Lancers Put End To Western Oregon's Win Streak, Season
Western Oregon used defense to keep itself in the game despite running behind 10 points with 3:36 left. Photo by Chris Oertell.
Western Oregon used defense to keep itself in the game despite running behind 10 points with 3:36 left. Photo by Chris Oertell.

Monday, March 12, 2018

MONMOUTH, Ore. – A valiant comeback in the final minute fell just short Monday night as the No. 1 seed Western Oregon fell to No. 3 seed Cal Baptist, 80-76 in the NCAA Division II Men’s Basketball West Regional at the New P.E. Building.

After shooting just 38.7 percent from the field in the first half, the Wolves rebounded to make 18 of 39 in the second half and shot 42.9 percent for the game. Despite trailing by as much as 10 points with 3:36 to go, Western Oregon would come within two points with 22 seconds left, but the Wolves could not convert on their final possession.

Senior Ali Faruq-Bey led the Wolves with 26 points, 17 in the first half, on 10 of 20 from the field. Demetrius Trammell finished with 16 points while Tanner Omlid and Riley Hawken each finished with 11.

Kalidou Diouf, who was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, led Cal Baptist with 23 points as he made 9 of 17 from the field to go along with seven rebounds. Jordan Heading added 15 points and seven rebounds and Cory Lange finished with 14 points.

With the win, the Lancers advance as the West Region representative to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight, which begins next Monday in Sioux Falls, S.D. Western Oregon sees its conference championship season end with a 32-1 record, tying the GNAC single-season win record, and saw its 24-game win streak snapped.

Omlid and Heading were named to the All-Tournament Team and were joined by Saint Martin’s Luke Chavez and Azusa Pacific’s Petar Kutlesic.

Coming into the game shooting 50 percent from the field, the Wolves were limited to 30 percent in the opening 10 minutes. Despite solid defense by WOU, Cal Baptist opened up a 17-11 lead on Gabe Taylor’s putback at the 11:39 mark of the first half. Western Oregon went on a 6-0 run over the next three minutes, tying it at 17-17 on Hawken’s fastbreak lay-in with just under minutes left.

The Lancers turned the tide with a 10-2 run of their own over the next minute, culminating on Diouf’s free throw that opened up the largest lead of the period. 27-19, with seven minutes to go. The Wolves picked away slowly from there, with Faruq-Bey’s lay-in with 4:14 to go brought WOU back within a point. Back-to-back three-pointers from Taylor and Diouf proved a valuable four-point swing for CBU, allowing the visitors to go into halftime with a 35-30 lead.

True to what has been the team’s postseason form, Western Oregon found its shooting touch in the second half. After Taylor hit the half’s first basket, the Wolves went on a 7-0 run over the next two minutes and tied it at 37-37 on Malik Morgan’s dunk. Vince Boumann made it a three-point WOU lead at the 15:33 mark, but the Lancers went on a 17-5 run over the next five minutes, building a 55-48 lead on Diouf’s jumper at the midway point of the stanza before a pair of Dejon Davis free throws with 8:09 left gave the Lancers a 59-50 advantage with 8:09 left.

The Wolves bounced back with three points, 64-61, on Omlid’s tip-in with 5:44 left, but the Lancers used three-pointers from Lange and heading to build their largest lead of the game, 72-62, with 3:36 to go.

The CBU lead was still seven points with 42 seconds left when the Wolves made their late run. Trammell hit a three-pointer with 40 seconds left to make it a 77-73 game and, after Heading made one of two free throws, Trammell hit another three with 22 seconds left to bring the Wolves within 78-76. Western Oregon had two chances to tie or win late, but chances by Olmid and Faruq-Bey were short.