CWU wins third straight game with important victory over Northwest Nazarene University

Austin Lane, Sports Editor

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After a 5-15 conference record in the GNAC last season, CWU Men’s Basketball are now 6-7 and find themselves just one and a half games behind three teams in the GNAC for a spot in the playoffs. The Wildcats ended a seven-game winning streak for Northwest Nazarene University (NNU), by a score of 64-59 on Tuesday night. 

The first half was back and forth, with five lead changes. The largest lead either team had in the first half was six points, when NNU got out to a 24-18 lead with four minutes left in the half. That lead disappeared with an 8-0 run by CWU, with six of the points coming on free throws. At the break, NNU led 30-28.

The second half featured the same headlines as the first half. There were seven lead changes in the second half. With 3:07 left on the clock, NNU held a 59-54 lead. CWU was the only team to score from then on, going on a 10-0 run to end the game. The clutch run featured a three by senior guard Davon Bolton, a steal and offensive rebound by sophomore forward Matt Poquette, a steal by senior guard Gamaun Boykin and seven made free throws.

CWU shot 36.7% from the field, but knocked down 21 out of their 24 free throw attempts. Senior guard Jeryn Lucas had his second-best scoring night of the season, with 28 points. 

“That was a tough one,” Lucas said. “Coach was just preaching to us to be mentally tough and I think that’s what got the dub today.”

Lucas shot 50% from beyond the three-point arc and made eight out of nine shots from the free throw line. Poquette led CWU with seven rebounds on the night.

“This team just seems to continue to get better,” Rinta said. “It hasn’t always been pretty. There was definitely some bumps early, but this team persevered and stuck together.”

With the win, CWU has won three straight, and four out of their last five. They are now one and a half games behind Western Oregon, Alaska Anchorage and Alaska Fairbanks, who are all 7-5 in conference play. These three teams are also occupying the last three spots in the playoffs, so CWU will have to continue their hot streak to find themselves back in the postseason after missing the GNAC tournament last year. The Wildcats take on Montana State University Billings (4-8) on Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. in the Nicholson Pavilion.