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Late mistakes cost Rustlers in Region IX

Mar 13, 2012 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports Editor

Central Wyoming College men's basketball coach Curtis Condie used a rare zone defense vs. Northeastern Colorado on Saturday night in the opening round of the Region IX men's basketball tournament in Scottsbluff, Neb.

The plan worked for 38 minutes, but the Rustlers lost the lead late in the game. Northeastern Colorado escaped with a 74-69 win to end the season for CWC . The Rustlers finished the season 20-11.

"We beat ourselves," Condie said Monday night as he watched the CWC women's squad play in semifinals of the Region IX women's tournament in Casper. "That is what happens when you have youth and make some critical mistakes right at the end."

The Rustlers had an a 11-point first-half lead, but Northeastern hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to make it a 38-30 game at the break.

"We played fairly well in the first half," Condie said. "We hadn't played zone since the Casper College game (Feb. 4)."

Northeastern Colorado outscored CWC 44-31 in the second half for the victory.

CWC's Malachi Roberts took team-high honors (14 points).

"We missed some defensive mistakes and they got hot," Condie said. "We missed five or six free throws."

Casper College eliminated Northeastern College 88-70 Sunday night.

"The big difference is that we have three sophomores, and Northeastern Colorado had 12 sophomores out of 15," Condie said. "They are tough and physical. The sophomores won out."

Casper College edged host Western Nebraska 70-68 on Monday night in one of the semifinals. Casper College played Otero Junior College in the title game on Tuesday.

"It's going to be a very hard-working off-season for us with recruiting and just getting people better," Condie said.

The Rustlers finished the year in sixth place in Region IX.

Awards

CWC's James Johnson landed on the third team all-region list. Johnson averaged 13 points game for the Rustlers.

He'll will play next year at California State University at Fullerton.

"He just needs to keep improving," Condie said. "They will do a good job with him at Fullerton. I think that he is better than the third team, but he will get there. He well have a great career." Armani Flanningan and Davion Pearson were named honorable mention for Central.

Colorado Northeastern 74, CWC 69

NORTHEASTERN 30 44 -- 74

CWC 38 31 -- 69

CWC -- Davion Pearson 3 (1) 4-6 13, Ali Sabra 1 5-6 7, Malachi Roberts 1 (3) 3-6 15, Armani Flannigan 5 2-4 12, Preston Eaton 4 3-3 11, Braden Wright 2 0-0 4, James Johnson 4 0-2 8. Totals 20 (4) 17-27 69.

Northeastern -- Joe Charles 5 (1) 4-4 17, Ray Riley 1 1-2 3, Anthony Crenshaw 2 1-2 5, Donate Lucas 7 (1) 3-5 20, BJ Dunbar 1 3-4 5, James Stukes 2 1-2 5, Jevon Hall 0 2-2 2, Steven Liebert 6 1-3 13, Booby Lebsock (1) 1-2 4. Totals 24 (3) 17-26 74.

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