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The Observer

Men’s basketball to miss 2019 postseason

Men%E2%80%99s+basketball+will+look+to+close+out+their+season+with+one+final+homestand+when+they+host+Seattle+Pacific%0AUniversity+on+Feb.+28%2C+followed+by+Saint+Martin%E2%80%99s+University+on+March+2.
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Men’s basketball to miss 2019 postseason

Men’s basketball will look to close out their season with one final homestand when they host Seattle Pacific
University on Feb. 28, followed by Saint Martin’s University on March 2.

Men’s basketball will look to close out their season with one final homestand when they host Seattle Pacific University on Feb. 28, followed by Saint Martin’s University on March 2.

Men’s basketball will look to close out their season with one final homestand when they host Seattle Pacific University on Feb. 28, followed by Saint Martin’s University on March 2.

Men’s basketball will look to close out their season with one final homestand when they host Seattle Pacific University on Feb. 28, followed by Saint Martin’s University on March 2.

Dez Rodriguez, Assistant Sports Editor

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The CWU men’s basketball team faced many obstacles at the start of the 2018-2019 season. Newly hired head coach Brandon Rinta embarked on his first year at CWU after previously coaching at Lewis-Clark State College for seven seasons. He started by revamping the roster, bringing 10 new faces to the team including true freshmen Zellie Hudson, Lewis Pope, Matt Poquette and Marcus Austin, all of which have contributed to a young roster filled with high potential for next season.

“We have a solid core of young guys that were thrown into the fire this year,” Rinta said. “They have kept improving all year and I think it’s only going to pay off in the long run.”

As it sits now, CWU is 11-15 overall and 5-13 in the GNAC with only two games left to play in the season. Only the top six teams at the end of the regular season get a berth to the GNAC Basketball Championships in Bellingham, Washington beginning March 7. Unfortunately, CWU’s record won’t be good enough to earn a bid this season.

The team is averaging 81.1 points per game, setting them at third in the GNAC. However, they’re tenth in the conference defensively, giving up 81.1 points per game while being outrebounded 36.8 to 33.5. These are two main focuses that Rinta will continue to build on for next season.

“I think the emphasis that we’ve had all year has been defending and rebounding,” Rinta said. “That’s probably the biggest area that we need to improve on going forward.”

Junior newcomers Gamaun Boykin (12.3) and Jeryn Lucas (11.7) lead the team in points per game. For the freshmen, Poquette and Hudson have appeared in all 26 games so far, while Austin and Pope are right behind them with 25. The team has a promising future, with only three seniors set to graduate this June.

“This is one of the closest teams I’ve had since I’ve been playing basketball,” Pope said. “Right now, I’m just trying to learn as much as I can from the seniors because they’ve been through all of this.”

The team finishes their regular season at home vs Seattle Pacific University (Feb. 28) and Saint Martin’s University (March 2), two teams that have already clinched a playoff berth. Coming down the stretch, Poquette believes the strong bond the team has built will finish strong and continue through next season with the addition of incoming recruits.

“For having a completely new team at the start of the year, it felt like we’ve been playing together our whole lives,” Poquette said. “It’s been really fun getting to play with these group of guys.”

No matter where the team finishes in the standings at the end of the season, the experiences the young team has gone through together will help to build strong chemistry on and off of the court.

“We’re going to have a better feel moving to next year with who can do what and what people’s roles are going to be,” Rinta said.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Men’s basketball to miss 2019 postseason”

  1. Big Zell on March 5th, 2019 5:12 pm

    I’m proud of this brand new team. Love Coach Rinta and Staff.

    I’m really excited about the experience for next year with the current Juniors, Sophomores, and Freshmen. Next year will be fun! Let’s just put in the work this Spring & Summer!

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