Up until last year, Casper College’s men had never won at CCHS South Campus. But the Thunderbirds made it two years in a row with a runaway 77-64 basketball victory Wednesday night.
The Thunderbirds snapped the Pronghorns’ five-game win streak to improve to 12-3 in the Region IX North Conference and hang onto the second seed with one game left in the regular season.
Dwight Anderson converted on a four-point play to give the Pronghorns a 24-22 lead in the first half. But Gillette College scored just one field goal in the last six minutes and the Thunderbirds’ 13-2 run before the intermission was enough to put the Pronghorns on their heels for the rest of the night.
“One of the things Casper can do really well is pour on the points,” Pronghorns’ freshman Mitch Clarke said. “They’re really quite good in transition. They have a number of shooters that can knock down open shots.
“That’s what they did to us. In a couple of minutes, they just pounded those points on and it was really tough to catch up.”
Once it started going south, it went all the way to Casper.
The Thunderbirds shot 50 percent from the floor in the second half. Dominique Lee finished with a game-high 16 points. Remi Dibo, a 6-foot-9 sophomore from Paris, France, added 15 and Corey Spencer scored 13 for the Thunderbirds (21-7,12-3).
“That is the most talented team in our league and to beat them you really have to play well. We didn’t play well tonight,” Pronghorn coach Shawn Neary said. “Our defense in the second half really broke down.
“Our guys got to flush this one and get ready for Northwest coming in on Saturday.”
The Pronghorns (16-11, 10-5) came in on a five-game winning streak, including back-to-back wins on the road. They cut it to six with 15 minutes remaining. But an 11-4 Casper College run turned it into a runaway.
“It just wasn’t our night tonight,” Clark said. “We need to forget about what happened and come back and play well on Saturday.
“It’s always good to have that momentum going into the tournament to get back on the right track.”
Andre Marquez had a team-high 13 points and five rebounds for the Pronghorns. Travontis Richardson and Lucas Reller came off the bench and added 10 points apiece.