Amaya free throws lift Vikings to 87-86 win over Saint Martin's
Feb. 9, 2006
BELLINGHAM, Wash. - Forward Tyler Amaya (Sr., Mount Vernon) hit two free throws with 10.1 seconds left, lifting nationally ranked Western Washington University to an 87-86 victory over Saint Martin's University in a Great Northwest Athletic Conference men's basketball game Thursday on Haggen Court at Sam Carver Gymnasium.
The Vikings, ranked No.4 in the NABC/NCAA Division II Coaches Poll and No.2 in the West Region rating, improved to 18-2 overall and 10-1 in the GNAC. They are temporarily tied for first in the league standings with No.5-ranked Seattle Pacific, which played late Thursday at Alaska Fairbanks.
Forward Grant Dykstra (Sr., Everson/Lynden Christian) had a game-high 28 points for Western, and Amaya added 24 points, 14 rebounds and six assists, notching his sixth double-double of the season.
Saint Martin's fell to 7-14 overall and 2-10 in the GNAC with its 10th loss in the last 11 games. Forward Niko Nunogawa led the Saints with 22 points and 14 rebounds.
Forward Stephon Harris gave Saint Martin's an 86-85 lead on a putback with 24.2 seconds left. Amaya, who had 18 points in the second half, was then fouled driving the lane, and made two free throws. The Saints had a chance to win, but Nunogawa's running bank shot from 10 feet rimmed out, and Amaya corralled the rebound as time expired.
Western had led by seven, 52-45, less than a minute into the second half, but then went nearly nine minutes without a field goal until an Amaya 3-pointer put the Vikings back in front, 65-64, with 10:21 to go. Saint Martin's then scored the next six points to take a 70-65 lead with 8:48 to go.
Western didn't regain the lead until a fastbreak layin by Dykstra with three minutes left. The score was tied twice after that before Harris' basket gave Saint Martin's their brief lead in the final minute.
Center Tyler MacMullen (Sr., Mukilteo/Kamiak) had 13 points for Western, 11 of them in the first half. Guards Ryan Diggs (Sr., Victorville, CA/Silverado) and Kyle Jackson (Sr., Bellingham/Sehome) each had 11 points, with Jackson adding six assists, but the Western bench was held scoreless.
Guard Greg O'Neal had 15 points for Saint Martin's, and guard Jake Linton added 14 points and five assists.
Western opened the game hot, hitting seven of its first nine shots to grab an 18-6 lead in the first 4:26. Saint Martin's chipped away at the lead, pulling to within one, 35-34, with 5:10 left in the first half. The Vikings held a 47-43 lead at halftime.
Western is 11-0 at Carver Gym this season and has a 24-game regular-season home winning streak. It was also the 11th straight win over Saint Martin's for the Vikings.
Dykstra moved into second place in Western history in career scoring with 1,675 points, passing Mike Palm (1,649). Diggs moved into fifth at 1,580.
Western entertains Seattle University on Saturday (7 p.m.) at Carver Gym.
Amaya saves Vikings
Senior sinks game-winning free throws, grabs crucial rebound at end of game
DOUG PACEY, THE BELLINGHAM HERALD
Tyler Amaya put everything out of his head and slowed down.
At the free throw line with 10.1 seconds left and his Western Washington University men's basketball team trailing Saint Martin's College by one, it was up to the senior forward to give the Vikings a lift.
"When I hurry and think too much," he said, "that's when I miss. "I didn't tell myself not to miss them or to make at least one. I thought about making them both."
Nice thinking, Tyler.
He swished both and then rebounded Niko Nunogawa's baseline floater as time expired, sealing Western's 87-86 Great Northwest Athletic Conference win over the Saints on Thursday night at Carver Gym.
"I've never shot free throws like that at the end of the game," Amaya said. "It's a good thing I got a lot of practice shooting free throws during the game."
Amaya scored half of his 24 points from the free throw line - he was 12 for 13 - and totaled 14 rebounds and six assists.
As a team, the Vikings (18-2, 10-1 GNAC) shot 87.5 percent - 28 for 32 - from the line. It's a good thing Western was so accurate at the free throw line, because the Vikings had their worst shooting night this season.
Western made only 39.7 percent of its field goal attempts, connecting on 25 of 63 shots.
"Saint Martin's played very good defense," said Vikings coach Brad Jackson. "But we were impatient."
Western began the second half with a 47-43 lead. But after making only four of its first 21 attempts, the Viking found themselves trailing 73-69 with seven minutes left.
Dykstra gave the Vikings a 79-77 edge on a driving lay-in, but the teams traded leads until Amaya sank the free throws.
Diggs moved into fifth place on WWU's all-time leading scoring list, passing Harold Doyal with a 3-pointer in the first half.
Nunogawa led the Saints (7-14, 2-10) with 22 points.
On Saturday, the Vikings host Seattle University at 7 p.m.
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