Wayne Stewart and Justin Holliday combined for 44 points as the Lamar Community College men's basketball team captured their 24th win of the season by a score of 80-77 over Laramie County Community College Saturday evening.
Stewart led all scorers with 27 points, while Holliday popped in 17 points to lead the Lopes to an important Region IX-South Sub-region win on the road. The win gave the 2016-17 Lopes the most wins in program history, with the playoffs still to come. Lamar enters postseason play with a 24-6 overall record and an 11-5 record in the South, good for second place, one game behind Laramie. Laramie County won the South sub-region and earned the top seed with a 12-4 sub-region record.
Saturday's win was totally defensive as both No. 21 Lamar and Laramie County battled in a low-scoring first half, with Lamar going into intermission up 33-30.
"We knew it was going to be a battle between the top two seeds of the region. We needed to execute on defensive end and take good shots on offense. Our guys did a good job communicating on defense," said Lopes head coach Sercan Fenerci.
The second half was back and forth early on. Every time the Lopes made a run, the Golden Eagles responded with one of their own. Lamar led 65-58 with 7 minutes to go in the game, but Laramie County made a run to tie the game. The game's final minutes were a chess match between the two coaches, with both teams trying different line ups to earn an advantage. Laramie County held a four-point lead with 1:12 left on the clock, when Stewart hit a clutch 3-pointer and two free throws to give Lamar the lead by 1 with 13 seconds to go. Then, Lamar got an important stop and called a time out. The ball was inbounded to Wayne Stewart where Laramie County fouled to stop the clock at 3 seconds left. Stewart hit both free throws to give the Lopes the 3-point lead. Laramie County took one last desperation shot but missed, and Lamar escaped with the victory.
"We had a great week of practices going into this game. I am proud of the effort and togetherness that our team showed tonight. We are hoping to see everyone in the Wellness Center on Saturday night to show support our team in the Region IX tournament" Fenerci said.
Lamar shot 43.1 percent from the field and connected on 13 of 15 free throws. Laramie County shot 39 percent for the game and was 23 for 25 from the line.
After Stewart's 27 and Holliday's 17, Andre Hardy finished with nine points, while Taylor Shepard and Richard Caldwell finished with eight a piece, Michael Skinner contributed with seven points. Laramie County was led by Alfonzo Anderson's 22 points and 14 rebounds.
Lamar will next be in action this Saturday, March 4 when they host a first-round playoff game. The game will start at 7 p.m. in Wellness Center. The top four teams host the four bottom teams in the South and North sub-region, with the winners advancing to the Region IX tournament in Gillette, Wyoming, March 9-11.
All the updates and news follow Lamar CC Men's Basketball on twitter @LopesBasketball