CWU Extends GNAC Road Win Streak to Seven - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

CWU Extends GNAC Road Win Streak to Seven

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Jan. 29) -- Seniors Jamar Berry (Tacoma, Wash./Franklin Pierce HS), Drew Harris (Yakima, Wash./Eisenhower HS), and Chris Sprinker (Tacoma, Wash./Curtis HS) combined to score 32 of Central Washington University's 52 points, helping the nationally-ranked men's basketball team to a thrilling 52-50 victory over Alaska Anchorage on Saturday night at the Wells Fargo Sports Complex.

With the win, the 14th-ranked Wildcats (17-2, 10-1 in Great Northwest Athletic Conference) tie a GNAC record by winning their seventh straight conference road game and extend their lead in the conference standings to 1 1/2 games over UAA. The Seawolves fell to 16-5 overall and 8-2 in GNAC play.

Sprinker and Harris both scored 11 points in the contest, with all of Harris' tallies coming in the first half. Sprinker added nine of his counters in the final period. Berry was 4 of 10 from the field, scoring 10 points with a team-high three assists.

The first half saw 12 lead changes with the Wildcats finishing with a 28-27 advantage at the intermission. Central shot 42.9 percent (12-28) in the opening period while holding the Seawolves to just 33.3 percent (9-27) from the field. However, Alaska Anchorage made all seven free throw attempts in the half and outrebounded the Wildcats 19-13. Central was held without a first-half free throw attempt for the second time this season -- the Wildcats did not attempt a free throw in the first half of their double-overtime loss to UAA in Ellensburg on Dec. 30.

The Wildcats and Seawolves matched each other throughout the second half, as well, as neither led by more than three points over the first 11:30 of the period. Central took a 45-41 lead at the 8:30 mark on a three-pointer by Sprinker -- just his fourth trey of the season -- and led by five points with 5:23 to go, but the Seawolves responded with a 6-0 run to take a one-point advantage with 3:34 left. The game was scoreless over the next 2:33 before Sprinker sank two free throws to regain the lead, and after UAA missed a layup, junior Roby Clyde (Connell, Wash./Pasco HS) was fouled and made one of two free throws to push the lead to two with nine seconds remaining. The Seawolves missed a last-second three, and Central squeaked out the 52-50 victory.

The 52 points scored by CWU were the fewest scored in an on-court Wildcat victory since Feb. 28, 1981, when Central Washington defeated Saint Martin's, 49-48, in the opening game of the NAIA District 1 Championship series (49-48). It did mark the second time this season -- and in head coach Greg Sparling's 16-year tenure as head coach -- that the Wildcats scored fewer than 60 points in a victory (56-53 over Grand Canyon on Dec. 3).

Central finished the game shooting 34.4 percent (19-55) from the field for its second lowest percentage of the season, but held the Seawolves 13 percent below their conference-leading percentage with a 34.0 percent efficiency (17 of 50) on Saturday.

Although CWU did not attempt a first-half free throw, they made 7 of 10 at the stripe in the second half, while UAA was a perfect 12 of 12 in the game.

The Central defense also forced Alaska Anchorage into a season-high 21 turnovers, converting those miscues into 19 points.

Alaska Anchorage forward Taylor Rohde had 15 points and 10 rebounds for his second double-double in as many games against the Wildcats this season. Mario Gill also added 12 points for the Seawolves.

The Wildcats, who have five of their final seven regular-season games at home inside Nicholson Pavilion, will get most of the next week off before hosting Northwest Nazarene on Feb. 5 at 7:30 p.m. The game will be televised live on Spokane-based SWX across eastern Washington and northern Idaho in the Yakima, Tri-Cities, and Spokane television markets.