Men’s basketball catching fire


Samaad Hector leading the huddle. Photo by Jacob Thompson/Thompson Sports Media

Isaac Hinson, Sports Editor

After beginning the year with a record of 1-7, CWU men’s basketball has caught fire and won seven of their last ten games and found themselves in the midst of a four game winning streak. 

Junior forward Samaad Hector cites the team’s chemistry and grit as the spark that reignited their season. 

“We know we’re a good defensive and offensive team,” Hector said. “We’re finding a way to put those two pieces together for 40-plus minutes by playing for the guy next to you … We’ve been in the trenches. Going through all that adversity has made us a better team. We’ve dug a little deeper into places we’ve never been before.”

Hector thinks the team still has tricks up their sleeve, and is excited to finally be able to show CWU fans what the team has been working on. 

“We’re better than what we’ve shown the people of Ellensburg,” Hector said. “[That’s] put a bit of a chip on our shoulders. I’ve never played in the Pavilion in my life … People who have played in this program say it gets packed … I’m excited to get back in front of our fans in front of our home base and I’m ready to put on a show for everybody.”

This season has been a story of two halves and according to Hector, a 73 point win against Evergreen State College on Dec. 12 marked the shift for the team. 

“That was really the start of the turning point for us,” Hector said. “That kind of gave us a little bit of confidence. We’d been able to do that, but we hadn’t all year so that was kind of the bar that we set for ourselves.”

After that 73 point victory, the team’s offense started rolling and hasn’t looked back. Immediately following that game, the Wildcats beat Langara College by 68, and went on to win four of their next seven games. 

Hector recognizes the offensive outburst as a key reason to the team’s recently sustained success. 

“We’ve been building off of shooting the ball a bit better,” Hector said. “Our percentages have gone up. I know I started the season off not so great knowing what I’m capable of. Everybody’s numbers are a little bit higher … We’re getting to our natural form with how we’re playing, I think that is going to be really good for us in the long run.” 

The goal for the team for the rest of the season according to Hector is straightforward: Win. 

“The team goal is we just want to keep winning games,” Hector said. “We want to keep getting 1% better each day. We’re gonna keep getting better because the problem is, Western Washington is going to keep getting better, NNU [Northwest Nazarene University] is going to keep getting better, everybody’s going to keep getting better.” 

“We just have to continue to fight and play hard and whatever mistakes that we make on the offensive or defensive end it can be made up for with some effort,” Hector said.

CWU saw victories against Western Washington University and NNU on Jan. 14 and Jan. 19 respectively. The Wildcats will welcome Seattle Pacific University to the newly-open Nicholson Pavilion on Jan. 26 at 7:30 p.m. for their first home game of the season.