Mar 7, 2012 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorCentral Wyoming College reached the 20-win milestone Saturday night, picking up a 78-60 men's basketball victory over Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne.
The win completed the regular season for the Rustlers with a 20-10 overall record. This is the fourth season the Rustlers have played basketball since the program reinstated the program.
"Every team tries to go out and get 20 wins," CWC men's coach Curtis Condie said. "I think that it's a great benchmark of a great season. For the first time since they brought back basketball here we got 20 wins, and the first time in 20 years we got 20 wins. I think that it's terrific. These young men didn't know each other the first of August, and yet they came out and pulled out 20 wins."
Eaton nets 26
Preston Eaton paced the Rustlers with 26 points on six 3-pointers in the 18-point win. Malachi Roberts put in 17 points. Roberts was 9-10 from the free throw line.
"When we came into the locker room at LCCC there was a different look on them," Condie said. "They accomplished something that teams hadn't done in the past."
Armani Flannigan scored 14 points and was a perfect 6-6 on the free-throw line. Davion Pearson had 10 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
"We are playing better than we were playing a couple of weeks ago," Condie said. "I like the fact that we are defending and we are moving the ball. I told them before the LCCC that if we don't rebound, then we won't get any wins."
Region IX field
With the regular season wrapped up the Rustlers have spent this week preparing for the do-or-die Region IX men's basketball tournament set to start Friday at the campus of Western Nebraska Community College in Scottsbluff, Neb.
Western Nebraska won the Region IX men's South division regular season crown to be the host site of the tournament. The winner of the north division will host the 2013 tournament.
The Rustlers open the single-elimination tournament at 6 p.m. Saturday vs. Northeastern Colorado of Sterling, Colo. CWC finished sixth in the north division, and Northeastern came in third in the south division.
"Northeastern plays extremely hard," Condie said. "If they out-tough us for rebounds, then we might be on the losing end. If we outrebound them, then we might be able to move on to the next night."
This is the first meeting this season between Northeastern Colorado and the Rustlers.
"Northeastern presses a little bit," Condie said. "They try to get you to not run your stuff."
The winner of the contest will extend its season to the next game against the winner of Casper College (No. 2 seed/North) and Trinidad State (No. 7 seed/South). The Rustlers are 1-1 on the season vs. the Thunderbirds.
"The intensity picks up big-time," Condie said. "It doesn't matter if you win by one or 50. It's all about winning. Tough teams win and soft teams lose."
Miles Community College (No. 1 seed/North) and Sheridan College (No. 3 seed/North) are the other two schools talented enough to make a run in the bracket from the north side.
"Everybody in the north tells me this is the toughest that it has ever been," Condie said. "I don't have anything else to gauge it by. I have been to the Region IX tournament as an Division I assistant and a Division II head coach. This is different for me now because I'm going to try and win games."
The title game is planned for 7 p.m. on Tuesday with the winner earning a ticket to the national junior college tournament in Hutchinson, Kan.
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