Jan. 28, 2012
BELLINGHAM, Wash. - Forward Rory Blanche (Sr., Ashland, OR) scored a game-high 19 points as nationally ranked Western Washington University pulled away in the final 10 minutes to defeat Simon Fraser University, 86-75, in a Great Northwest Athletic Conference men's basketball contest Saturday at Sam Carver Gymnasium on the WWU campus.
The Vikings, ranked No.18 in this week's National Association of Basketball Coaches Top 25 Poll, improved to 18-3 overall with their fifth consecutive victory. WWU, which is 10-1 at home, remains atop the GNAC standings at 9-1.
Forward Jordan Sergent had 19 points for Simon Fraser, which fell to 6-12 overall and 1-9 in the GNAC with its 10th loss in the last 12 games. Guards Justin Brown and Connor Lewis each had 16 points for the Clan, who dressed just seven players.
The Vikings trailed 58-57 with 7:39 to play, but grabbed control of the contest with a 14-4 charge capped by a Paul Jones (Jr., Kent/Kent-Meridian) dunk that gave them a 71-62 advantage with 4:25 left. The margin was never less than seven after that, and remained in double digits through the final 3:32.
Guard John Allen (Jr., Brier/Mountlake Terrace) had 16 points for WWU. Jones added 12 and forward Zach Henifin (Sr., Bellingham) contributed 11. Blanche was 7-of-11 from the field and 5-of-5 on free throws for the Vikings, who were 24-of-26 at the foul line (92.3 percent).
Blanche also took his career scoring total to 1,049 points, 17th in school history.
Simon Fraser, which hit its first four 3-point shots, used an 11-2 run to open up a 23-11 lead midway through the first half, and still held a 10-point margin, 35-25, with under three minutes left in the period. But Western closed the half with an 8-3 charge and trailed only 38-33 at halftime.
The Vikings take to the road for GNAC counters at Western Oregon University on Thursday (7 p.m.), Feb. 2, and Saint Martin's University on Saturday (7 p.m.), Feb. 4.
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