Wildcat men's basketball team drops third straight - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Wildcat men's basketball team drops third straight

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By Sammy Henderson
 
ELLENSBURG, Wash. -- Central Washington University senior Jody Johnson (Seattle, Wash./Franklin HS) scored a career-high 26 points, missing just one shot, but the Wildcat men's basketball team shot just 67.5 percent from the free throw line in a 98-96 loss to visiting Northwest Nazarene University on Saturday night at Nicholson Pavilion.

The Wildcats dropped their third straight game, falling to 7-6 on the season and 1-4 in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference. The Crusaders improve to 8-5, 2-3 in the GNAC.

Johnson was 7 of 8 from the field, 12 of 16 from the free throw line, and added five rebounds and three assists in just 25 minutes of play. Sophomore Lacy Haddock (Las Vegas, Nev./Sierra Vista HS) also had a productive night for the Wildcats, adding 24 points and six assists.

The first half produced 12 ties and six lead changes, as neither team was able to gain separation on the scoreboard, with the Crusaders' largest lead reaching six points and the Wildcats' at five. Despite Central's 61.5 percent shooting in the first half, the Crusaders scratched their way to a 47-47 halftime tie.

Central used an 11-4 run to build a seven-point lead just over two minutes into the second half. The Wildcats led for the first 11:06 of the second half before the Crusaders scored back-to-back layups to take a 78-76 advantage, and the visitors held the lead for the remainder of the game. Central Washington cut the NNU lead to one point twice in the final eight minutes of action, including with just 11.8 seconds on the clock on a layup by senior Roby Clyde (Connell, Wash./Pasco HS). The Wildcats forced a turnover on the Crusaders' ensuing inbound pass to regain possession with 9.8 seconds on the clock, but the Wildcats' attempt to regain the lead fell short as they turned the ball over with 1.1 seconds remaining. After Crusader guard Jonathan Hawkins made one of two free throw attempts, Haddock launched a shot from just inside the mid-court line that hit the front of the rim, allowing NNU to escape with the final two-point advantage.

Although the Wildcats outshot the Crusaders 53.4 percent (31 of 58) to 48.5 percent (33 of 68), they were less efficient from the free throw line, where they made just 27 of 40 attempts, while Northwest Nazarene made 81.5 percent (22 of 27).

Central was outrebounded (30-36) for just the third time all season, and allowed NNU to grab 15 offensive rebounds which they converted into 22 second-chance points.

Both junior Jordan Coby (Tacoma, Wash./Wilson HS) and sophomore Kevin Davis (Federal Way, Wash./Todd Beamer HS) gave the Wildcats a spark of the bench, scoring 11 and 10 points, respectively. Clyde had one of the best all-around games of his career with seven points, four rebounds, five blocked shots, and a career-high five assists.

Hawkins and Michal Kurimsky tied for top scoring honors for the Crusaders with 21 points apiece, followed by Anthony Golden and JB Pillard, who scored 18 and 12 points, respectively.

Central Washington remains home for a pair of games next week, hosting Seattle Pacific on Thursday (Jan. 12) and Montana State Billings on Saturday (Jan. 14). Both games are scheduled for 7 p.m. starts at Nicholson Pavilion.
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