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Wolves Trample Trailblazers For Team Of The Week Honors
The Wolves are undefeated against non-conference opponents and will return to conference play before the new year.
The Wolves are undefeated against non-conference opponents and will return to conference play before the new year.

Monday, December 23, 2019

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Western Oregon men’s basketball team played just one game last week but it sure was a big one as the Wolves toppled Dixie State, 91-75, to close out their non-conference schedule on Friday in Monmouth and earn selection as the GNAC Team of the Week.

Western Oregon got off to a hot start and carried a 13-point lead into halftime. The Wolves never looked back as they traded punches with Dixie in the second half to preserve their first win since Nov. 30 while also snapping the Trailblazers’ 10-game winning streak.

“We had a great week of practice and preparation leading up to this,” first-year head coach Wes Pifer said. “For the most part, we did our best with taking away Dixie’s ability to do what they needed to do.”

The Trailblazers entered the week ranked No. 5 in the latest Division II Sports Information Directors of America (D2SIDA) rankings and No. 6 in the latest National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) poll. A convincing win over a top-10 team puts the Wolves on the map in Division II men's basketball.

The Wolves shot 45.3 percent from the field, 41.2 percent from three-point range and 95 percent from the free throw line. The Wolves erupted in the second half, making 15 of 28 from the field and 6 of 13 from outside.

“One of the things I’m most proud of is that we made 19 of 20 from the free throw line,” Pifer said. “For us to step up and put away a very good Dixie State team is a big moment.”

Four Wolves scored in double digits, including three players who scored 20 or more points. Senior guard Jaylyn Richardson finished just short of a double-double with 27 points and nine rebounds to go with three steals, an assist and a block. Richardson connected on 11 of 17 from the field, 3 of 6 from three-point range and 2 of 2 from the free throw line.

Senior guard Dalven Brushier scored 22 points and added five rebounds, two assists and a steal while sophomore forward Cameron Cranston contributed 20 points and three assists. Junior guard Darius Lubom also tacked on 12 points, shooting 50 percent from the field and 40 percent from outside.

Western Oregon improved to 6-2 overall and bounced back from two losses in its opening week of conference play. The Wolves finished with a perfect 6-0 non-conference record and will return to conference play for their final game of 2019 as they host in-state foe Concordia on New Year’s Eve.

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