Wildcat Men's Basketball Loses Heartbreaker to WOU, 77-75 - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Wildcat Men's Basketball Loses Heartbreaker to WOU, 77-75

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By Sammy Henderson (CWU Athletic Media Relations Assistant)
 
ELLENSBURG (Dec. 1) -- The Central Washington University men's basketball team led Western Oregon University for the majority of the second half, but a lay-up by Wolves center Kolton Nelson with 39.1 seconds left in the game handed the Wildcats a 77-75 defeat in their Great Northwest Athletic Conference opener on Thursday night at Nicholson Pavilion.

The loss dropped Central to 4-2 in the season, and they open conference play with a loss for the first time since the 2004-05 season. Western Oregon improved to 6-1, 1-0 in GNAC play, and Thursday night was just the third time in 26 all-time meetings in Ellensburg -- and the first time since 2005 -- that WOU has won in the Rodeo City.

Junior Brandon Magee (Spanaway, Wash./Bethel HS) led the Wildcats' offensive attack with 17 points on 6 of 11 shooting. Sophomore Kevin Davis (Federal Way, Wash./Todd Beamer HS) added nine points, 10 rebounds, and a season-high six blocked shots.

Western Oregon took a one-point advantage at the 15:43 mark in the first half, and led for the remainder of the period, with its largest lead reaching nine points. Senior Toussaint Tyler (Kent, Wash./Kentwood HS) hit a buzzer-beating three-pointer to end the opening period, helping the Wildcats narrow their halftime deficit to five at 42-37.

Central Washington quickly cut into the Wolves' lead and took a two-point edge on a lay-up by Davis just over three minutes into the second half. The Wildcats built a six-point lead on five different occasions in the stanza, and held the lead up until Nelson's basket in the closing minute, which gave WOU a 76-75 advantage.  CWU junior Jordan Coby (Tacoma, Wash./Wilson HS) missed a three-point shot with six seconds remaining, and a subsequent foul against the Wildcats led to the final two-point win for the Wolves.

"We have to be able to close games out, and we didn't do that," CWU head coach Greg Sparling said. "We need to do a better job of executing our game plan and play a little harder and smarter for 40 full minutes."

Western Oregon had a minimal shooting advantage over the Wildcats at 46.6 percent (27 of 58) from the field to Central's 44.4 percent mark (28 of 63). The Wolves were also especially efficient from behind the arc, where they shot 60.0 percent (9 of 15) while the Wildcats were just 7 of 25 (28.0 percent).

Tyler made three of Central's treys on the evening, and finished with 16 points and three assists. Coby and junior Jordan Starr (Yakima, Wash./A.C. Davis HS) both finished with 10 points.

Nelson led all scorers with 23 points on 10 of 14 shooting, and also led the Wolves with six rebounds. Also scoring in double figures for WOU were Blair Wheadon and Kyle Long, who each added 14 points.

Up next for the Wildcats is another GNAC opponent, as they host Saint Martin's University on Saturday (Dec. 3) at 7 p.m. at Nicholson Pavilion.
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