Wildcats get stung by Yellowjacks
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With CWU men’s basketball and Montana State Billings both sitting with a record of 7-6 in conference play this game was bound to have some excitement. The final score had something else to say about that.
Junior guard Jawan Stepney got off to a hot start scoring 12 of the first 21 points for the Wildcats.
The first half was close throughout, with teams trading off the lead.
CWU took advantage of their second chance points, out-rebounding the Yellowjackets on both offense and defense in the first half. At the end of the first half the score was 42-38 with the YellowJackets in the lead.
The Yellowjackets came out of the half hot, stretching their lead to 11 in the opening minutes. Sophomore forward Preston Beverly for the Yellowjackets was a big factor to this lead, scoring 23 points early in the second period.
“Our plan was to run them off the line, not let them shoot threes. That’s what they are best at,” Stepney said.
The Yellowjackets opened up the second period shooting 7-9 from 3-point range after only shooting a total of 9 three-point shots in the first quarter.
“They made 14 threes, and that’s a lot of points that add up,” junior center Fuquan Niles said. “They scored 54 points in the second half and that’s a lot of points.”
The YellowJackets continued to stay hot throughout the second half eventually building their lead by 32 points towards the end of the game. The final score was 96-69 with Montana State heading home with a victory.
“The biggest thing was communication tonight, because in the first half when they are in front of our bench, the coaches are doing a lot of the talking on the defensive side then when they go away from us we need to make sure our guys are talking,” head coach Greg Sparling said.
CWU has five games left in conference and has goals for a playoff push.
“We got 5 games left in conference and we need to take it one at a time and we got to do our best job of cleaning up the defense,” Sparling said.
CWU’s main focus is work on their defense and find a way to make it work most effectively.
“It’s just about us playing defense at the end of the day, like we can talk about it and try to make adjustments but we all need to have heart and play defense.” Niles said.
With the loss this puts CWU at a five game losing streak and moves them to 7-7 in conference play. CWU’s next game is away at Saint Martin’s University on Feb. 9.