It was a battle between two top 15 ranked teams and both teams played that way.
In the end, No. 14 Western Nebraska Community College’s Jervay Green and Dru Kuxhausen ignited for 66 points, but it wasn’t enough as the third-ranked College of Southern Idaho Golden Eagles had a late second-half run and then held off the Cougars 103-100 Friday evening at Cougar Palace.
It was a match-up of two offensive minded teams and it showed. The two teams combined for 24 3-pointers with WNCC nailing 15 treys to CSI’s nine. But, the Golden Eagles had a 50-44 rebound edge to earn the win.
It was the second meeting in a week for the two squads. Last weekend, the Cougars earned a 105-102 win over CSI in Riverton, Wyoming.
The earlier game saw Casper have three players with 20 or more points in earning a 107-101 win over No. 8 Salt Lake Community College. Salt Lake was led by Cameron Mack, who netted 44 points.
Action continues Saturday in the classic with Casper facing CSI at 4 p.m. followed by WNCC and Salt Lake at 6 p.m.
Friday’s action was had a little bit of offense and defense. CSI shot 49 percent from the field and were 9 of 25 from long range. WNCC shot 41 percent from the field and connected on 15 of 36 3-pointers. The Cougars nailed seven threes in the first half and eight in the second half.
Both teams had plenty of playmakers as well. WNCC’s playmaker was Green, who is headed to the University of Nebraska. Green ignited for 44 points with seven 3-pointers and six rebounds.
Kuxhausen, a Scottsbluff High graduate, finished the night with 22 points with four 3-pointers and going 8 of 9 from the free throw line.
The whole game was anyone’s for the taking. WNCC led early at 11-8 and the two squads were knotted at 14-14. That was when CSI went on a 15-5 run to lead by 10, 29-19. The lead ballooned to 14, 39-25.
That was when WNCC found the right gear and went on a 11-0 run to slice the lead to 39-36 on back-to-back buckets from Martin Roub. WNCC took a 46-45 lead on back-to-back Henry Tanksley 3-pointers, but CSI scored late to hold a 47-46 lead at intermission.
The second half saw CSI lead by nine points on several occasions, including 65-57. WNCC rebounded back as Bryce Sanchious and Jervey Green unloaded on back-to-back dunks and the Cougars trailed 65-62. The two squads would be knotted at 76-76 with 6:35 to play and that was when the Golden Eagles went on a 7-0 run to lead 83-76.
WNCC fought back, cutting the lead to 88-86 with 3:50 to play on a Green NBA 3-pointer. CSI fought back to lead 100-88 only to watch WNCC come storming back on four straight 3-pointers but it wasn’t enough as the Cougars suffered their first loss on the season.
WNCC had just six players hit the scoring column with four in double figures. After Green and Kuxhausen’s 44 and 22 points, Tanksley and Roub each had 11 points.
CSI 103, WNCC 100
CSI (2-1) 47 56 – 103
WNCC (3-1) 46 54 – 100
David Walker 28, Malik Porter 4, Coreyoun Rushin 9, Roberto Gittens 18, N’Keil Nelson 20, Thomas Miles 3, Coleman Sparling 9, Brayden Parker 4, Jaxon Edelmayer 6, Andrea Lo Biondo 2.
Dru Kuxhausen 22, Bryce Sanchious 8, Elie Cadet 4, Henry Tanksley 11, Jervay Green 44, Martin Roub 11.
Casper 107, Salt Lake 101
Casper 44 63 – 107
Salt Lake 42 59 – 101
Braxton Bertolette 8, Jalen Harris 6, Keiron Goodwin 3, Amin Adamu 20, Isaac Bonton 24, Philip Pepple 4, Wilfried Likayi 20, Zion Tordoff 10, Broc Finstuen 10, James Hampshire 2.
Asa McCord 9, Daron Henson 14, Cameron Mack 44, Aaron Burt 5, Alan Zekovic 9, Dimi Pansev 2, Josh Colon 8, Jared Holman 1, Hunter Schofield 9.