Jan. 3, 2013
SEATTLE, Wash. -
Forward Paul Jones (Sr., Kent/Kent-Meridian) scored a game-high 16 points, including six in the final three minutes, as Western Washington University claimed a 66-56 triumph over Seattle Pacific University in a Great Northwest Athletic Conference men's basketball contest between NCAA Division II Top 10 ranked teams Thursday at Royal Brougham Pavilion on the SPU campus.
The defending NCAA Division II national champion Vikings, ranked No.5 in the latest National Association of Basketball Coaches Top 25 Poll, improved to 11-0 overall and 2-0 in the GNAC. It is the 17th straight victory over last two seasons for WWU, with the start and the winning streak both being the second best in school history.
SPU, rated No.7 nationally, had a five-game winning streak snapped and fell to 9-2 overall and 2-1 in conference play. Patrick Simon led the Falcons with 12 points, and Jobi Wall had 11.
The Vikings led by at least seven through the first 13 minutes of the second half until a Wall 3-pointer pulled SPU within six, 55-49, with 6:53 to play. The Falcons eventually got within five, 60-55, on a Wall free throw with 43 seconds left.
But that was as close as SPU would get, as Jones hit a shot off a spinning move in the lane, followed by a fallaway jumper, and then made a pair of free throws, pushing the WWU margin to 11 at 66-55 with 1:27 remaining, putting the game out of reach.
Guard Richard Woodworth (Jr., Bellevue/Newport) and center Chris Mitchell (Sr., Everson/Nooksack Valley) each had 10 points for the Vikings, who also got a big contribution off the bench from Cameron Severson (Sr., Petersburg, AK) with nine points and a game-high 10 rebounds.
Reserve post-player Anye Turner (So., Tumwater/Black Hills) had a game-high four blocked shots for WWU.
"The defense from our bench turned the game around," said WWU coach Tony Dominguez. "It had been going back and forth, and then they came in and we got some big stops."
SPU held a 22-21 lead after a Cory Hutsen putback with 6:43 remaining in the first half. But WWU held the Falcons scoreless the rest of the period, and Jones scored six points in a 10-0 run that gave WWU a 31-22 lead at halftime.
SPU shot just 30.0 percent (18-of-60) from the field, including 21.1 percent (4-of-19) on 3-pointers.
The triumph was the fourth straight for the Vikings over SPU. The last meeting between the two teams was at the West Regional championship game in Bellingham, where WWU prevailed 56-50.
WWU is at Montana State Billings on Saturday (7 p.m.), Jan. 5, for a GNAC counter.