Sterling, CO - The No. 3 ranked North Platte Community College men's basketball team's (21-2) fell Tuesday night to the #15 Northeastern Junior College Plainsmen (22-2) by a score of 70-66, despite 26 points from the Knight's Ethan Montalvo. as he passed the 1,000th career point total.
The Knights struggled to score early, with more than six minutes gone by before the Knights got on the board. A strong defensive effort held the Plainsmen to only eight points during the stretch.
Two free throws from Montalvo finally broke the Knights scoring drought.
Slowly through the first half, the Knights would chip away and find their offensive rhythm while holding the Plainsmen at bay.
The Knights evened the game at 32 points on two free throws from Cameron Williams before a steal and put-back by Kenyon Gist gave the Knights a 34-32 lead at break. Montalvo led the Knights with 14 points while Dual Mayot had 13 for the Plainsmen at halftime.
In the second half, the game swung back and forth as both teams were able to keep the other team on its heels. Late in the game, Northeastern knocked down two free throws and got a stop to stretch their lead to four, and the Knights could not overcome the lead in the final minute.
The Knights were led by Montalvo's 26 points that included 10-10 at the free throw line. Tim Simmons finished with 14 points, 12 in the second half. Cameron Williams was the only other Knight in double figures with 10.
With 26 points, Montalvo became the 13th Knight to score 1,000 career points. He currently has 1,005 points, which is 13th on the Knights All-Time scoring list, eclipsing Todd McKeone and All-American Eugene Bain. In 12th place is Kevin Bromley with 1,040 career points. All-American Joseph Ragland is the Knights All-Time leading scorer with 1,286 career points.
Mayot led the Plainsmen with 19 points and Bronson Moton was the only other in double-figures with 13. The Plainsmen had seven players score at least five points while the Knights only had four.
"Give Northeastern a ton of credit, they played a heck of a ballgame," assistant coach Nathan Wieseler said. "We have to regroup and put this behind us during the next two days of practice before we travel to Lamar."
The Knights travel to Lamar, Colo. to face the Lamar Community College Runnin' Lopes (7-16, 3-6 South Sub-Region) on Friday Feb. 7 at 8:30 p.m. CST. The Knights defeated the Runnin' Lopes at home on Dec. 7 by a score of 86-56 behind 17 points from Marco Pascolo and a double-double from Jake Maslo with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Next week, the Knights travel to McCook Community College (16-7) on Tuesday, Feb. 11 to face the Indians at 7:30 p.m. The Knights return home for a Friday-Saturday double-header, hosting the Eastern Wyoming Lancers (9-12) on Friday, Feb. 14 at 7:30 p.m. and the Western Nebraska Community College Cougars (14-9) on Feb. 15 at 3 p.m.