Laramie County Community College freshman Josh McNair (Denver, Colorado) came up with a big steal and a dunk with one second to go in the game to give the Golden Eagles a 71-68 victory over Western Nebraska Community College.
The Golden Eagles improve to 8-4 on the year and 1-1 in the Region IX South. The win is their third consecutive and fifth in the last six games. LCCC jumped out to a 13-2 run to start the game with some high intensity and good shots on the basket. Iziah Sherman-Newsome (Anchorage, Alaska) started things off with a three-point bucket, and a Micheal Obindu (Ibusa, Nigeria) dunk forced an early timeout from the Cougars. Western Nebraska was able to close the gap and get it to within four at the half, trailing LCCC 30-26.
Both teams shot 28.6 percent from the field in the first half, and both teams struggled from behind the arc in the first. Western Nebraska went 0-8 and Laramie County was 1-9 from three-point range. LCCC was able to dictate the tempo early on and get to the basket and the foul line. The Golden Eagles were 13-20 in the first half from the foul line.
Andrew Ramirez ignited the Cougars in the second half, knocking down three from behind the arc. He helped WNCC take its first lead with 14:51 remaining in the game. The match went back and forth throughout the half, and the Cougars pushed the lead as high as six. Sherman-Newsome responded with back-to-back three-point baskets to level the score at 59-59 with 5:08 remaining. Western Nebraska took a 68-67 lead off a three-pointer by Chase Mason with 28.2 seconds to go. Sophomore Gavin Peppers (Brookeville, Maryland) drove to the hoop and was fouled with 13.0 seconds to go and lifted the Golden Eagles by knocking down a pair of free throws.
Peppers led the Golden Eagles with 17 points and three assists on the afternoon. Sherman-Newsome had 16 points, with 12 of those coming from the three-point line. McNair finished the game with 11 points and seven rebounds. LCCC got a great contribution off the bench from Dominik Heinzl (Uzov, Czech Republic) as he pulled down seven rebounds and chipped in with six points. Phil Fayne led the Cougars in scoring with 17, and Ramirez had 16.
Although sophomore Naseem Hadrab (Brampton, Canada) fouled out, he was a force down low on the block and made things difficult for University of Wyoming transfer Tyrell Williams. Hadrab recorded three blocks, seven rebounds and two points.
As a group, the Golden Eagles shot 36.2 percent from the field, 22.2 percent from the three-point line and 64.1 percent from the foul line.
Up next, the Golden Eagles travel to Otero Junior College on Dec. 9 in La Junta with tipoff at 6 p.m., and then Trinidad State Junior College on Dec. 12 with tipoff at 4 p.m.