Graham has 31 points as Western wins 93-67 at Montana State Billings
March 1, 2008
BILLINGS, Mont. - Guard Ira Graham (Jr., Fontana, CA) scored a game-high 31 points, 19 in the second half, as Western Washington University broke out of an offensive slump in defeating Montana State University Billings, 93-67, in a Great Northwest Athletic Conference men's basketball game Saturday at Alterowitz Gymnasium.
The Vikings, who had dropped two straight and five of their last six games, improved to 14-11 overall and 7-9 in league play. Harold McAllister (So., Vancouver/Mountain View) and Calin Schell (Jr., Chelan) each had 12 points, with McAllister also dishing out a game-high seven assists.
MSUB, which is in its first year as a GNAC member, lost for the 11th straight time, falling to 1-27 overall and 1-16 in GNAC action. The Yellowjackets have won just once in their last 30 games. They were led by the 19 points of Aaron Terry and the game-high 13 rebounds of Cameron Khoury.
Western had scored just 58 and 56 points, respectively, in its previous two games. They were the two lowest point totals of the season for the Vikings, who entered the game second in the GNAC in scoring offense with a 79.4 average.
The Vikings jumped out to a 13-3 lead in the first four minutes and were ahead by 12, 28-16, with 7:17 left in the first half. An 11-3 run brought MSUB within four, 31-27, with 2:50 to go, but Western scored 11 of the next 13 points to lead 42-29 at halftime.
Graham hit a 3-pointer to cap an 11-4 run to open the second half, putting the Vikings up by 20, 53-33, with 15:43 left. They scored 14 straight points to lead by 26, 69-42, following a dunk by Steve Severin (So., Richland/Hanford) with 9:15 remaining and MSUB never got closer than 16 after that.
It was the third 30-point game of the season for Graham, who already has had a career-high 33 and 32-point efforts. He was 12-of-23 from the field and also had five rebounds and five assists.
Western shot 49.3 percent (35-of-71) from the floor and had a 52-44 rebound advantage, Severin and Schell each having nine.
MSUB made just 32.4 percent (22-of-68) of its field goal tries and was 17-of-31 (54.8 percent) at the free-throw line. John Brooks scored 16 points for the Yellowjackets and Kirk Blaine had 10.
It was just the third time that the two teams have met in 28 years. Western won 116-66 over MSUB at Bellingham on Jan. 31.
Graham has led Western scorers 18 times this season and scored double figures on 21 occasions, both team bests.
Western closes out its season at home, entertaining Seattle Pacific on Thursday (7 p.m.) and Northwest Nazarene on Saturday (7 p.m.) in a pair of GNAC contests.
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