WNCC men play hard against No. 3 Salt Lake before falling

By MARK REIN Star Herald

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Western Nebraska Community College men’s basketball team put a scare into the No. 3 ranked Salt Lake Community College on Friday in the SLCC Classic, but in the end, the Bruins put together a couple late runs to earn the 97-80 win.

WNCC drops to 2-3 on the season and will be back in action Saturday in the classic when they take on Taylormade Prep. Taylormade Prep faced Eastern Wyoming College on Friday and lost 107-55.

The Cougars and Bruins were in a battle in the first half as WNCC trailed 29-21 and then went on an 8-0 run behind back-to-back treys by Maurice Walker. Salt Lake hit a bucket, but WNCC kept pace with Salt Lake with ties at 31, 33, 36, and 38 points.

The Bruins went up 42-38 and that was when WNCC went on a 9-3 run behind four points from Carl Thorpe and a big trey by Walker for a 47-45 lead at halftime.

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WNCC kept the heat on to start the second half, leading 59-53. Salt Lake came back to grab a 70-69 lead and went up 76-69. The Cougars cut the deficit to four at 80-76 on a bucket by Daniel Bula.

Salt Lake went up 88-76 and never looked back as Salt Lake went on to win by 17 points.

WNCC shot 47% for the game while SLCC shot 56%. WNCC buried 10 treys compared to just five for the Bruins. Both teams were at the free throw line plenty of times as they combined for 53 attempts. WNCC was 18-of-26 while Salt Lake was 20-of-27.

WNCC was led in scoring by Thorpe with 21 points including going 9-of-10 from the charity stripe.

Rodney Sawyer had 17 points with three 3-pointers, while Biko Johnson tallied 12 points with four assists before fouling out. Walker tallied 10 points with three treys.

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