from the field but were just 12 of 39 from beyond the arc. WNCC was just 2 of 6 from the free throw line.
The Cougars had three players in double figures, led by Roub with 28 points and seven rebounds. Roub buried two treys.
Trinidad had six players in double figures, led by Goy Wang with 26 points and five 3-pointers.
Tuesday's home regular season game will be sophomore recognition for the six sophomores. It could also be the final time the Cougars play at home. The Region IX tournament will be held in Sheridan, Wyoming, after Sheridan won the coin flip over Casper. Casper defeated Sheridan 97-78 Saturday afternoon.
WNCC (22-7) 43 31 – 76
Trinidad State 50 46 – 96
Ian Kelly 4, Goy Wang 26, Bilal Shabazz 10, Aleck Sharma 14, Issac Essein 15, David Muenkat 10, Nieyeme Smyer-Williams 10, TJ Lucero 14, Sidney Okeke 6, Devin Smith 16.