Feb. 7, 2013
NAMPA. Id. -
Guards John Allen (Sr., Brier/Mountlake Terrace) and Richard Woodworth (Jr., Bellevue/Newport) combined for 39 points as nationally ranked Western Washington University tied the school's unbeaten start record that had stood for 41 years by defeating Northwest Nazarene University, 70-59, in a Great Northwest Athletic Conference men's basketball contest Thursday at Johnson Sports Center on the NNU campus.
The defending NCAA Division II national champion Vikings, ranked No.2 in this week's National Association of Basketball Coaches Top 25, improved to 21-0, tying the WWU standard set in 1971-72. It was their 27th straight win overall, a school and conference record. The streak began with the final six games of last season.
WWU, which now leads the GNAC by two and one-half games at 12-0, ended the contest with a 31-12 run after the Crusaders had led, 47-39, with 12:53 remaining. Allen finished with 20 points and Woodworth had 19, Allen having 11 and Woodworth nine during the closing run.
NNU fell to 9-11 overall and 3-9 in league play. It was the seventh straight loss following a 9-4 start for the Crusaders, who got 15 points from Kenny Jones.
Woodworth drove the lane for a layup to put the Vikings ahead for good, 54-52, with 5:59 left. The Vikings made 11 of their last 12 free throws, Allen hitting five, Anye Turner (So., Tumwater/Black Hills) four and Woodworth two.
NNU opened the second half with an 11-2 run for its biggest lead of eight, 47-39.
Woodworth scored eight of his 10 first-half points in the first 3:17 as WWU took a quick 10-4 lead to open the game. The Vikings led by as many as 10, 35-25, following an 11-2 run with 3:33 remaining in the period. But NNU scored the last seven points to trail by just three, 35-32, at halftime.
WWU upped its series advantage to 23-8 with its 11th win in the last 14 meetings. The Vikings had a 32-27 rebound advantage with Allen grabbing eight.
WWU travels to arch-rival Central Washington on Saturday, Feb. 9 (7 p.m.) for a GNAC counter.