The Western Nebraska Community College men's basketball team captured their 13th win of the season in capturing a 98-76 win over Eastern Wyoming College in a Region IX South sub-region contest Saturday night at Cougar Palace.
The Cougars, in getting their fourth straight win, had plenty of scoring from different players. Vinnie Shahid led the way with 26 points, including nailing five 3-pointers. Shahid hit three straight treys in a minute time in the first half.
A big reason for the win was the energy that the Cougars showed on the night, especially in the second half where WNCC put down plenty of electrifying dunks.
Palmer, who had one of those crowd-pleasing 2-handed stuffs, said they played well.
"I think tonight we played with a lot of energy and grit," he said. "Just from the start, we came out with a lot of energy and it carried throughout the game and we got a win tonight at home."
WNCC was definitely hitting on all cylinders on the night. Besides connecting on 11 3-pointers as a team, they also had several highlight-reel dunks that brought the crowd to their feet. Palmer had a big dunk early in the second half where he slammed the ball home and hung on the rim long enough for a technical foul. Still, it was a momentum boost as WNCC led 55-37 at that time.
Palmer said the energy from the crowd was uplifting and that is something they want to continue; continue to put on a show for the spectators.
"It is always important because they come out here and support us," he said. "That is the thing we can do for them; put on a show for them."
After Palmer's dunk, a couple minutes later Ruffin put one down as well to push the lead to 61-43. EWC came back a little, slicing the lead to 77-63 and trailed 81-67. That was when WNCC went on an 8-0 run that saw Ruffin score five of the points followed by Austin Payne with an old-fashioned 3-point play to lead 89-67.
WNCC shared the ball well, dishing off 16 assists and also collecting 13 assists. Shahid tallied nine assists while getting three steals.
EWC shot well for the game, nailing 49 percent of their shots. The big key was turnovers, where the Lancers turned the ball over 17 times.
Ahmad Pratt led the Lancers with 25 points followed by 18 from Claude Aligawesa and 10 points from Walker Korell.
WNCC will be back in action Monday when they host Casper at 7:30 p.m. in the Hall of Fame game. Former WNCC athletes Bobby Jackson and Dick "Night Train" Lane will be enshrined at halftime of the men's contest. The first 750 spectators will receive rally towels and there will be autograph sessions for all the Cougar athletes, along with Bobby Jackson and Night Train Lane's three brothers that will be in attendance.
EWC 33 43 – 76
WNCC 48 50 – 98
Grant Ollsson 9, Trey Schroefet 2, Jordon Mirich 5, Will Osborn 2, Claude Aligawesa 18, Jovan Elezovic 5, Ahmad Pratt 25, Walker Korell 10.