TWIN FALLS, Idaho – Nazir Griffin only had eight points Saturday against Colorado Northwestern Community College, but his last four points were the key one as the freshman scored at the buzzer to give the Cougars a heart-pounding 62-61 win Saturday afternoon in Twin Falls, Idaho.
The Cougars played well in the first half to lead 36-26. After a slow start leading 5-4, the Cougars warmed up to move to 11-4 on back-to-back treys from Maurice Walker and Kayden Nation.
WNCC would never trail in the first half and finally got a double-digit lead at 36-26 on a trey by Danilo Glisovic with 13 seconds to play and that is where it stood going into halftime.
The second half saw Nation hit a jumper to start things for a 12-point lead and they led by 14 with 17:54 left on a Nation bucket at 40-26.
WNCC would go into a scoring slump as CNCC held the Cougars scoreless for over four minutes. At the same, the Spartans came back to slice the Cougars lead to just two points at 40-38 with 12:12 to play. WNCC finally scored as JJ Harris nailed three free throws for a 43-38 lead.
CNCC would tie the game at 51 with five minutes to play. WNCC would retake the lead with three minutes to play on two Walker free throws.
The final three minutes would then become a nail-biter as the two teams traded 3-point buckets. First, it was CNCC hitting one and then Walker nailed one before the Spartans hit one to lead 57-56 with 1:52 to play.
CNCC went up by three points with 1:22 to play on two free throws. WNCC called a timeout and Harris got a layup with a minute to play to trail by a point. WNCC retook the lead with 20 seconds to play on a Griffin bucket. The Spartans charged back and took the lead once more time at 61-60 with nine seconds to play.
CNCC called timeout to set up their defense with two seconds to play when Griffin made the winning bucket on a lay-in for the win.
The Cougars shot 40 percent from the field and were just 6-of-24 from behind the arc. Colorado Northwestern shot 36 percent from the field and was 7-of-29 from the arc.
WNCC won the rebounding total 41-40 as Stephen Ovia had nine boards followed by five each from JJ Harris and Willie Wilson.
WNCC had just two in double figures, led by Walker with 16, including four treys, and Ovia with 11.
WNCC, 4-5, will be back in action next week when they have two home contests. WNCC will host Eastern Wyoming College on Tuesday before taking on Jump Start Academy on Friday.
WNCC (4-5) 36 26 – 62
C. Northwestern (5-4) 26 35 – 71
Maurice Walker 16, Stephen Ovia 11, Elijah Burney 2, Daniel Bula 4, Kayden Nation 7, JJ Harris 9, Danilo Glisovic 3, Nazir Griffin 8, Willie Wilson 2.
Cole Johnson 13, Santiago Casarin 12, Mason Mickelsen 6, Jude Ballstaedt 2, Tyler Christensen 14, AJ Creech 5, Mitch Jeppesen 9.