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The Central Washington University men’s basketball team picked up its first win of the season, 64-62, over St. Martin’s University in Lacey Saturday night.

The win came a night after, Central lost to St. Martin’s, 80-73, at Nicholson Pavilion, according to information post on CWU’s website.

On Saturday, the Wildcats (1-3) shot 50 percent from the floor in the second half and outscored the Saints (2-9) 39-27 in the second half.

“It was good to see us put up some solid defensive stretches together tonight,” CWU Head Coach Brandon Rinta said afterward. “Xavier (Smith) and David (Thompson) found a good balance between scoring and distributing. Their ability to combine for 11 assists and only two turnovers was big. Marqus (Gilson) came up with some big buckets inside for us for the second straight night.”

After the first 10 minutes of play the Saints and Wildcats found themselves deadlocked at 9-9. Neither team took a sizeable advantage as the lead seesawed and momentum stalled. The lead changed hands 10 times in the first half. The largest lead of the opening stanza was five by St. Martin’s.

Central took a late three-point lead when David Thompson knocked down a jumper for a 22-20 advantage with 2:49 on the clock. At 1:06 remaining, Pollard knocked down a free throw for the 23-20 lead. A three on the Saints’ next possession from Ty Velasquez negated the Wildcats’ lead and a pair of free throws from Goy Wang made put Saint Martin’s ahead 25-23. The final possession of the first half, Thompson picked up a layup and sent the Wildcats into halftime with a level score.

Lewis Pope opened the scoring in the second half with a three, putting the ‘Cats ahead 28-25. St. Martin’s converted a pair of layups on consecutive possessions, but Thompson hit a jumper to retake a 30-29 lead. Just eight seconds later, a three from Velasquez gave St. Martin’s a 32-30 edge.

St. Martin’s extended its lead to six, 36-30, before a pair of free throws from Micah Pollard drew the contest to a four-point game. Tyke Thompson knocked down a trey shortly after, giving SMU a 39-32 lead. Xavier Smith responded with a trey of his own to pull within four. Back-to-back layups for St. Martin’s pushed its advantage to 43-35.

The Saints’ lead began to evaporate with 11 minutes remaining. Marqus Gilson made consecutive layups, before Thompson added one of his own. Thompson then made the free throw for a three-point play and brought the Wildcats within one, 49-48. A layup from Smith made it 50-49 in favor of the Wildcats with 9:13 remaining in regulation.

A pair of buckets from Colby Gennett extended the Wildcats’ lead to 54-49 with just seven and a half minutes on the clock. St. Martin’s managed to cut the ‘Cats lead to one twice before they managed to retake the lead, 57-56, with three minutes left in regulation.

Gilson quickly reclaimed the lead for CWU with a layup. Thompson followed suit with a layup of his own for a 60-57 lead. Gilson and Thompson combined for the next four Wildcat points, taking a 64-60 lead. Saint Martin’s final bucket cut the deficit to two, but the Saints did not find the equalizer.

Thompson led the Wildcats with 17 points, while Gilson notched 16. Smith recorded 10 points and a team-high seven rebounds.

The Wildcats are back in action at 7 p.m. Friday, as they host Northwest Nazarene University.

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