Jan. 18, 2019, Sterling, Colo. — In a Region IX rival match, the Northeastern Plainsmen hosted the Western Nebraska Cougars. Both teams have been playing well, so a great game was about to be played.
As expected, both teams came out shooting, and points started adding up quickly on the scoreboard. With the first five minutes gone from the game, the Cougars led by three, 17-14. The next ten minutes was no different as each team put up shots, with both making their fair share of them. Each team had great opportunities; it was the Cougars who were able to make a few more than the Plainsmen, giving them a 15-point lead. Northeastern was not too far out of it as they were able to string points together to make it a nine-point game. In the last five minutes of the half however, Northeastern hit a cold spell while Western Nebraska was able to keep a hot hand, making it a 68-50 game with Northeastern trailing.
Northeastern needed to find their groove early in the second for them to give themselves a chance. They were able to do that by going on a 7-0 run to start the half. The Cougars first point in the half didn't come until three minutes ticked off the clock, which was in part to the Plainsmen's defense. The Cougars adjusted to Northeastern and were able to find their shooters, extending their lead by a few more points. The Plainsmen were able to get the lid off the rim after missing some routine shots, and once again cut down Western Nebraska's lead making it now a 78-66 game. With under five minutes to play, the Plainsmen looked to get a spark off Nykolas Lange's three that brought them within nine of the Cougars. Lange followed up his three with a floating layup to make it an 87-81 game. In the ensuing Cougar possession, Northeastern committed a foul, which briefly took the wind out of their sails. It took some valuable time for the Plainsmen to get another basket, but there was still enough time left to tie it up. Western Nebraska was able to protect the ball well, forcing Northeastern to foul. It was not enough as the Plainsmen's deficit was too much and lost to the Cougars 97-88.
Northeastern will get a chance at getting back on track as they host North Platte on Tuesday, Jan. 22 with tip-off at 7:30 p.m.