TWIN FALLS, Idaho – The College of Southern Idaho men’s basketball team put together a big second-half run to hold on to a 81-65 win over the Western Nebraska Community College men’s basketball team on Saturday in the Hilex Poly/Physician’s Immediate Care Tournament.
WNCC head coach Billy Engel said the difference in the game was Southern Idaho’s shooting.
“Defensively, when they shoot 61 percent, it really makes it tough,” he said. “They shot 50 percent in the first half and 75 percent in the second half and it makes it tough. Defensively, we have to get better but, man, credit to a really talented team. Their guards are really talented. Their bigs are really talented. I am really proud of our guys to really value the basketball and that has been an Achilles heal for us in not being able to take care of the ball. The other one is giving up offensive rebounds. That killed us in our first five games, but to give up four offensive rebounds to CSI is an impressive number for us.”
The first half saw the Cougars go on a 9-0 run behind six points from Them Koang for a 9-4 lead. CSI came back to lead 18-10. CSI went up 24-13 before WNCC came back to slice the lead to 28-21 on a Carl Thorpe bucket. CSI led 33-23 at halftime.
The second half saw WNCC cut the lead to 36-30 and later 42-37 on a Biko Johnson bucket. CSI came back to lead by 10 behind an old-fashioned 3-point play and a dunk with 13 minutes to play. CSI pushed the second half lead to 10, 47-37, but that when WNCC came back to cut the deficit to 47-43 on a bucket by Rodney Sawyer and a trey by Agwa Nywesh.
After that, CSI went on a 15-4 run to lead 62-47. WNCC didn’t fold as they came back and scored six straight all on buckets by Koang to trip the lead to nine, 62-53. WNCC, however, could never get any closer as the Eagles won 81-65.
WNCC shot 31 percent from the field and 22 percent from behind the arc (5-of-23). Nywesh had three treys for the Cougars while Sawyer and Carter Brown each had one.
CSI won the game with their shooting. The Eagles shot 61 percent from the field and made just three treys.
CSI also won the rebound battle 44-38.
WNCC won the turnover battle, committing just 11 turnovers while forcing 22.
Koang led the Cougars in scoring with 22 points on 9-of-16 shooting. He also had eight rebounds. Nywesh followed with 13 along with nine rebounds and seven steals.
WNCC will be back in action Tuesday when they travel to Cheyenne, Wyoming to face Laramie County Community College in a 7 p.m. start.
WNCC (5-2) 23 42 – 65
CSI (6-1) 33 48 – 81
Carter Brown 3, Agwa Nywesh 13, Turumbil Zaki 5, Them Koang 22, Biko Johnson 7, Carl Thorpe 6, Rodney Sawyer 9.
KT Rainey 24, Chris James 5, Daylen Williams 4, Chayce Polynice 2, Taelon Martin 12, Jakari Livingston, Joel Armotrading 2, Robert Whaley 20.