CWU Men's Basketball Keeps Hopes Alive, Beat SPU 70-69 - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

CWU Men's Basketball Keeps Hopes Alive, Beat SPU in 70-69 Thriller

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by Sammy Henderson, CWU Athletic Media Relations Assistant

 
LACEY, Wash. (Feb. 29) -- Junior Jordan Coby (Tacoma, Wash./Wilson HS) scored 18 points to lead the Central Washington University men's basketball team to a 70-69 victory over 25th-ranked Seattle Pacific University in the quarterfinal round of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Championship Tournament held on Wednesday at Marcus Pavilion on the Saint Martin's University campus.

The sixth-seeded Wildcats improved to 15-12 on the season and defeated the Falcons for the first time this season after being swept during the regular season. Seattle Pacific will head into the NCAA Division II tournament next weekend with a 21-7 record.

Coby scored 15 of his points in the second half, when at one point he scored 13 consecutive points for the Wildcats.

The game was hard-fought with 17 ties and 12 lead changes, and neither team led by more than five points in the contest.

It was a close battle for the majority of the first half, as neither team led by more than three points within the first 12:04 of the half. SPU went on a small 5-0 run to take a five-point lead at the 7:34 mark in the half, but Central Washington responded by going on a 6-0 run to take a 24-23 advantage with 5:30 remaining in the opening period. The Wildcats outscored the Falcons 11-8 in the closing minutes to take a 35-31 halftime lead.

The Falcons shot 57.1 percent from the field in the first half, but the Wildcats forced 11 turnovers and outscored SPU 11-4 from the free throw line.

By the first media timeout of the second half at the 15:56 mark, the Wildcats still held a four-point advantage at 40-36. However, by the time the second media timeout arrived four minutes later, Central Washington found itself trailing 44-42. Seattle Pacific's advantage grew to five points, but a Coby trey with 3:42 left knotted the game at 61-61. 

After SPU took a one-point lead, senior Jody Johnson (Seattle, Wash./Franklin HS) hit a three-pointer with 1:22 left, but the Falcons answered with a three of their own with 57 seconds left in the game to take a 69-68 lead. On the following possession, sophomore Lacy Haddock (Las Vegas, Nev./Sierra Vista HS) attempted a desperation three-pointer with two seconds left on the shot clock and was fouled by a Falcon defender. Haddock made two of three from the line to give the Wildcats a one-point advantage. With 23 seconds left, SPU missed a jump shot and senior Roby Clyde (Connell, Wash./Pasco HS) grabbed the rebound and was fouled with 5.2 seconds left, but the forward missed both free throws but the Falcons over threw their outlet pass and the Wildcats escaped with the 70-69 victory.

The Wildcat defense was stifling in the second half as the Falcons finished with a 47.8 field goal percentage, almost 10 percentage points below their first-half total. The Wildcats forced 18 total turnovers in the game and converted those miscues into 21 points. The Wildcats finished with a 42.0 percent shooting percentage and outscored SPU by two at the free throw line.

Central Washington was outrebounded 33-26 but took full advantage of all its offensive rebounds scoring 14 second-chance points on eight offensive boards.

In addition to Coby, Haddock and Johnson added 11 points each with Haddock, adding a game-high six assists.

SPU was led by David Downs who had 20 points, 12 of which came from the charity stripe where he missed just two attempts. Andy Poling added 19 points for the Falcons.

Central Washington will continue its run in the GNAC tournament with a Friday (Mar. 2) matchup with the second-seeded Alaska Anchorage at noon.
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