ELLENSBURG, Wash. – Central Washington Men’s Basketball lost 66-71 to Saint Martin’s in a hard-fought battle. Saint Martin’s capitalized on their good shooting early, shooting 40% from the field and converting five threes in the first half to claim the win.
QUOTING FROM HEAD COACH BRANDON RINTA
“I was really impressed with our defense tonight. They’re a talented offensive team and we were able to keep them less than 40% off the ground. It was missed free throws that hurt us more than anything tonight.”
HOW IT HAPPENED
Shakeem Alcindor deflated a jumper to start the game. After that, the Wildcats went on a 6-2 run. Thompson Tyke and Christian Haffner scored back-to-back threes for the Saints. With 1:56 at halftime, the Saints took a 21-31 lead. Isaiah Banks conceded in a layup to end the half and cut the Saints’ lead to 8 before going on the break. Central Washington was freezing off the field and beyond the arc in the first half. They shot 27.8% on 10-36 from the field. The Wildcats converted 2-13 from the three-point line. The Saints went 11-27 out of the field, shooting 40% and dumping five from beyond the arc.
The Crimson and Black clawed back in the second half, a jumper from Banks and a Trey by Camron McNeil started the offensive. The Saints were up for the challenge of answering each basket. Matt Pocket and Samad Hector Hit back-to-back jumper. A layup by McNeil and a jumper over Freddie Brown III cut the deficit to three, 41-44 with 9:15 remaining. Brock Gilberts Free throw gave Central the 45-44 lead with 8:39 left. Jaden Nielsen-Skinner held off the ‘Cats’ comeback on the stretch by hitting a three and a few possessions later, a jump shot that made it a two-possession game. The Wildcats fouled late to extend the game.
Free throws were a factor in this game. CWU went off the line at 9-16 while Saint Martin shot at 19-23, including ten free throws on the stretch to secure the 66-71 win. Nielsen-Skinner and Kyle Greeley led the Saints with 13 points. McNeil and Hector led the scoring charts with 14 and 13, respectively. Hector got a double-double and added 10 rebounds to his 13 points. Rock Gilbert and Isaiah Banks each scored 10 points.
Central Washington is transitioning from GNAC games to non-conference games, beginning with Evergreen State Saturday, December 10 at Ellensburg High School. Tip-off is at 6 p.m