SHERIDAN, Wyo. – The Western Nebraska Community College men's basketball team put four players in double figures in registering an 83-62 win over Eastern Wyoming College in the quarterfinals of the men's Region IX Tournament in Sheridan, Wyoming, Thursday afternoon.
The Cougars will face No. 6 Casper College in the semifinals on Friday. Casper earned an 84-61 win over Trinidad State Junior College.
The other semifinal will pit North Platte Community College against Sheridan College. North Platte was a 91-78 winner over Central Wyoming College while Sheridan topped NJC 74-72.
"I thought Eastern Wyoming, just like the last two times, did a good job of controlling tempo the majority of the first half," WNCC head coach Cory Fehringer said. "Eventually we came up with enough stops in a row and sped the pace of the game up and went on a big run before the first half was over."
Thursday's win sends the Cougars into a match-up with Casper. Fehringer said they need to play tough against a top 10-ranked team. It will be the first meeting of the year between the two squads with the winner advancing to Saturday night's championship.
"We will go over and see what we can find about them," Fehringer said. "But, for the most part, we are on the road and we need to play good basketball with our teammates. That is what is most important."
WNCC's game was close at the beginning with EWC holding five-point leads for half of the first 20 minutes. WNCC finally took the lead and went in front 42-28 at intermission.
The second half saw the Cougars play even with EWC to post the win. The second half, with WNCC leading by 15 and 18 points, they maintained the lead to the finish.
"I thought the second half we played mostly comfortable," Fehringer said. "We got complacent with passing and catching and scoring at times. But, again, Eastern Wyoming does a good job of frustrating opponents. I thought we kept our wits, our composure, and continued to put together a couple more runs."
WNCC shot 48 percent for the game and buried 14 3-pointers. The Lancers shot 35 percent and made 11 treys.
WNCC had four players in double figures. Dru Kuxhausen finished with 19 points to lead the team. Kuxhausen tallied four treys and had eight rebounds.
EWC 28 34 – 62
WNCC 42 41 – 83
Sam Tiley 9, David Rock 2, Brandon Meadows 11, Jonatan Arvidsson 18, Jaloni Garner 5, Jordan Potts 6, Jacob Pfaffinger 8, Jeremi Jiba 3.