WILLISTON, N.D. — The No. 24 Sheridan College men’s basketball team cruised to an unbeaten start through the first month of the season. The Generals were rarely challenged, winning every game by at least 18 points.
The unblemished start came to a screeching halt Friday against No. 16 Western Nebraska Community College at Williston State College. The Cougars flustered the Generals en route to a 101-88 win, dropping SC to 11-1 on the season.
“It’s not deflating losing. It’s deflating how we lost,” SC head coach Matt Hammer said. “It’s deflating how we handled being behind. From me all the way down to the last guy down on the bench, we didn’t maintain composure and didn’t play the way we know we can play.”
Sheridan College showed a capacity to play with Western Nebraska but a barrage of 3-pointers made the difference. The Cougars hit 15 of their 33 attempts from behind the 3-point arc, while the Generals hit just 8 of 25 from deep.
“Bad defense. Bad defense,” SC’s Josh Bagley said. “Not knowing everybody you need to be at least an arm’s length distance from. Nobody is supposed to get an open shot. They had too many open shots. Once they start hitting, the basket just starts getting bigger. They shouldn’t have got so many open shots.”
Bagley had one of his best games of his SC career Friday. He paced the team with 19 points on 8 of 13 shooting. He got to the rim at will and finished, while also hitting a trio of treys.
Adham Eleeda added 17 points on five 3s. AJ Bramah totaled 15 points and seven rebounds, while Javary Christmas and Sean Sutherlin chipped in 13 and 10 points, respectively.
Sheridan standout Cam Reece struggled with foul trouble and only tallied eight points on the night. Many times the Generals’ offense runs through Reece and with him saddled on the bench, it affected things offensively for Sheridan.
“We are ways looking for him, honestly,” Bagley said.
Western Nebraska only played seven players, but all five of its starters logged double-figure scoring nights. Jervay Green led all scorers with 26 points for the Cougars.
“They are all guys that can shoot 3s, but they are all guys that can also put in on the floor,” Hammer said.
The Cougars led by as many as seven in the first half, but the Generals went toe-to-toe and led by as many as eight. Western Nebraska closed the opening half on a 19-8 run to take 52-46 advantage at the break.
The Generals cut into their deficit in the second half and trimmed it to as little as four on a bucket from Jay Lewis with 9:10 remaining in the game. But the Cougars closed the game on a 21-12 jolt to claim the victory in the top-25 bout.
The Generals remain in Williston and battle Williston State Saturday at 4 p.m.
Sheridan College………………………………46 42 — 88
Western Nebraska Community College…….52 49 — 101
Sheridan College — Bagley 19; Eleeda 17; Bramah 15; Christmas 13; Sutherlin 10; Reece 8; Lewis 6
Western Nebraska Community College — Green 26; Kuxhausen 19; Tanksley 18; Sanchious 17; Roub 17; Cadet 4
Sheridan College 37 (Bramah 7); Western Nebraska Community College 34 (Sanchious 8)
Sheridan College 15 (Bagley 6); Western Nebraska Community College 20 (Sanchious 8)