Wildcat comeback falls just short in thriller against rival Vikings

Courtesy of CWU Athletic Department

Courtesy of CWU Athletic Department

Austin Bennett, Assistant Sports Editor

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Central suffered a devastating loss to rival Western Washington University (WWU) tonight. WWU had a 21-point lead in the second half then Central went on a 24-5 run to bring them within four points late in the game.

Central quickly made it a two-point game with a few vital defensive stops and transition buckets.

After a timeout, and with 40 seconds left on the clock, WWU inbounded the ball to their redshirt freshman guard Trey Drechsel who caught the ball and was then trapped by senior forward Joseph Stroud and senior forward Chris-Michael Garret. The ball was then tipped and it looked like the ball bounced off Drechsel’s knee.

The ref’s initial call was WWU basketball, however, the call was quickly changed by the referee to Wildcat ball. The referees then met at the score table to discuss the call. The refs switched the call back to WWU basketball, who then scored on that possession.

“At the end of the day, it’s just frustrating. We’re grown men here we need to step up and make our free throws,” head coach Greg Sparling said.

The Wildcats were down three taking the game down to one final possession with just seconds left on the clock. Senior guard Gary Jacobs, who had already scored 24 points, had one last look from three-point range, but the shot fell short bouncing off the front of the rim.

Central fouled WWU on their next possession and the Vikings sealed the game with two made free throws at the end.

The Wildcats showed they can be a resilient team tonight despite the loss, and Stroud had a career-high 34 points.

“Those guys showed heart, the whole locker room showed a lot of heart,” senior guard Gary Jacobs said. “It’s hard to come back from 21, it’s nutsy…you got to take that and just continue to improve.”

Despite the controversial call at the end of the game, the Wildcats gave up 20 points off turnovers and went 14-of-26 from the free throw line. Comparatively, the Vikings went 23-of-28 from the line.

“It really hurts, it does, but we just got to get better from it, we got a tough road swing coming up … we got to move forward,” Sparling said.

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Wildcat comeback falls just short in thriller against rival Vikings