BY DILLON PETERSON, Staff Reporter
With four games left in the regular season, the Central Washington University men’s basketball team has one of its biggest road trips of the year ahead of them.
Central goes on the road to face Simon Fraser University today, and Western Washington University on Saturday.
“Both teams are very good on their floors and it is going to be a huge challenge,” head coach Greg Sparling said.
Central currently sits at 11-11 overall and 7-7 in Great Northwest Athletic Conference play.
The Wildcats are coming off two home losses and will head on the road before coming home for the final two games in the regular season.
First, the team will travel up to Canada to play Simon Fraser today, a team they beat at home earlier in
the year. The Clan are 9-13 overall and are last place in the GNAC standings at 2-12.
After Thursday’s game, they will head south to Bellingham to face Western Washington University. The Vikings sit at 16-6 overall and are second place in the conference at 10-4.
Simon Fraser, who Central blew out 96-79 last time they came Ellensburg, is really good at shooting threes and spreading the floor out. They are third in the GNAC in 3-point percentage.
Even though they suffered a loss on the road, it will be a game that the Wildcats will not take lightly.
“We have to really D up because [Simon Fraser] can score and really hang with teams,” sophomore guard Jordan Russell said. “They almost beat Western, so we just got to be ready to play when we go in there.”
Senior guard Mark McLaughlin had a season high of 43 points at home last time he played Simon Fraser.
McLaughlin will be a huge focus, Simon Fraser’s coach said in a press release the last time the two
Central then heads to Western, where they haven’t won since 2008.
Western sits at second place in the GNAC standings. Last time the two teams met in Ellensburg, it was a close 94-99 loss after Central led by two at halftime.
“We can’t give confidence. Once we give Western confidence they just roll the whole game,” senior center Kevin Davis said. “We owe them one at home.”
Not only did Western barely come out with a win, but these two teams carry out a long rivalry. Western also only has one loss at home this year, so it’s going to be a hard-fought battle for Central.
“We are just going to come ready to play, beat them and try and get our ranks up in the GNAC,” Russell said.
Senior guard Richard Woodworth of Western scored 28 points last time the teams met, leading the team in points. With the Vikings being at home, the advantage will be on Western’s side this time.
“It will be a tough road swing, a tough road swing no if ands about it,” Sparling said. “We need our seniors to step up and we just have to defend, defend, defend.”
The game may be away but Wildcat fans can watch the game at wildcatsports.com or tune into KXLE-AM 1240.