Jan 20, 2014 - By Randy Tucker, Sports WriterIt was clearly a tale of two halves Saturday afternoon at Rustler gym, with Central Wyoming owning the first half and the visiting Casper College men taking control early in the second and holding on for a 67-62 win.The loss drops CWC to 9-10 overall and 3-4 in Region IX.
The Rustlers was "en fuego" in the opening minutes of play, taking an 11-0 lead over a stunned Thunderbird squad. The Rustlers were paced by excellent play of Daryle Morgan, who put on a show in the opening six minutes of the game, hitting a trey and pounding down an impressive dunk. Morgan tallied 17 in the opening half including a trio from beyond the arc.
A buzzer-beating trey by Eimer Lopez narrowly beat the shot clock during the flurry as well.
"We were active and played hard in the first half," Central Wyoming head coach Pat Rafferty said. "We played a great 20 minutes."
Casper finally found the scoreboard on follow shot from George Edwards with 16:28 left in the first. CWC continued to role and built a 17-4 on a Morgan putback just two minutes later.
Central eventually led by 18 after a drive by Matt Johnson.The 41-23 advantage was the largest of the game.
But as quickly as the melting of a late spring snow, the Rustlers' lead evaporated in the first three minutes of the second half. Casper rolled on an improbable 15-0 run to tie the game 41-41 with 16:30 left in the contest.
Rafferty used a pair of timeouts to no avail as the Thunderbirds continued to roll. Only a 3-pointer by Morgan with 15: 54 remaining slowed the onslaught.
Casper took its first lead at 45-44 on a post up by 6-9 Morgan Tanner.
Rafferty had praise for Casper's intensity.
"They picked it up a little bit in the second half. They did a good job of keeping Bryce Canda off the ball," he said. "They got physical, and we didn't handle it well."
The T-birds stepped up the defensive pressure, and the Rustlers had to settle for long-range shots on most possessions against a swarming match-up zone defense.
The Rustlers closed to 50-46 on a pair of technical free throws by Ryan Nemelka, but good offensive looks remained hard to come by. Only Morgan was able to score for Central in the final 20 minutes from the floor aside from a single follow shot by Malik Wilson.
"Give Casper some credit. They made good adjustments," Rafferty said.
Morgan led all scorers with 30 points, while Canda added 10 for CWC.
The T-Birds were much more balanced, with George Edwards pacing the team with 20. Riley Chase added 11, and Garrett Swanson scored 10.
Central hits the road to Sheridan County on Wednesday, then returns home to host Miles City next Saturday at 5 p.m.
CWC 41 21 -- 62
CASPER 26 41 -- 67
Central Wyoming - Matt Johnson 2 0-0 4, Eimer Lopez 3 (1) 0-0 9, Ryan Nemelka 5-8 5, Bryce Canda 2 6-6 10, Daryle Morgan 6 (5) 3-4 30, Malik Wilson 2 0-0 4. Totals 15 (6) 14-19 62
Casper College - Riley Chase 3 (1) 2-2 11, Jay Wright 2 5-6 9, Daniel Nwosu 1 (1) 4-7 9, George Edwards 8 4-6 20, Tanner Morgan 3 0-0- 6, Yephnick Adelphones 2-2 2, Garrett Swanson 4 2-2 10. Totals 21 (2) 19-27 67
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