March 15, 2013
BELLINGHAM, Wash. - Guard John Allen (Sr., Brier/Mountlake Terrace), the Daktronics West Region Player of the Year, scored a team-high 29 points and added eight assists to lead defending national champion Western Washington University to a 102-87 victory over Chaminade University in the final game of Friday's opening round of the West Regional of the 2013 NCAA Division II Men's Basketball Tournament before a crowd of 2,385 at Sam Carver Gymnasium on the campus of host Western Washington University.
The Vikings, ranked No.4 in this week's NABC NCAA Division II National Top 25 Poll and the No.1 seed in the West Regional, improved to 28-2 overall and face Cal State San Bernardino in a regional semifinal Monday (7:30 p.m.).
Chaminade, the No.8 seed, concluded its season 19-11 despite a game-high 32 points from guard Bennie Murray.
WWU never trailed in the second half, but the result remained in doubt until the final moments. The Silverswords were down by just six, 89-83, with 4:28 to go, but a Cameron Severson (Sr., Petersburg, AK) layin and an Austin Bragg (Jr., Longview/Mark Morris) dunk pushed the margin to 10, 93-83, with 3:05 to go. The gap was never less than eight after that.
Center Chris Mitchell (Sr., Everson/Nooksack Valley) had 19 points, going 4-of-5 on 3-pointers, for the Vikings, who shot 58.2 percent (32-of-55) from the field, including a sizzling 68.4 percent (13-of-19) in the second half.
"We found a group that clicked in the second half, we started running the offense and getting easier buckets," said WWU coach Tony Dominguez. "Chaminade plays a frenzied style and we got caught up in that in the first half, but we did better in the second half."
Forward Paul Jones (Sr., Kent/Kent-Meridian) had 16 points for WWU. Bragg added 14 points and a game-high 10 rebounds for his team-leading seventh double-double of the season, and Severson had 12 points off the bench.
Lee Bailey had 15 points for the Silverswords,who shot 56.3 percent (9-of-16) on 3-pointers, but Pacific West Conference Player of the Year De'Andre Haskins was held to eight, roughly 10 below his average.
In a wild first half, the Vikings twice opened up significant leads only to have the Silverswords rally. WWU's biggest lead of the period was 11, the last time at 52-41 with a minute left, but Chaminade ran off seven straight points to narrow the halftime margin to 52-48.
Allen, who was 8-of-15 from the field and 10-of-10 on free throws, now has 1,430 career points, just six short of ninth place in school history.
QUOTES FROM WWU COACH Tony Dominguez
(On the game) It's very difficult to play a team that has all good ballhandlers, they all shoot the 3 well, they play a very frantic pace - not just as far as speed, but the way they play in the halfcourt, that got us off-balance. But we recovered well and finished strong.
(Did you like playing at that pace?) We can play either way. For half the game, we executed, the other half, we were all over on offense. The interesting thing for me was we haven't been that way. I credit them on their style. It kind of got us out of sorts. We're chasing around with 6-9 guys going after 6-3 guys who are all hitting 3s
(On John Allen's performance) John was phenomenal - 29 points, 8 assists, 6 rebounds for your point guard. What else can you ask for? Like anyone, he's human, so there were a few mistakes in there. But it's hard to complain about a guy who fills up a stats sheet in a big NCAA Tournament game.
(On having two days off) Most years, no (I wouldn't like it). This year, yes. After us getting a little disjointed tonight, off-balance on defense, going to be great to have two days to calm down, get back on track and get our bearings.
(On the game) I don't mind it by any means. Growing up in AAU ball, we were accustomed to playing that type of style. We've got the players and talent to play either way. With way we shoot the ball, it's nothing we would shy away from.
(On a key to the game) Just make shots and get stops. They spread us out all night, put us in tough situations, Chris being a big man and guarding a guard like that. We just hunkered down, got our switched right on the ball screens and dribble drive. It was getting stops tonight, and we made some free throws.
Chaminade COACH ERIC BOVAIRD
(On the game) I thought it was very hard tough fought game. I think a lot of the fans and people here probably underestimated us. We felt it was going to be close game, We came here with intentions to win. It was anyone's game with 2-3 minutes to go. It was a heck of a game for the first 38 minutes of the game.
(Do you think your style caught them off guard?) (Western) can play that style. I think what gave them the most difficulty is all five of our guys can handle it, shoot it, drive - we're not a traditional Division II team.
(On any key moments in the game)( I thought there were a few close calsl down the stretch that I wish would have gone our way. We came down and missed a few easy shots.
BENNIE MURRAY (On the game) It was a hard=fought game. We came in with intentions of winning. That's why they're champions. They pulled out the game in the end. A couple calls didn't go our way, and a couple shots didn't drop that usually fall.
WWU men earn win over Chaminade
By ANDREW LANG -- THE BELLINGHAM HERALD
BELLINGHAM - On a night when defensive stops came at a premium, the Western Washington University men's basketball team made the necessary ones in the final minutes to preserve the dream of defending its 2012 national title.
Off-balance shot after acrobatic layup, Western and Chaminade exchanged offensive blows for nearly 40 minutes until WWU finally separated from Chaminade in the final four minutes.
Five Vikings scored in double figures, and Western put on an offensive showcase to earn a 102-87 win during first-round play of the NCAA Division II Tournament West Regional Friday, March 15, in front of 2,385 at Carver Gym.
No. 1-seeded WWU and No. 8-seeded Chaminade entered the tournament as two of the higher scoring teams in the nation. Western shot 58.2 percent from the field, 68.4 percent in the second half, and proved it has no problem playing an up-and-down game.
"I think we have the players to kind of play either way," said senior guard John Allen when asked whether he preferred a fast-paced game or a slower tempo. "Getting into an up-and-down game with the way we shoot the ball, there's nothing we wouldn't shy away from."
Being bashful with the basketball was the last thing on Allen's mind. The Great Northwest Athletic Conference Player of the Year poured in a team-high 29 points, recorded eight of Western's 19 assists and hauled in six boards.
"John was phenomenal," WWU coach Tony Dominguez said. "Twenty nine points, eight assists, six rebounds for your points guard. ... What else can you ask for?"
Given Chris Mitchell's 19 points, Paul Jones' 16, Austin Bragg's 14, Cameron Severson's 12 and twice as many assists than turnovers, it was hard for Dominguez to ask for anything more on the offensive end.
He wouldn't have minded a stronger defense performance, though.
Chaminade shot 49.2 percent from the field, and Bennie Murray, one of the Silverswords' many ultra-quick, athletic guards, scored a game-high 32 points. Time after time, Murray converted clutch buckets to keep the Vikings from extending their lead to double digits.
"They play a very frantic pace, and it just got us off balance," Dominguez said, "but I think we recovered well and finished strong."
Thanks to Mitchell's 10 early points and a string of seven straight from Richard Woodworth, Western built a 25-18 lead with 8:26 into the first half. Chaminade responded using a 17-7 run to take its largest lead of the game with 7:15 to go until the break.
Western held a four- to six-point lead the entire second half until Austin Bragg threw down a huge dunk off a missed 3-point shot from Allen to put the Vikings in front 87-78 with 6:05 to play.
Chaminade cut the lead to six, but a key layup by Severson followed by another Bragg dunk gave the Vikings a 93-83 lead with 3:07 to go.
Western, which went 30 for 35 from the free-throw line, made its freebies down the stretch and escaped upset-minded Chaminade.
"It's the NCAA Tournament," Dominguez said. "I believe the West Region is one of the best, if not the best, region in the tournament. I think the last 12 minutes we did a really good job of executing our offense. Every team wants to get us because of last year's prize, and to be to the point we are in this moment, it's very exciting for us."
The win awards WWU with a matchup against No. 5 seed Cal State San Bernardino in the West Regional semifinal at 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 18, at Carver Gym.
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