The Lamar Community College held off a hot-shooting Western Nebraska Community College on Friday, February 12. The WNCC men's basketball team buried eleven 3-pointers, but it wasn't enough as the LCC Runnin' Lopes left Cougar Palace with an 80-72 Region IX South Division win.
The big key in the contest was shooting. LCC's defense held WNCC to just 35 percent from the field for the game and 39 percent from beyond the arc (11 of 28). WNCC even had trouble connecting on free throws, making 53 percent (9 of 17).
Lamar wasn't much better shooting on the night. The team hit on 45 percent of their shots and was just 28 percent from beyond the arc (4 of 14). However, Lamar shared the ball well and finished the game with season high 25 assists.
WNCC came out hot in the second half, running to a 43-38 lead. Lamar returned that intensity and WNCC started to cool off as the Runnin' Lopes went on an 8-0 run on transition for a 46-43 lead. The Cougars bolted back to retake the lead on a 3-pointer and later led 56-52 with ten minutes to play.
For the next four minutes, Lamar did the scoring and WNCC couldn't buy a bucket for the 10-point Lamar lead. WNCC cut the lead to five points with 29 seconds to play on a Chase Mason trey, but that was as close as they could get.
"Our game plan was to stop them from leaking out in transition and getting easy baskets, forcing them to shoot long jumpers against our set defense," said LCC Head Coach Serg Fenerci. "Our team did a great job executing the game plan. WNCC hit 11 three pointers but it was on 28 attempts, which worked for us as long as we controlled the defensive rebounds."
Lamar again had a balanced attack on scoring with four players in double figures. Chris Lewis led the team with 17 points, 17 rebounds and 5 assists. Wayne Stewart had 17 points and 6 rebounds, Jerome Laneir chipped in with 11 points and 6 rebounds, and Jon Dunmyer had 10 points next to his team-leading 8 assists for the game.
WNCC had three players in double figures, led by Michael Sparks with 21 points and five 3-pointers. Chase Mason finished with 17 points and 7 rebounds, while Phil Fayne had 14 points and 7 boards.