Western survives late scare, edges Central 84-81
Dec. 17, 2005
SEATTLE, Wash. - Guard Ryan Diggs (Sr., Victorville, CA/Silverado) scored a team-high 20 points and had seven assists as nationally ranked Western Washington University survived a late Central Washington University rally and claimed an 84-81 victory in the Showdown in the Sound presented by Comcast women's basketball contest on Saturday at KeyArena.
It was the seventh straight win for the Vikings, ranked No.4 in the latest NABC/NCAA II Coaches Poll, who improved to 8-1 overall.
Central Washington fell to 5-4 with the loss. Guard Chris Bannish led the Wildcats with 23 points.
The Vikings had an 18-point lead, 81-63, with 4:30 to play, but then turned the ball over on four of the next five possessions and the Wildcats ran off 12 straight points to narrow the margin to six, 81-75, with 2:09 left.
Central eventually narrowed the margin to two on a Bannish layin with 18 seconds left. After Kyle Jackson (Sr., Bellingham/Sehome) hit one of two free throws with 17 seconds to go, the Wildcats had two potential game-tying 3-point shots in the final five seconds, but efforts by Lance Den Boer and Robert Hicks were off the mark.
Den Boer had 15 points for Central, and center Grant Assink had 12 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.
Forward Grant Dykstra (Sr., Everson/Lynden Christian) had 17 points and nine rebounds for Western.
Central opened with an 8-0 run in the game's first 2:30, but Western responded with a seven straight points in an 80-second span to pull within one, 12-11, with 14:16 remaining. Western, which shot 52.9 percent (18-of-34) in the first half and took the lead for good, 29-27, with 6:43 remaining on a bank shot from the right side by forward Tyler Amaya (Sr., Mount Vernon) and led 46-33 at halftime.
The lead reached 22, at 75-53, with 7:16 to play, before the Wildcats, who shot only 37.5 percent (27-of-72) from the field, made their late charge.
Center Tyler MacMullen (Sr., Mukilteo/Kamiak) had 14 points for Western. Amaya had 13 points and a team-high 10 rebounds, and Jackson had 10 points.
The Vikings next host University of Alaska Anchorage in their Great Northwest Athletic Conference opener on Thurs., Dec. 29 (7 p.m.) at Carver Gymnasium.
Western men hold off late rally by Central
By John Boyle, Seattle Times staff reporter
Western Washington's Ryan Diggs scores against Central Washington's Johnny Spevak, right, in the first half Saturday night. Diggs led the Vikings with 20 points.
With 6:34 remaining in the game, it would have been hard to imagine an ending so exciting.
Western Washington was comfortably ahead with a 22-point lead over Central Washington, and looked well on the way to an easy victory.
Yet as the final seconds ticked off the clock, Central had two looks at a tying shot. Forced three-point attempts by Lance Den Boer and Robert Hicks both missed, however, and the Vikings held on for an 84-81 win in the Showdown in the Sound at KeyArena on Saturday.
For the Vikings, the fourth-ranked NCAA Division II team in the country, beating their rivals never felt so unfulfilling.
"We just got complacent, I think," said senior forward Grant Dykstra, who scored 17 points before fouling out with 1:22 to play. "We saw the score and kind of relaxed a little bit. In a way it kind of feels like a loss. It's a good lesson to learn, but it's nice that we got lucky enough to still get a win. We learned a lesson tonight. Once you have a team put away, we've got to get that killer instinct and put them away."
Chris Bannish scored on a wide-open layup with 18.8 seconds remaining to cut the lead to two points. Kyle Jackson then made 1 of 2 free throws to make the score 84-81 before Central's final attempts.
"We dug ourselves a hole," said Central coach Greg Sparling. "Yeah it was nice to see the kids fight back, but we shouldn't be in that situation."
Central (5-4) also dominated the early going, building an 8-0 lead in the first three minutes, but the Vikings (8-1) were just too good the rest of the way.
Ryan Diggs led five Vikings in double-figure scoring with 20 points. He was also in the middle of a late-game controversy when he fouled out with 1:14 remaining-with four fouls. Once the error was cleared up, Diggs came back into the game and played the final 28.7 seconds.
"I knew I had four fouls and I was frustrated more than anything," Diggs said. "I'm just happy we pulled this one out."
Tyler Amaya had a double-double for Western, with 13 points and 10 rebounds, and also provided the highlight of the night midway through the first half. The 6-foot-6 senior forward beat one defender with a pump fake before driving into the lane to throw down a one-handed dunk over Central's Colton Monti.
Tyler MacMullen scored 14 points and Jackson finished with 10.
Bannish led Central with 23 points, including his team's first six.
"Normally we're a team of runs, and we're pretty explosive, and I think we just kind of got lulled to sleep maybe a little bit in the second half," said Western coach Brad Jackson, who earned victory No. 383 in his 601st game at Western.
"But you have to give Central Washington credit because they hung in there and kept fighting. They got back in the ball game. All in all, if you can hang on it doesn't really matter what the score is."
Western, Central swap surges before Vikings secure win
WENDY CARPENTER; The News Tribune
What started as a blowout for Central Washington University turned into a close game before turning into a blowout for Western Washington University before getting close again.
But the Wildcats missed three shots in the final 17.5 seconds that could have sent the game into overtime as the No. 4-ranked Vikings hung on for an 84-81 win at KeyArena before a crowd of 2,325 Saturday in the first basketball game between the schools in Seattle, dubbed the "Showdown in the Sound."
"Normally we're a team that makes pretty explosive runs," Western coach Brad Jackson said about his team, which averages 100.5 points a game. "We got lulled to sleep (during the big run). All in all, if you can hang on, it doesn't matter what the score is."
Western (8-1) hung on, but barely. After being down 8-0 -and not scoring until more than three minutes into the game - the Vikings held a 22-point lead with 6 minutes, 25 seconds left to play.
Then the Wildcats went on a 22-6 run, and Grant Dykstra fouled out of the game - after scoring 17 points for the Vikings - with 1:22 left. Eight seconds later, Ryan Diggs, Western's leading scorer with 20 points, appeared to have fouled out. Due to a scorer's error, he returned to the game with 29.5 seconds left with four fouls.
"We got complacent - we relaxed a little when we realized the score," Dykstra said. "We shouldn't have let them back in."
Chris Bannish - who had a game-high 23 points - made two free throws and made a layup to pull Central to 83-81 with 18 seconds left.
But the Wildcats (5-4) couldn't make any of their three final shots, dropping their fourth game by less than five points.
"We dug ourselves too big of a hole," Central coach Greg Sparling said.
"I'm proud that we fought back but we never should have been in that situation. It's frustrating - we're close to being 9-0."
Western holds off Central
JOE SUNNEN, THE BELLINGHAM HERALD
As Central Washington crept closer to evening the score Saturday night at the inaugural Showdown in the Sound, the mounting sense of frustration started to grow for the Western Washington men's basketball team.
It showed on no player's face more than Ryan Diggs.
The No. 4 ranked Vikings narrowly escaped with an 84-81 win against the Wildcats, watching as a comfortable 22-point lead disintegrated in the final minutes of the game before a reported crowd of 2,325 people at KeyArena in Seattle.
The semi-permanent look of confusion that settled on Diggs' brow for much of the second half, first as the Wildcats turned a potential blowout into a nail-biter, rallying back from 75-55 deficit with six minutes to play to make it a four-point game with one minute to play. And then again when he was told he had fouled out of the game after committing just his fourth personal foul because of an error at the scoring table.
"It was just more frustrating than anything," Diggs said. "I knew I had four fouls, I just had to let coach know and I was happy to get back in."
The Viking played without Diggs, their leading scorer this season, for more than a minute with less than two minutes to play as the Wildcats inched closer. After Kyle Jackson missed a one-and-one with 17 seconds to play, Central had a chance to tie the game, but two 3-point shots fell short.
Western moves to 8-1 this season with the win and extends its winning streak to seven games. The Wildcats fall to 5-4 on the year with the loss. Western has won four of its last five meeting with Central. Diggs finished with 20 points to pace the Vikings. Grant Dykstra added 17.
"What we need to do is get that killer instinct," Dykstra said. "Once you have a team put away you can't let them come back."
The Vikings limited Lance Den Boer, Central's leading scorer this season who came in averaging 18 points per game, to six points in the first half. But Den Boer came alive in the final minutes to finish with 15 points.
"In the end we dug ourselves too big of a hole," Central coach Greg Sparling said. "It was nice to see the kids fight back, but we shouldn't be in that situation."
Though it wasn't the high-scoring contest expected from the Vikings - WWU came in averaging just over 100 points per game - it was balanced and efficient basketball for much of the game. Four Vikings finished in double-digit scoring and the Wildcats shot just 37.5 percent from the field.
"All in all, if you can come away with a win it doesn't rally matter what the score is," WWU coach Brad Jackson said. "It makes for a happy way for us to go into Christmas."
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