Late lead evaporates in Wildcats' 75-70 loss to Northwest Nazare - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Late lead evaporates in Wildcats' 75-70 loss to Northwest Nazarene

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By Sammy Henderson

NAMPA, Idaho -- Sophomore Lacy Haddock (Las Vegas, Nev./Sierra Vista HS) led five Wildcats in double figures with 14 points on 6 of 7 shooting, but the Central Washington University men's basketball team squandered a late-game lead and fell to Northwest Nazarene University, 75-70, on Saturday evening at the Johnson Sports Center.

The Wildcats evened their overall record to 10-10 and fell one game behind NNU (11-9, 5-7 GNAC) in the race for sixth place. Saturday's loss also marks the first time in the head-to-head series history that CWU has been swept by the Crusaders in a two-game season series, as NNU won 98-96 in Ellensburg on Jan. 7.

Central Washington shot 52 percent from the field in the first half en route to a 38-33 halftime advantage. The Wildcats trailed for the first 10 minutes of the game, but a 12-4 run that was capped by a one-handed dunk by sophomore Kevin Davis (Federal Way, Wash./Todd Beamer HS) at the 7:04 mark helped Central gain its first advantage of the contest, and they held the lead for the remainder of the half.

Northwest Nazarene scored the first four points of the second half to cut the deficit to one, but the Wildcats responded to take a seven-point lead (54-47) at the 11:58 mark. Nine minutes later, the Crusaders took their first lead (64-63) since the first half, and the teams then traded baskets as Haddock gave CWU a one-point edge on a steal and fast-break dunk. NNU answered with a three-pointer to take a 67-66 lead with 1:05 left, and after a turnover of the following possession, the Wildcats were forced to send the Crusaders to the foul line where they scored six of their final eight points to take the final five-point advantage.

After their first-half marksmanship, the Wildcats finished the contest with a 42.5 shooting percentage, and were 4 of 11 from three point territory. Northwest Nazarene shot 46.2 percent from the field for the game. Both teams excelled at the free throw line, as Central sank 20 of its 25 attempts while NNU made 20 of 22.

Senior Jody Johnson (Seattle, Wash./Franklin HS) earned his sixth double-double of the season with 13 points and 12 rebounds. Junior Jordan Coby (Tacoma, Wash./Wilson HS) scored 12, and senior Toussaint Tyler (Kent, Wash./Kentwood HS) and Davis both added 11 points. Senior Roby Clyde (Connell, Wash./Pasco HS) had a season-high six blocked shots and scored all seven of his points in the first half.

Northwest Nazarene center JB Pillard had a big game, as he scored 19 of his game-high 21 points in the second half and was 9 of 11 from the field. Guards Anthony Golden and Jonathan Hawkins scored 15 and 13 points, respectively, for the Crusaders.

Central Washington will play its next two contests on the road, first visiting Montana State University Billings on Feb. 9 (7 p.m. MST), followed by a match-up against Seattle Pacific University at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 11.
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