The Wolves open GNAC play with a win

Buster Souza jumps past a Simon Frasier opponent in their GNAC opener on Nov. 29, where the Wolves won 72-58.

Photo by Jennifer Biberston
Buster Souza jumps past a Simon Frasier opponent in their GNAC opener on Nov. 29, where the Wolves won 72-58.

MONMOUTH — With a slow start to open up Great Northwest Athletic Conference play against Simon Frasier, the Western Oregon University Wolves eventually found the basket to secure a 72-58 victory on their home court Thursday night.


Riley Hawken fights for the ball at tipoff on WOU’s GNAC opener against Simon Frasier.

The game was scoreless until three minutes into the first half. Simon Frasier nabbed an early lead when they hit a corner three that jumped them to 3-2 at the 17:07 mark. It would be the only time that SFU held the lead for the night.

Junior forward Riley Hawken led the WOU (4-1, 1-0 GNAC) attack with 13 points in the first half and 22 overall. He also finished 4-of-5 from three.

With WOU leading by as many as 11, SFU trimmed the margin down to a five-point gap going into halftime.

Opening the second half, WOU went on a 7-1 run to bump their lead up by 12.

In 31 minutes of play, freshman guard Darius Lubom added 14 points, four rebounds and three assists before the end of the game.

It was a sluggish start for the Wolves, but the second half was when they took the game into their hands, Lubom said. That was when they found their footing.

“When we started getting stops,” Lubom said. “We started getting stops with one start, and then it’d turn into two, and then we get a bucket on offense and it slows them even more on defense, and it just starts on defense.”

The night ended with a win for the Wolves, but not without some struggle.

“We had to tough it out; it wasn’t pretty from the jump,” Lubom said. “But it’s a team for a reason; guys come off the bench and help us out, and we just gotta do it as a team. We ended up doing good.

We just gotta have confidence in ourselves, and don’t let them change our game plan or anything.”

Saturday, the team went up against No. 15 ranked Western Washington University in their home gym and won 96-88 in an onslaught that included double overtime.

It was the Wolves’ first overtime victory in two years.

Junior Brandell Evans finished with 14 points, five rebounds, three assists and a steal in 42 minutes, and junior Jaylyn Richardson finished with a season-high 22 points, eight rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block.

The Wolves host Corban University at 3 p.m. on Dec. 8.

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