The North Platte Community College mens' basketball team scored nine unanswered points in overtime on Thursday to get past Eastern Wyoming College 76-75 at the McDonald-Belton Gymnasium.With two minutes left in the extra period, NPCC found themselves down 67-64 with Eastern Wyoming taking over possession after Booba Casse missed a dunk.
But Damon Brown stole the ball and the 5-foot-11 freshman raced down the court for a one-handed dunk.
Eastern Wyoming then turned it over again with Tim Simmons stealing the ball and passing it to Ben Wilson, who was fouled going up for a layup. Wilson made both free throws to give the Knights the lead for good.
Then with 1:13 to go, Brown made a three-pointer for a 71-67 lead. Simmons and Ethan Montalvo made two free throws out of four tries to close out the run with 29 seconds left.
Eastern Wyoming scored eight in the last half minute with six of the final eight being scored on a pair of threes by Slade Spoonhunter, the final coming at the buzzer. But with a pair of made free throws by Wilson and one by Simmons earlier, it didn't change the outcome.
NPCC coach Kevin O'Connor said that Brown, the starting point guard from Bloomington, Ind., showed that he wasn't afraid to take charge.
"The three he had was big," said O'Connor. "Damon's got a lot of confidence, which sometimes is a detriment, but tonight it was big for him."
The Knights were close to taking control of the game early on. They took a 14-7 lead with Casse scoring on a putback by Wilson seven minutes into the contest.
NPCC led as much as nine in the first half. But the Lancers switched to a zone defense that proved to be effective.
Eastern Wyoming took a 23-22 lead with just over six minutes left in the first half when Jason McClellen scored inside. From there, it was a battle.
"We were killing them and then they went to a zone and they found out we couldn't shoot," O'Connor said. "That just changed the tide of the game."
The Lancers led at halftime 33-30 and they were up for most of the second half, as well. With four minutes left, Ryan Wilson made a three that followed a dunk by Jordan Doss to give Eastern Wyoming a 60-55 lead.
But Casse came back for the Knights with two straight baskets and then Montalvo sunk in a three to give NPCC a 62-60 lead with 2:42 left.
Eastern Wyoming turned the ball over in the backcourt and Simmons was fouled going up to the rim. Simmons made one of two in his resulting trip to the charity stripe.
After the split by Simmons, Jordan Dick buried a three from the right corner to tie the game at 63.
Those were the last points of regulation. With six seconds left, NPCC called timeout to set up a play for the last shot. But Brown missed a runner and the Lancers called timeout with just over two seconds left.
On the last shot of regulation, Wilson's shot from 25 feet rimmed out to force overtime where the Knights held off Eastern Wyoming.
Eastern Wyoming 33 30 12 - 75
North Platte 30 33 13 - 76
Eastern Wyoming (75)-Jordan Dick 9, Prescott Williams 11, Jordan Doss 13, Ryan Wilson 10, Slade Spoonhunter 10, Andre Norris 4, Joel Nyembo 10, Jason McClellen 8
North Platte (76)-Damon Brown 14, Ethan Montalvo 13, Ben Wilson 12, Booba Casse 17, Jake Maslo 2, Reath Jiech 6, Eric Richardson 3, Tim Simmons 8
Free Throws: EW 6-10, NPCC 15-22; Three Point Goals: EW 9 (Williams 2, Doss 2, Wilson 2, Spoonhunter 2, Dick), NPCC 9 (Montalvo 3, Brown 2, Wilson 2, Jiech, Simmons)