TWIN FALLS, Idaho – The College of Southern Idaho men’s basketball team put together a big second-half run to hold on to an 81-65 win over the Western Nebraska Community College men’s basketball team on Saturday, Nov. 20, 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%, it really makes it tough,” he said. “They shot 50% in the first half and 75% in the second half. 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 heel 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 then WNCC came back to cut the deficit to 47-43 on a bucket by Rodney Sawyer and a three 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% from the field and 22% from behind the arc (5-of-23). Nywesh had three 3-pointers for the Cougars while Sawyer and Carter Brown each had one.
CSI won the game with their shooting. The Eagles shot 61% from the field and made just three 3-pointers.
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 beat Laramie Community College 86-79 on Tuesday, Nov. 23 and will be off until Dec. 3.
WNCC (5-2) 23 42 – 65
CSI (6-1) 33 48 – 81
Them Koang 22, Agwa Nywesh 13, Rodney Sawyer 9, Biko Johnson 7, Carl Thorpe 6, Turumbil Zaki 5, Carter Brown 3.