Feb. 27, 2014
LACEY, Wash. - Forward Jeffrey Parker (R-Fr., Richmond, CA/Salesian) scored a game-high 16 points, 10 during a decisive run to open the second half, as Western Washington University earned a first-round bye at next week's conference tournament with an 80-56 victory over Saint Martin's University on Thursday in a Great Northwest Athletic Conference men's basketball contest at Marcus Pavilion on the SMU campus.
Guard Robert Harris, Jr. (Sr., Kent/Rainier Beach) and center Austin Bragg (Sr., Longview/Mark Morris) each had 15 points for the Vikings, who improved to 19-6 overall and clinched second place in the GNAC standings at 13-4. The top two regular-season finishers get opening-round byes at the league tourney which begins Wednesday, March 5, at Lacey.
Saint Martin's fell to 8-17 overall and 5-12 in GNAC play with its fifth straight loss. The Saints, who have dropped 13 of their last 16 games, were led by Will Bond with 15 points and Evan Coulter added 14.
WWU opened the game with a 13-1 run, Harris, Jr., scoring seven points, and led 36-27 at halftime.
The Vikings outscored Saint Martin's, 22-5, to begin the second period for a 26-point advantage, 58-32, with 13:33 remaining. Parker scored 10 in that stretch, finishing it with back-to-back 3-pointers.
Saint Martin's, which shot just 35.7 percent (20-of-56) from the field, never got closer than 20 after that.
WWU, which has won nine of its last 11 games, also got 13 points from Richard Woodworth (Sr., Bellevue/Newport). The Vikings had a 43-30 rebound advantage with Bragg grabbing seven and Parker six.
The win was WWU's ninth straight over Saint Martin's. The Vikings hold a 126-60 series advantage.
WWU next travels to Western Oregon University for a GNAC counter Saturday (3 p.m.).
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