Wildcats Keep Pace in GNAC Race with 72-68 WinPosted: Updated:
SEATTLE, Wash. (Jan. 13) -- Four Central Washington University players scored in double-figures, and the 17th-ranked Wildcat men's basketball team defeated Seattle Pacific University, 72-68, on Thursday night at Brougham Pavilion.
Central extended its winning streak to three games and is now 12-2 overall, including 5-1 in Great Northwest Athletic Conference play. The Wildcats remain one game behind conference leader Alaska Anchorage, while the Falcons are now 8-5 on the season (2-3 GNAC).
CWU senior Jamar Berry (Tacoma, Wash./Franklin Pierce HS) and junior Jody Johnson (Seattle, Wash./Franklin HS) shared team-high scoring honors with 15 points each, corralling six and seven rebounds, respectively. Also scoring in double figures were seniors Chris Sprinker (Tacoma, Wash./Curtis HS) and Drew Harris (Yakima, Wash./Eisenhower HS) with 12 and 11 points, respectively.
Harris opened the first-half scoring with a layup on Central's second possession, and the Wildcats did not trail for the remainder of the contest. CWU led by as many as eight points in the first period and entered halftime with a 39-33 advantage.
The second half started slowly, as neither team scored a basket for the first three minutes of the half, but Seattle Pacific guard Jeff Downs ended that drought with back-to-back three-pointers to tie the contest at 39-39. Central's Berry countered on the ensuing Wildcat possession with a trey of his own to put Central up by three.
With 48 seconds left in regulation and Central up by four points, senior Humberto Perez (Yakima, Wash./A.C. Davis HS) was fouled on a three-point attempt, and he responded by making all three of his free throw attempts to give the Wildcats a seven-point cushion. The Falcons cut the lead to two points with two seconds remaining, but Johnson sealed the game for CWU by draining two free throws in the closing seconds to give Central the final four-point advantage.
The Wildcats were outshot by the Falcons, 55.8 percent (24-43) to 50.9 percent (28-55), but Central held a 26-22 advantage in rebounds. The CWU defense recorded 10 steals and forced 19 SPU turnovers, which the Wildcats converted into 20 points.
Senior reserve Chris Scott (Las Vegas, Nev./Bonanza HS) returned to the floor for the first time since suffering an injury against Alaska two weeks ago and contributed eight points for the Wildcats. The CWU reserves outscored the Falcons' bench 27-10, with Johnson and Scott combining to score 23 of those points.
Seattle Pacific also had four players score in double figures with Ryan Sweet leading with 15 points on 5 of 7 shooting. Andy Poling and David Downs both added 14 points.
The Wildcats will next travel to play Montana State Billings on Saturday (Jan. 15) at 7 p.m. MST before returning home to face off with arch-rival Western Washington on Thursday (Jan. 20) at 7 p.m.