Second Half Scoring Surge Lead Wolves To Regional Final
Demetrius Trammell paced the second-half surge as he scored all 14 of his points in the period. Photo by Chris Oertell.
Demetrius Trammell paced the second-half surge as he scored all 14 of his points in the period. Photo by Chris Oertell.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon shook off a poor-shooting first half to blister the nets for 63 percent in the second half Saturday as the No. 1 seeded Wolves beat No. 5 seed Saint Martin’s, 77-55, in the semifinals of the NCAA Division II Men’s Basketball West Regional at the New P.E. Gymnasium.

Neither team shot well in the first half of a rematch of last week’s GNAC Championships final, with the Wolves going 10 of 31 from the field and the Saints going 8 of 23. Western Oregon closed strong, shooting 19 of 30 over the final 20 minutes and 8 of 14 from three-point range to secure its second trip to the regional final in three years.

With the win, Western Oregon improved to 31-1 on the season and tied the GNAC all-time record for wins in a season, accmplished by the 2011-12 and 2012-13 Western Washington teams and the 2015-16 Wolves. The victory also ran WOU’s win streak to 24 games.

Western Oregon will face No. 2 Cal Baptist in the regional final, which takes place on Monday at 7 p.m.

Demetrius Trammell came off the bench to lead a balanced WOU scoring attack with 14 points, all of which came in the second half. Tanner Omlid, Vince Boumann and JJ Chirnside each finished with 12 points. Omlid also tallied eight rebounds, seven assists and three steals.

Luke Chavez was the only Saint Martin’s player in double-figure scoring with 22 points as he connected on 8 of 15 from the field and 4 of 7 from three-point range. Matt Dahlen added nine points. The Saints saw their best season in the school’s Division II history end with a 25-8 overall record.

Saint Martin’s jumped out to the lead in the low-scoring first half, going up 13-5 on Tavian Henderson’s lay-in at the 10:50 mark. The Saints’ lead held until Brandell Evans’ three-pointer with 2:59 to go started a 6-2 Western Oregon run to close the half, It ended on a Darius Lubom lay-in with 1:08 left that gave the Wolves the 21-19 halftime lead.

Western Oregon opened the second half on a 9-4 run, which ended when Malik Morgan’s three-pointer opened up a 31-22 lead three minutes into the period. The Saints kept things close, coming back within 35-33 on Rhett Baerlocher’s short jumper at the 12:42 mark. Trammell’s jumper on the next possession opened up a 10-0 WOU run that opened the advantage up to 12 points, 45-33, with 10:47 to go.

A pair of Chavez free throws on SMU’s next possession snapped the run and Dahlen’s lay-in at the 8:45 mark snapped a two-minute scoring drought for both teams, but Western Oregon proceeded to score on its next seven trips down the floor, a run that ended when Chirnside’s rebound and tip-in with 4:38 left made it a 64-45 lead.