Fifth-Ranked Wildcats Suffer 1st Loss - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Fifth-Ranked Wildcats Suffer 1st Loss

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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (Dec. 16) -- Senior Humberto Perez (Yakima, Wash./A.C. Davis HS) and junior Jody Johnson (Seattle, Wash./Franklin HS) each scored a team-high 19 points, but the fifth-ranked Central Washington University men's basketball team lost its first game of the 2010-11 season to Rollins College, 85-75, Thursday night at the Great Western Shootout.

The Wildcats fell to 8-1 on the season, while Rollins, from Winter Park, Fla., and the Sunshine State Conference, improved to 7-2.

Perez made seven of 11 shots on the night, including five of Central's 10 three pointers, while Johnson, who set a career-high with his scoring total, finished with the second double-double of his young Wildcat career.

CWU went into halftime trailing 45-33, due in large part to two big runs and good foul shooting by the Tars. Rollins jumped out to an early 13-3 lead at the 13:26 mark, followed by a 11-0 run that put the Tars up by 20 points. The Wildcats led just once at 3-2.

Rollins made 15 of 19 free throws in the opening half and shot 56 percent (14-25) from the field. The Wildcats shot 38.5 percent (10-26) in the half but committed 12 turnovers. Johnson scored 10 of his points off the bench in the period and was instrumental in cutting into the Tars' lead, as he scored five points in the final 1:12 before halftime.

The Wildcats battled back in the second half, and were able to close the Tars' lead to just two points on two separate occasions, but Rollins countered each time to hold onto the lead.

CWU had a better half offensively in the second period, shooting 47.1 percent from the floor on 16 of 34, and committed just five turnovers after halftime. However, Rollins shot 64.3 percent in the period and converted on 19 of 26 free throw attempts.

In addition to the scoring efforts of Perez and Johnson, seniors Chris Sprinker (Tacoma, Wash./Curtis HS) and Drew Harris (Yakima, Wash./Eisenhower HS) finished with 12 and 11 points, respectively.

Although Rollins shot 59.0 percent for the game, Central made more field goals (26-23), including five more three-pointers than its opponent, but the Wildcats were outscored by 21 points at the free throw line. The Tars went to the charity stripe 45 times in the contest, while the Wildcats had just 17 attempts. CWU was whistled for twice as many fouls (32) as Rollins was (16), and three Central players were disqualified on fouls -- becoming the first Wildcats to foul out this season. All told, all nine Central players to appear in the contest had at least two fouls.

Rollins was led by reigning Division II All-American Nick Wolf, who scored a game-high 30 points on 10 of 14 shooting from the field and 10 of 12 from the free throw line. Teammate Myk Brown added 23 points, as that duo became the first opposing players in nine games involving the Wildcats this season to score more than 20 in a contest.

The Wildcats will look to bounce back tomorrow as they play regional rival Cal State San Bernardino (3-2) in their final game of the Great Western Shootout at 3 p.m.

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