Jan 9, 2014 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorCWC faces Little Big Horn College at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Rustler Gym.
Nationally ranked Gillette College avoided an upset when the Central Wyoming College Rustlers missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer, giving GC a 65-63 Region IX men's basketball victory Wednesday night at Rustler Gym.
Daryl Morgan Jr. came up short for the Rustlers on his 3-point attempt on the final play of the thrilling battle on the hardwood.
Morgan had hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer last month in a win vs. Snow College.
"We had some unforced turnovers and back-to-back turnovers leading up to the last possession," CWC coach Pat Rafferty said. "If we would have managed the game better in those previous possessions, I'm confident that we wouldn't have been in that last 13-second situation."
Down the stretch, CWC was ahead 58-53 on a field goal from Isaiah Tademy at the 5:43 mark of the second half.
Gillette deadlocked the score at 59-59 and took a 61-59 cushion.
Morgan knotted the scoreboard at 61-61.
Morgan tied it at 63-63 before Gillette scored the final two points from the free throw line.
Gillette College is ranked No. 25 in the latest National Junior College Athletic Association poll.
"It's really a challenge to win road games in Region IX conference play," Gillette coach Shawn Neary said. "CWC certainly plays a disciplined, patient offense. They execute their offensive system as well as anybody I have ever seen at this level. They are a difficult team to scout and prepare for because of their style of play."
CWC dressed nine players for the game after only suiting up five players Saturday night at Western Wyoming Community College because of disciplinary violations.
"I was really proud of how determined we played the second half on the defensive end against Gillette," Rafferty said.
Gillette had beaten Miles Community College (104-60) and the Midwest Elite (107-87) in the previous two outings.
"Gillette is very good in transition," Rafferty said. "They are very good in scattered-floor situations."
Gillette was averaging 106 points a game.
CWC is 8-7 overall and 2-1 in conference play.
The Rustlers face Little Big Horn College at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Rustler Gym.
On Wednesday, "for the first time, I saw the toughness and the determination that we have required," Rafferty said.
Morgan collected game-high honors at 21 points.
"Our guys have a reference point because we have not played that hard defensively as we did the last 20 minutes," Rafferty said. "I hope that we can take that reference point and move forward with that and build on that."
Matt Johnson scored 13 points, and Isaiah Tademy put in 11 points for the other two CWC players in double figures.
"I thought that our guys did a good job of locking in defensively and making it hard to get good looks," Neary said. "We did a better job of defensive rebounding to get the lead back and hold on for the win."
Gillette College 65, CWC 63
GILLETTE 38 27 -- 65
CWC 32 31 -- 63
CWC -- Matt Johnson 6 1-1 13, Eimer Lopez 2 0-0 4, Bryce Canda 3 0-0 6, Daryle Morgan Jr., 5 (3) 2-5 21, Jairo Lopez 2 1-2 5, Isaiah Tademy 4 (1) 0-0 11, Malik Wilson 2 2-2 6. Totals 17 (4) 5-9 63.
Gillette -- Dwight Anderson 3 (2) 3-4 15, Benard Suggs 1 (2) 4-5 12, Ben Glover 1 0-0 2, Lorenzo Bonam 3 2-3 8, Jayden Wlash 0 2-2 2, Ricky Suggs 1 0-6 2, Sarp Gopeloglu1 2-2 4, Muhammed Ahmed 7 6-8 20. Totals 17 (4) 19-30 65.
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