Charitable Contributions: WOU Uses Free Throws To Advance
Freshman guard Qiant Myers scored 10 points in the game and went 6 of 6 from the free-throw line. Photo by Ron Smith.
Freshman guard Qiant Myers scored 10 points in the game and went 6 of 6 from the free-throw line. Photo by Ron Smith.

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

LACEY, Wash. – While Western Washington controlled the game from the field, Western Oregon won it at the free-throw line.

The No. 9 seeded Wolves made 24 of 27 from the free-throw line Wednesday, using the performance from the stripe to take a 70-59 victory from the No. 8 seeded Vikings in the first round of the GNAC Men’s Basketball Championships at Marcus Pavilion.

Neither team shot well from the field on the night. Western Oregon finished shooting at 37.5 percent and was just 4 of 17 from three-point range. Western Washington shot 36.4 percent, making three more from the field than WOU, and was just 2 of 21 from beyond the arc.

The Wolves surged over the second half to secure the win, outscoring WWU 43-33 after halftime while going 20 of 23 from the line.

Senior guard Tyreek Price led Western Oregon with 14 points while junior forward John Morrill-Keeler had a double-double of 10 points and 14 rebounds. Freshman guard Qiant Myers had six of his 10 points from the free-throw line while junior guard Daisone Hughes went 7 of 8 from the line and finished with nine points.

Junior guard Lucas Holden played all 40 minutes for Western Washington, finishing with 13 points. Sophomore guard D’Angelo Minnis also scored 13 points while junior guard/forward Jalen Green had a double-double of 10 points and 12 rebounds.

With the win, the Wolves (8-17) will face No. 2 seed Northwest Nazarene in the quarterfinals on Thursday at 5:15 p.m. in Lacey. Western Washington sees its season end with a 14-14 overall record.

After a tight first three minutes of the game, Western Oregon used a pair of Myers free throws to spark a 9-0 run, which culminated on a fastbreak lay-in by Myers that opened a 14-5 lead six minutes into the game. Senior forward Dakota Ayala then sparked a 7-0 Vikings run in response, ending on a three-point play by freshman guard Kai Johnson that brought WWU within 14-12 at the 11:34 mark.

The teams traded leads for the rest of the half. Western Washington had the biggest lead during that stretch, going up 26-22 on Ayala’s lay-up with 1:17 left. The Wolves scored the final points on the half with Price converting on a three-pointer and a short jumper in the final minute to give Western Oregon the 27-26 lead.

Western Washington kept it close over the first seven minutes of the second half. With the score tied 34-34, Wolves’ sophomore guard Antonio Salinas nailed a three-pointer which ignited a 9-0 run that ended on a pair of Myers free throws that put WOU ahead 43-34 with 11:12 to go. The Vikings closed back to within five on Holden’s three-point play at the midway point of the stanza. The score was 47-42 with 7:32 left before the Wolves took over, outscoring WWU 12-2 over the next three minutes to build the winning margin.