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Wildcats Embark on Final Road Trip of the Season

by Staff

ELLENSBURG, Wash. – Central Washington men’s basketball (15-8, 8-6 GNAC) gears up for its final road trip of the season. The ‘Cats travel to face Simon Fraser (6-20, 4-11 GNAC) on Thursday and then head down to Bellingham, Washington, for the second installment of the heated rivalry against Western Washington (14-12, 6-9 GNAC) on Saturday.

GAME INFO

Thursday, February 22

7:00 p.m. Pacific Time

Central Washington at Simon Fraser

West Gym

Burnaby, B.C.

WATCH LIVE STATS TICKETS

 

Saturday, February 24

7:00 p.m. Pacific Time

Central Washington at Western Washington

Carver Gym

Bellingham, Washington

WATCH LIVE STATS TICKETS

 

QUOTING HEAD COACH BRANDON RINTA

“Our last road trip of the conference season will have a lot on the line. As a team, we need to find another level of play to give ourselves a chance to win these road contests.”

 

GREAT NORTHWEST ATHLETIC CONFERENCE (GNAC) PLAYOFF OUTLOOK

Montana State Billings, Saint Martin’s, and Northwest Nazarene have punched their tickets to the GNAC Tournament in Ellensburg on March 7th-9th.

 

With two weeks left in the regular season, here is what the GNAC playoff picture looks like for Central Washington, Simon Fraser, and Western Washington. The Wildcats are in fourth with an 8-6 record and have a slight advantage over Alaska Anchorage (7-7, 5th) and Seattle Pacific (7-8, 6th). The Red Leafs need a miracle sitting at ninth (4-11) in the conference with two more losses than Alaska Fairbanks at 5-9.

 

If the tournament started today, Western Washington would be the first team out. The Vikings are seventh in the conference with a 6-9 record. They are a game behind Seattle Pacific and two games behind Alaska Anchorage in fifth place.

 

SCOUTING THE RED LEAFS 

Simon Fraser is 6-20 overall and 4-11 in conference play. The Red Leafs suffered a pair of setbacks last week, first falling to Alaska Anchorage 83-81 in double overtime and then losing 74-71 at Alaska Fairbanks.

 

David Penney, Zach Stone, and Irish Coquia each scored 16 points in the Red Leaf’s double overtime loss. On Saturday, Penney put up a team-high 18 points against Alaska Fairbanks.

 

Penney leads the team in scoring, averaging 12.5 points per game and has a team-high 85 assists this season. Elliot Dimaculangan also averages double figures putting up 11.5 points per contest and has made 38 from beyond the arc this season.

 

Simon Fraser is a tough defensive team and leads the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) in blocks averaging 4.1 a game. Zach Stone is the main paint protector and has 23 blocks this season. Georges Lefebvre and Sasha Vujisic aren’t far behind with 19 blocks apiece.  

 

The Red Leafs average 68 points per game, shoot 42% from the floor, and 33% from beyond the arc.

 

SCOUTING THE VIKINGS

Western Washington is on the outside looking in ranked seventh in the GNAC. The Vikings are 14-12 overall and 6-9 in conference play. The past weeks have not been kind to Western Washington. On February 10th, the Vikings fell 88-83 at home to Montana State Billings. Last week, WWU suffered two road losses, 94-82 to Fairbanks and 71-69 to Anchorage.

 

The Vikings’ best player is Kai Johnson. Kai averages 21.6 points per game, shoots 51.6% from the field, and has a team-high 21 blocks. Will Wilson (15.3 ppg) and Jonathan Ned (13 ppg) highlight the other five Vikings averaging double digits.

 

Western Washington has four players who have made at least 35 three pointers this season: Kai Johnson (35), Will Wilson (43), Jonathan Ned (43), and Tijan Saine (35). The variety of scoring threats that Western possesses has led them to a GNAC leading 89.3 points per game.

 

LAST TIME OUT

Central Washington stumbled last Saturday losing 56-46 in a defensive battle against Northwest Nazarene. In the loss, Bradley Swillie led the ‘Cats, scoring 14 points.

 

Jello Lloyd and Samaad Hector are the teams leading scorers averaging 13.2 and 13.1 ppg, respectively.

 

Hector is also leading in rebounds and blocks. He has corralled 190 rebounds and has 30 blocks this season. Samaad’s 30 blocks, 1.4 per game is the best in the GNAC.

 

The three main sharpshooters for CWU are Lloyd, Hector, and McNeil. Jello Lloyd has been a highlight reel from beyond the arc with 49 makes. Camron McNeil and Samaad Hector have each made 24 from deep this season.

 

The ‘Cats are averaging 77 points per game while holding their opponents to 68.

 

UP NEXT

The Wildcats return to Nicholson Arena next week and close out the regular season against #17 Saint Martin’s and Western Oregon.

 

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