POWELL, Wyo. – Daniel Bula had 28 points, but it wasn’t enough as the Western Nebraska Community College men’s basketball team dropped an 82-74 contest to Central Wyoming College to end the Coach Collins Heart of a Champion Classic Saturday afternoon in Powell, Wyoming.
The loss snapped a 3-game winning streak and moves the Cougars to 3-3 on the season. WNCC will be back in action on Tuesday when they face Western Wyoming community College in Rock Springs, Wyoming, before heading to the CSI Thanksgiving Classic in Twin Falls, Idaho, on Friday and Saturday.
The loss by the Cougars was one where Central Wyoming had a 20-2 run early in the second half that was the difference. Up until that point, the Cougars were playing well.
The first half saw WNCC jump to an 8-3 lead before the Rustlers went up by seven, 24-17. The Cougars went on a 10-0 run to lead 27-24 and later led by nine, 41-32. Central Wyoming closed out the first half with four points as WNCC led 41-36 at intermission.
WNCC started the second half with buckets by Travis Easterly, Jr., and Bula to lead 45-38. That was when the Rustlers went on that 20-2 run to lead 58-47. WNCC stopped the run and had a 9-3 run of their own to get to within 61-56. The Cougars trailed 72-63 when JJ Harris buried a trey and had a chance to get to within 72-69, but missed free throws wouldn’t fall. Central went up 74-66 when Harris hit a trey and Bula buried two trey to make it 74-71.
Central Wyoming came with a trey and a bucket to lead 79-71 with a minute to play. WNCC’s Bula buried a tray to bring the Cougars back to 79-74, but the Rustlers would get a big bucket with 35 seconds to play and then make one free throw with 20 seconds to get the win 82-74.
WNCC had four players in double figures. Bula had 28 with two treys and a perfect 14-of-14 from the charity stripe. Maurice Walker had 11 points with three treys while Harris and Easterly, Jr., had 10 points.
WNCC won the rebounding battle 31-30. Harris and Bula each had eight boards while Stephen Ovia had seven.
WNCC (3-3) 41 33 – 74
C. Wyoming 36 46 – 82
JJ Harris 10, Maurice Walker 11, Travis Easterly, Jr. 10, Stephen Ovia 6, Daniel Bula 28, Anthony Simo 5, Willie Wilson 4.
Lorence Dela Cruz 13, Vince Tedeschi 9, Jayden Warren 5, King Solomon 16, Julian Roberts 20, Salameh Dugum-Maraboto 8, Lucas Engle 2, Taye Hollins 9.