MCC men hit century mark to defeat Little Big Horn

The Pioneers of Miles Community College finished their regular season play at home Saturday afternoon, cruising to a 112-71 victory over the Little Big Horn College Rams and marking the sixth time this season they have cracked 100 points.

The win moves the Pioneers to 12-18 overall and 4-10 in the Region IX North conference, and the game was the last time on the MCC hardwood for five sophomore Pioneers.

“Our sophomores are just a really good bunch of guys,” said Pioneers head coach Chase Tait. “They’re good people. They’ve done well in the classroom, and they’ve represented us well on the floor.”

Pioneer freshman Ugljesa Portic came off the bench to record a double-double, dropping 10 points and grabbing a team-high 10 boards.

Four other Pioneers added double-digit points, including sophomore Montenia Nelson, who netted a team-high 30. Sophomore Adoum Mbang meshed 23 points, while sophomore Kameron Rauch and freshman Perion Little added 14 and 15 points respectively.

The final score showcased the largest scoring gap of the game for the Pioneers, who went on a 10-0 run late in the second half starting with a Rauch layup that broke the century mark. Portic then added six and freshman Peyton Nansel two before the Rams managed to score.

Sharpshooting Clarence Littlewolf was 8-for-16 from three-point-land on his way to 28 points for the Rams, and Meinrod Rides Horse came off the bench as the Rams’ next-leading scorer with 11. The Rams pulled in just 24 rebounds and struggled offensively with a 35.8 shooting percentage from the field.

The Pioneers opened up the offense in the first half with a 64-31 lead at the break on their way to shooting 57.5 percent from the field. The team used its size advantage over the Rams to pull down 56 rebounds. The Pioneers’ size also led to six blocks, with two each from Portic and Mbang.

Five Pioneers were honored before their final home game for their contributions to the team and their scholastic achievements. Nelson, Rauch, Oumar Diaby and Mbang all pulled starting duty, though Deng Kuany, whose season ended in January with a torn ACL, was sidelined.

“[These sophomores] have done a good job this year keeping us together through a tough stretch in January where we didn’t win a game,” said Tait, “and to battle back to have a winning record in February is a testament to the good kids that they are.”

Tait said he is excited to see where the basketball and academic roads lead the five sophomores. “For me, it’s about them moving on to get their four-year degree and hopefully playing somewhere,” he said. “This is just halftime for them.”

The Pioneers head to Central Wyoming to take on the Rustlers in the first round of the Region IX playoffs on Saturday.

The Rustlers are 2-0 against the Pioneers, defeating them 92-71 in January and then again at MCC on February 4, though they needed overtime to get that 76-72 win.

“Our guys have confidence to go down there and compete,” Tait said. “We’ll give it a whirl.