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Wildcat Men's Basketball Mauls Multnomah to Improve to 7-2


By his own assessment, Thursday's game was the best in Jordan Russell's basketball career. The junior guard scored a career-high 30 points in leading the Central Washington University men's basketball team to a 125-68 victory over visiting Multnomah University of Portland, Oregon, in Nicholson Pavilion.

Russell's previous CWU high-water scoring mark was the 23 points he recorded against Alaska Anchorage last season in Nicholson Pavilion. He nearly matched that in the first half on Thursday, as he scored 21 points in the period helping Central roar out to a 70-39 lead over the Lions. Russell says he knew he was going to have a good game during pregame warm-ups.

"I was making everything [warm-up shots] and I was real focused coming into the game," the soft-spoken Russell said. "The past two games, I had a little injury on my elbow on my [left] shooting arm. I was not really confident in shooting and every time I would extend my elbow it would ache a little bit. I was trying to baby it these past games and it was throwing off my shot."

The pain went away this week and his shooting stroke returned in time for Thursday's game. Overall, Russell hit on 12 of 15 shots from the field, including six for nine from three-point range. He also added eight rebounds, dished out five assists and grabbed a pair of steals.  

CWU head coach Greg Sparling said Russell's Wildcat teammates also deserve some of the credit for his outstanding outing.

"Our guys found him inside-out for jump shots," Sparling said. "He didn't try to do too much tonight, and stepped up and made the open jumper. I was very encouraged by the way we shared the basketball."

As a testament to Central's ball movement, the Wildcats recorded 31 assists on their 50 made buckets. For the game, CWU connected on 61 percent from the field, 47 percent on three-point shots, and outrebounded Multnomah 54-25.

However, CWU actually trailed by three, at 12-9, in the first half. That's when the team went on a game-changing 12-0 run. The Wildcats went on to lead by as many as 33 points in the first period, with a high of a 60-point lead for the game.

Russell was one of seven Wildcats who scored in double figures. A total of 11 Central players played and all 11 scored.

"It was nice to be able to get everybody in, play a bunch of minutes and to see everybody score," Sparling added. "We also got the chance to look at some different combinations out there."  

CWU will practice Friday and Saturday before beginning a break under the NCAA Division II "Life in the Balance" initiative. It establishes a seven-day period during which no athletically related activities can be conducted by winter sports teams.

With the victory, CWU is 7-2, 2-0 in Great Northwest Athletic Conference action, heading into the break. The next action for CWU will be the resumption of GNAC play, when the Wildcats host Northwest Nazarene University on Saturday, Jan. 3.

"I'm excited for that," said Russell about getting back into conference action. "We're going to be great—I'm thinking nationally."