Wildcats Continue Playoff Push, Named Team Of The Week
The Central Washington bench scored 76 points in the two games, including 41 points in Thursday's 67-56 win over Montana State Billings.
The Central Washington bench scored 76 points in the two games, including 41 points in Thursday's 67-56 win over Montana State Billings.

Monday, February 10, 2020

PORTLAND, Ore. – With just three weeks remaining in the GNAC men’s basketball regular season, a new team has emerged in the GNAC Championships conversation.

The Central Washington men’s basketball team ended its four-game homestand with a 64-59 victory over a red-hot Northwest Nazarene team on Tuesday and a 67-56 win over Montana State Billings on Thursday as the Wildcats continue their playoff push and earn GNAC Team of the Week honors.

Central Washington shot just 36.7 percent from the field against NNU but outscored the Nighthawks 36-29 in the second half to escape with the win and snap the Nighthawks’ seven-game win streak. The Wildcats then put together a complete game against MSUB, connecting on 42.4 percent from the field and 50 percent from three-point range while scoring 41 points off the bench.

“That was a big-time gutsy win by our guys,” head coach Brandon Rinta said about Tuesday’s win over the Nighthawks. “It wasn’t pretty. Any time you can shoot 36 or 37 percent from the floor and still win shows toughness.”

Senior guard Jeryn Lucas led the Wildcats with 55 points in the two games, connecting on 64.3 percent from the field, 68.8 percent from three-point range and 88.9 percent from the free-throw line. Lucas opened the week with a game-high 28 points to go with five rebounds against the Nighthawks, making 8 of 16 from the field, 4 of 8 from outside and 8 of 9 from the free-throw line. He finished the week with 27 points against the Yellowjackets on 10 of 12 from the field and 7 of 8 from beyond the arc to lead all scorers. Lucas ranks 17th in the GNAC in scoring with 13.3 points per game and eighth with a .433 three-point percentage.

Fellow senior guard Davon Bolton recorded a pair of 10-point games on the week as he shot 43.8 percent from the field, 37.5 percent from three-point range and 75 percent from the free-throw line. He connected on 3 of 6 from the field, 2 of 3 from deep and 2 of 2 from the free-throw line while adding four assists, a rebound and a steal against the Nighthawks in his top performance of the week.

Junior guard Xavier Smith finished the week with totals of 14 points, 12 rebounds, two assists and a steal. His week was highlighted by an eight-point, eight-rebound game against the Yellowjackets. Smith ranks 11th in the GNAC with a .819 free throw percentage.

Senior guard Gamaun Boykin scored 10 points to go with three rebounds and a steal off the bench in the 11-point win over the Yellowjackets. He also contributed three rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block against the Nighthawks.

“That’s a tough stretch of opponents to play but, thankfully, we were at home for all four,” Rinta said. “Credit to our guys for pulling out wins like that.”

Central Washington has won four straight games to improve to 14-8 overall and sits in a tie for sixth place with Alaska Anchorage with a 7-7 conference mark. Up next, the Wildcats will head to Alaska to play the Nanooks on Thursday and the Seawolves on Saturday.

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