We didn’t preview the game, mostly because we didn’t have any idea what would happen and figure it gets old for you guys to read that over and over again, but then we felt guilty because of any team in the GNAC, NNU is by far the most neglected. You’d think it would be CU-Portland or Simon Fraser, but those campuses are really easy for us to get to; not the case with NNU. So at the very last minute (like 5:45pm last minute) we trekked out to Ellensburg.
Unfortunately we think our presence jinxed the Crusaders. They were doing fine and playing strong and then they fell apart. Maybe it wasn’t us; we should give credit where credit is due and that is to those Wascally Wildcats and the brick wall that is their center position.
Fuquan Niles is straight-up majestic. He is 100% incredible to watch play. We haven’t had a center like him in the GNAC in ages -usually it tends to be a power forward that serves as the defensive force in the middle. Joe Stroud (also of CWU) was the last great shot blocker we had, but he was a power forward.
All that being said:
NNU 80 @ CWU 94
Good back and forth game before Naim Ladd, Marc Rodgers, and as noted Fuquan Niles stepped in to put it away. There were a number of key threes hit that really put the game out of reach, although NNU fought valiantly and didn’t seem to let CWU get in their heads too much.
Crusader highlights: Pol Olivier had 20 points; Kaileb Rodrieguz had seven boards; Maurice Jones responded well to Fuquan, having 15 points, 14 boards, and four blocks of his own; and off the bench Nikola Prvulj had 10 points on perfect shooting.
Wildcat highlights: Naim Ladd had 22 points, among other good field stats; Dom Hunter had 27 points and five assists; Terry Dawn had five boards; Jawan Stepney had six boards; and Fuquan had 10 points and nine boards on textbook shooting. Off the bench Marc Rodgers had eight points.
Overall not a game that involved tons of defense, but enough, and honestly: It was really fun to watch. Very dynamic, the guys on the court were all visibly having a good time and playing with tons of drive and effor. It was a good game to be at. CWU definitely has our vote for best athletic staff in the GNAC.
A discussions post will be up later today and then previews’ll go up tomorrow per usual.