WWU pulls away late to beat Northwest Nazarene, 61-49
Jan. 12, 2013
BELLINGHAM, Wash. - Center Austin Bragg (Jr., Longview/Mark Morris) paced a balanced attack with 14 points, nine rebounds and five steals as nationally ranked and undefeated Western Washington University battled to a 61-49 victory over Northwest Nazarene University in a Great Northwest Athletic Conference men's basketball contest Saturday at Sam Carver Gymnasium on the WWU campus.
The defending NCAA Division II national champion Vikings, ranked No.5 in this week's National Association of Basketball Coaches Top 25 Poll, improved to 14-0 overall and remain alone atop the GNAC at 5-0. They have won a GNAC-record 20 straight games, and the start and streak are both the second best in WWU history.
NNU fell to 9-5 overall and 3-3 in conference play with just its second loss in the last eight games. Center Kevin Rima led the Crusaders with 12 points and eight rebounds.
The Vikings, who entered the game fifth among NCAA II schools in scoring at 90.4 points a game, extended their winning streak despite being held to a season-low 61 points. They did it with rugged defense, holding NNU to just 34.6 percent (18-of-52) field-goal shooting, including just 29.6 percent (8-of-27) in the second half.
Guard Richard Woodworth (Jr., Bellevue/Newport) and forward Paul Jones each had 11 points for WWU, and Cameron Severson (Sr., Petersburg, AK) reached double figures off the bench for the third straight game with 10.
The Vikings held a 29-27 advantage at halftime and never lost the lead in the second half, but were still up by just four, 45-41, with under nine minutes to go before going on an 11-2 run, capped by a Bragg dunk, to take a 56-43 lead with 3:08 left, the biggest margin of the contest.
The triumph extends WWU's home winning streak to 17, the second-longest in school history. They have won all seven Carver Gym contests this season.
WWU next is on the road for a pair of GNAC games, traveling to Western Oregon on Thursday, Jan. 17 (7 p.m.) and to Saint Martin's on Saturday, Jan. 19 (7 p.m.).
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