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WNCC men topple Lamar 70-62
 February 9, 2013

Western Nebraska Community College’s Cody Johnson had a double-double and the Cougar men’s basketball team put three players in double figures in capturing a 70-62 South Sub-Region win over Lamar Community College Friday night at Cougar Palace.
Johnson finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds on the day. But, it was the first-half shooting of Charles Ward and Sebastian Suarez that carried the team to a 40-29 halftime lead. The Cougars buried seven 3-pointers in the first half.
WNCC coach Russ Beck said his team kept their composure after a Lamar run, to pick up the win.
“There were three things we talked about before the game that we had to have and one of them was 40 minutes of good energy,” he said. “We also wanted to play composed and come out and make sure we took care of the ball. Tonight we had only 10 turnovers which is a big difference from the North Platte game. When we got a few points down, we didn’t lose our composure. We just kind of battled and stayed in there.”
While the team was shooting lights out in the first half (43 percent), the area that really set the tone was rebounding. WNCC out-rebounded Lamar 47-40 and got several clutch rebounds late in the game to get the win.
“I was just glad the guys came in and contributed, were really focused and really hungry,” Beck said. “We spent a lot of time this week working on our defense, working on our help, and we just need to get better with those things.”
Lamar jumped on top of WNCC 17-14 on a 3-pointer by Malcolm Brooks, but that was when the Cougars caught fire. WNCC went on a 17-0 run to push the lead to 31-17. Ward was the big reason, scoring 10 of the 17 points. During that run, however, Johnson had a big offensive putback and Scottsbluff’s Zach Clemens nailed a 3-pointer.
WNCC rode that momentum to lead 40-29 at halftime.
The second half was a battle as Lamar went on a 14-3 run to open the half to tie the game at 43-43. The Runnin’ Lopes took their first lead at 49-46 on a back-to-back 3-pointers by Matt Sheriff. Lamar led 57-54 with six minutes to play on a trey by Brooks. That was when WNCC kicked it into another gear, outscoring Lamar 16-5 in the final five minutes of the game.
Suarez had a big shot to razzle dazzle the crows late, and pretty much seal the win as the sophomore from Chile drive the baseline and put up an under-the-bucket, under-handed shot that hit nothing but net. From there, Tahir Little and Ward each buried three free throws.
Ward led all scorers with 29 points, including three 3-pointers, six rebounds, and four assists. Suarez finished with 17 points, including three 3-pointers.
WNCC (9-14, 2-7 in conference) will be back in action Saturday when they host Northeastern Junior College at 7:30 p.m. Northeastern comes in with a 6-17 record. The Plainsmen are 3-7 in sub-region play.

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