Jan. 5, 2013
BILLINGS, Mont. -
Guard John Allen (Sr., Brier/Mountlake Terrace) scored a game-high 25 points and Western Washington University closed with a tremendous run in defeating Montana State University Billings, 95-80, on Saturday in a Great Northwest Athletic Conference men's basketball contest at Alterowitz Gymnasium on the MSUB campus.
The defending NCAA Division II national champion Vikings, ranked No.5 in the latest National Association of Basketball Coaches Top 25 Poll, stayed unbeaten at 12-0 overall and 3-0 in GNAC action. It was their 18th straight victory over the last two seasons, matching the longest in league history set by Alaska Anchorage during the 2007-08 campaign. The start and streak are both the second best in WWU history.
MSUB, which handed the Vikings their last loss, 82-78, in the semifinals of the GNAC Tournament on March 2, 2012, fell to 8-7 overall and 1-3 in conference play. David Arnold led the Yellowjackets with 24 points, and Jarrell Crayton had 12 points and a game-high 15 rebounds.
With MSUB ahead by one, 73-72, with 7:41 remaining, the Vikings responded with 20 straight points in closing with a 23-7 run.
WWU reserve guard Rico Wilkins (Sr., Dallas, TX/DeSoto) had seven points during that stretch. He finished with 15 points and a game-high five steals.
With 13:48 to play, WWU's Cameron Severson (Sr., Petersburg, AK), who finished with 14 points, was ejected after a flagrant foul for throwing an elbow. Devon Wallace made both free throws to bring MSUB within one, 54-53.
The Vikings responded with a 16-7 run, capped by two 3-pointers by Allen, for a 70-60 advantage with 9:38 to go. But MSUB scored 11 straight points, Arnold having two 3-pointers and a three-point play, for a one-point lead, 71-70, with 7:56 left.
Allen, who scored 16 of his points in the second half, was 10-of-20 from the field.
Guard Richard Woodworth (Jr., Bellevue/Newport) had 15 points and a game-high seven steals, and forward Anye Turner (So., Tumwater/Black Hills) added nine points and seven rebounds.
MSUB was ahead for most of the first 12 minutes until the Vikings went on a 12-3 run for a 38-29 lead with 3:33 left in the first period, and led 41-34 at halftime.
WWU returns home to play arch-rival Central Washington University on Thursday (9 p.m.), Jan. 8, in a GNAC counter at Sam Carver Gymnasium. The game will be televised live on ROOT Sports.