Berry Leads Second-Half Comeback in CWU Win - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Berry Leads Second-Half Comeback in CWU Win

Posted: Updated:

NAMPA, Idaho (Jan. 8) -- Central Washington University senior Jamar Berry (Tacoma, Wash./Franklin Pierce HS) scored a season- and career-high 31 points, leading the 17th-ranked Wildcat men's basketball team to a narrow 91-86 overtime victory over Northwest Nazarene University on Saturday night at the Johnson Sports Center.


The Wildcats, who are now 25-8 all-time against NNU, have won six straight games against the Crusaders and stand with 11-2 record this season, including 4-1 in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference. Northwest Nazarene fell to 5-7 and 1-4 in the GNAC.


Berry became the first Wildcat to score 30 points in a game since Matt Penoncello scored 36 points against Saint Martin's on Jan. 17, 2009. Berry, a 6-foot-5 forward, was 9 of 18 from the field, including 6 of 8 from three-point territory.


The Wildcats and Crusaders traded baskets early in the first half and were tied 10-10 at the 13:24 mark before halftime. Central outscored NNU 29-16 throughout the remainder of the half to take a 13-point halftime lead.


CWU shot 50 percent (11-22) from the field in the first half and made 14 of its 17 free throw attempts in the opening 20 minutes. Conversely, the Crusaders only made eight of their 14 shots from the charity stripe and shot 40.9 percent from the field in the opening half.


Northwest Nazarene, who did not make a first-half three-pointer, drained five treys in the second half and opened the period on a 25-8 run to take a 51-47 lead with 11:47 left in regulation. CWU trailed for the majority of the half, and trailed by as many as seven, before regaining the lead with 3:45 to go on one of Berry's six treys.


CWU led 76-74 with 1:06 left in regulation, but when junior Roby Clyde (Connell, Wash./Pasco HS) became the first of three Wildcats in the game to foul out 19 seconds later, NNU forward Paul Egwuonwu made two free throws to tie the game and force overtime.


The extra session, which was Central's second in its last three games, belonged to the Wildcats as they outscored NNU 15-10. Berry opened the overtime session with a three-pointer, and sealed it with two free throws, helping the Wildcats walk away with the final five-point advantage.


The Wildcats attempted a season-high 37 free throws in the contest, converting on a season-high 29 of them.


Central took advantage of virtually every turnover they forced in the contest, scoring 26 points off of 13 Crusader turnovers while committing just 10 miscues of its own in the 45-minute contest.


Junior Jody Johnson (Seattle, Wash./Franklin HS) added 17 points off the bench for Central and added a game-high eight rebounds before fouling out in overtime. Senior Chris Sprinker (Tacoma, Wash./Curtis HS) was held to 10 points in just 18 minutes of action on Saturday, as he too fouled out late in the regulation. Also scoring in double figures for the Wildcats was senior guard Drew Harris (Yakima, Wash./Eisenhower HS), who scored five of his 12 points from the free throw line while adding a team-high five assists.


The Crusaders had two players score over 20 points in the contest as Egwuonwu and Drew Eisinger scored 24 and 20 points, respectively. The duo combined to shoot 14 of 22 from the field and 12 of 13 from the free throw line.