Men’s basketball rolls to dominate performance against Vikings
MONMOUTH, Oregon – The Western Oregon University men’s basketball team extended what was a four-point halftime lead and ended up blasting Western Washington 89-65 in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference action inside New PE Gym on Monday afternoon.
It was a big all-team night as Wolves (6-16, 5-9 GNAC) had five double-digit players in the scoring led by by Cameron Cranston 20 dots. RJ Veliz had a stellar game off the bench with 17 points. Yosani clay added 16 points and both Tyrek Award and John Morrill Keeler added 15 points each. Morrill-Keeler had a double-double with 12 rebounds. Cranston grabbed seven rebounds and added three assists and two blocks. Clay had five rebounds and four assists. Price also added four assists. WOU was hot on the pitch all game with 50% (14-28) in the first half, then went 18-30 (60) in the second half to finish at 55.2% (32-58). Wolves went 11-22 (50) from three and added a 14-19 clip at the foul line. Wolves held strong advantages in quick break points (13-2), points on turnovers (16-8), second chance points (13-7) and points in the paint (36-28 ).
The teams traded leads early until WOU broke a 9-9 tie by scoring the next five points. Cranston started the run with a layup, then Clay connected on a triple to take a 14-9 lead at 2:24.
A sweater by Daaison Hughes then a jump from Cranston just after the halfway mark of the first half extended the lead to 12.
Western Washington (14-12, 7-9 GNAC) fought back to cut the deficit to four before halftime, leaving WOU with a 38-34 lead.
After the lead returned to double digits, the Vikings made one final run to come within eight minutes of the seven-minute mark. That’s when WOU responded and never looked back.
Veliz hit a key three-pointer and after Price converted a fastbreak layup, Cranston scored the next four to set up a Morrill-Keeler three-point play that in a flash took the lead eight to 20 on a 12-0 run in just over three minutes to extend the lead to 78-58.
WOU took a 26-point lead in the closing minutes before claiming an 89-65 victory to sweep the regular-season series with the Vikings.
Jalen Green led WWU with 23 points and five rebounds. Kai Johnson came off the bench to add 14 points. Daniel Hornbuckle had 11 points to give the Vikings three in double figures. The WWU went 23-63 (36.5) from the field, 5-21 (23.8) from three and 14-19 (73.7) from the foul line.
The game against Western Washington marked the final home game of the regular season for Wolves. They will now travel to Alaska to face Anchorage Thursday at 6:15 p.m. and then Fairbanks Saturday at 4:15 p.m. Both tee times are Pacific Time. The GNAC tournament will begin on March 2 in Saint Martin’s and Seattle Pacific and will host the first rounds.