TORRINGTON – In what was supposed to be a road contest to open the 2020 portion of the Eastern Wyoming College men’s basketball schedule, the Lancers overcame a halftime deficit to knock off Northwest Kansas Tech, 99-83, at home.
A scheduling conflict with the gym in Goodland, Kan., resulted in the game being moved to Torrington.
The members of the Lancer team had just arrived back in town 24 hours prior to the tipoff, and second year head coach Tim Moser said he expected a slow start.
“Ugly coming back,” he said. “We’ve been back one day, so I expected some of that.”
It also gave the Lancers an opportunity to work on some things in the team’s final tune-up before Region IX North Division play begins.
“We are trying to do some different things. We are going to try to play those two posts together,” Moser said. “Everyone in our league plays small and we have to figure out a way to guard with those two bigs.”
The Lancers took a quick 8-3 lead, but Northwest Kansas chipped away at the deficit, erasing the Lancer lead and tying the game at 17 midway through the first half.
The visiting Mavericks then used a 17-3 run over a four-minute stretch to take a 37-27 lead.
Sophomore Nick Mirich ended the Lancer dry spell with 4:34 left in the first half with a pair of free throws.
In the second half, it was Mirich who sparked the EWC rally.
“Nick did a great job,” Moser said. “He stepped up and is a team guy. He busted his butt, and I’m glad he got rewarded today for his effort.”
Two minutes in, the 6-foot, 5-inch forward from Cheyenne scorched the net for nine points over a three-and-a-half-minute period in the midst of a 21-3 run which saw the Lancers push their lead to 65-55.
Eastern Wyoming’s lead grew to as many as 20 in the closing moments of the game.
Sophomores Jonatan Arviddsson and Jonathan Hall led the Lancers with 25 points. Mirich tallied a double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Freshman Alexander Karras added 10 points.
The Lancers (10-5) open North Division play on the road at Sheridan College (12-4) on Wednesday, Jan. 8 at 7 p.m.
“It’s one of the toughest places to play in Region IX,” Moser said. “They have a really nice team. They spread you out and play all guards. It’ll be a challenge.”