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MCC men drop regular season finale to OJC 81-78

The McCook Community College men lost an 81-78 decision to Otero Junior College Saturday, and also lost the chance to host an opening-round Region IX Tournament next weekend.

The loss topples the Indians to the sixth seed among the seven Region IX South teams and a likely matchup next weekend against third-seeded Northeastern Junior College at Sterling, Colo. Pairings and game times will be announced early next week.

On Saturday, MCC was down eight points with 3:23 left but fought back several times.

“We got the plays we needed late,” said MCC Coach Jacob Brandl. “They were missing some free throws in the second half and giving us a chance.”

In the final 11 seconds of the game MCC was down 80-78 and at the line for the front-end of a one-and-one free throw but missed. Otero had the chance to ice the game at the other end but missed the second free throw. MCC had the chance to tie the game with time expiring but sophomore Ty Foster’s corner 3-pointer fell short.

“I thought we drew up a good play at the end for Louie Tucker in the opposite corner but it’s hard to fault Ty Foster, he got a wide-open look in the corner and just missed it,” said Brandl.

Unofficially Otero jumps to the No. 4 seed and will host North Platte. Trinidad State will host Lamar in the other opening round-game. Western Nebraska is the top seed and won’t play until the following weekend when they host the final rounds of the tournament.

MCC scored the first five points of the game Saturday, but Otero went up 24-17 at the 6:26 mark of the first half. MCC sophomore Zeki Cavli (Bodrum, Turkey) hit a jumper as the first half expired to pull within two points at halftime, 33-31.

“We played hard today,” said Brandl. “That was my biggest thing was to get guys playing with energy and playing with a little bit of an edge – which we haven’t been doing the last couple games so this was good for us.”

The lead changed nine times in the game with the scored tied six times. MCC had its last lead at 53-51 with 10:08 left in the game.

“We had some clean looks that just didn’t go in for us, but thy guys played hard,” said Brandl. “I’m happy with our response from the Trinidad game the night before and if we can get this every game, we’ll be all right.”

Otero shot 49.2 percent from the field, and made eight of 21 3-pointers, including five of 10 in the second half. The Rattlers struggled at the line making 11 of 24 free throws (45.8 percent) including a seven-for-15 showing in the second half.

“Otero made the plays,” said Brandl. “They’d been struggling shooting the basketball and were 29 percent coming into the game and came out and made 38 percent and shoot 50 percent in the second half. “

MCC held a 39-36 rebound edge.

Brandl said he didn’t like his team’s defense in the second half.

“I thought we were late on a lot of our helps and let some of their guys get going,” said Brandl.

Otero’s Lason Walker scored 25 points and Antony Harris scored 21 points.

Foster led MCC with 28 points and Tucker scored 14. Martel Evans (sophomore, Omaha Creighton Prep) had nine rebounds to lead the team and scored 14 points. Freshman Bryan Akanmu (Paris, France) scored 10 points with eight boards and sophomore Zeki Cavli (Bodrum, Turkey) scored eight points.

“We got a lot of good production from guys,” said Brandl.

MCC shot 43.3 percent from the field, 27.3 percent on 22 tries from distance, and 14 of 19 free throws (73.7 percent).

“This is definitely a game you can build on,” said Brandl.

MCC finishes the season 10-20 and finishes at 4-8 in the Region IX South.

“If we end up going to NJC, that’s a tough place to play,” said Brandl. “We need to get some momentum moving forward.”

Up-to-date information about MCC basketball including schedules, statistics, rosters and photos can be found on the MCC Athletics website,


Men's Region IX South Standings
                             W-L    PCT.   OVERALL
Western Neb. 11-1    .917       22-8
Trinidad State   10-2    .833       21-7
Northeastern     6-5     .545       13-13
Otero JC             5-7     .417       13-16
North Platte       4-8     .333       13-15
McCook              4-8     .333       10-20
Lamar CC         1-10     .091        8-21

* Clinched first place and will host the Region IX tournament after the first round


North Platte 76, Otero 64 (at North Platte)

Trinidad State 83, McCook 57 (at McCook)

Trinidad State at North Platte, (at North Platte)
Otero at McCook CC, (at McCook)

Lamar at Northeastern, 5 p.m.


First Round – March 9 at site of second, third and fourth seeds

Second Round – March 14-16 at Scottsbluff