Dec. 18, 2012
LAS VEGAS, Nevada - Center Chris Mitchell (Sr., Everson/Nooksack Valley) had a team-high 16 points, including two critical free throws with 19.3 seconds left, lifting Western Washington University to a 72-69 victory over Drury University in first-day men's basketball action Tuesday between two nationally ranked teams at the 2012 South Point Holiday Hoops Classic being held at The Arena at South Point.
The schools entered the contest as two of 13 teams remaining unbeaten in NCAA Division II.
The defending NCAA II national champion Vikings, ranked No.5 in this week's National Association of Basketball Coaches Top 25 Poll, remained unbeaten at 8-0 and have won 14 straight games over the last two seasons, which ties for the third-longest winning streak in school history.
Drury, ranked No.14, fell to 7-1. Forward Ian Carter led the Panthers with game-highs of 20 points and 11 rebounds.
Drury tied the game at 67-67 on a fast break dunk by Cameron Adams with 2:17 to play, but Adams was assessed a technical foul for hanging on the rim, and John Allen (Sr., Brier/Mountlake Terrace) put WWU in front to stay with two free throws.
A Richard Woodworth (Jr., Bellevue/Newport) free throw extended the margin to three, but two Carter free throws with 1:07 remaining narrowed the gap to one, 70-69. A shot clock violation gave the ball back to Drury, which ran a pick-and-roll that got Brandon Lockhart into the lane on a drive. Lockhart's layup missed, and Mitchell grabbed the rebound and was fouled, then hit two free throws.
Drury had a pair of 3-point attempts in the final 10 seconds, but both were off line.
Allen finished with 15 points for the Vikings and moved into 11th place in WWU career scoring. Woodworth added 12 points, all in the second half.
Lockhart had 15 points for the Panthers, who had a 47-39 advantage in rebounds, and Alex Hall added 12.
Despite hitting just two of their first 19 shots from the field and shooting a season-low 26.5 percent (9-of-34) in the first half, the Vikings trailed by just two 38-36, at halftime.
Drury still led, 48-44, nearly five minutes into the second half, but WWU rallied with eight straight points, taking the lead on a Paul Jones (Sr., Kent/Kent-Meridian) free throw and extending the margin to four, 52-48, on a 3-pointer by Woodworth with 12:40 to play.
The 8-0 start is matches the fourth best in school history.
WWU meets Central Oklahoma on Wednesday (5 p.m.), Dec. 19, in final-day tourney action.
Follow WWU Men's Basketball in Hawai'i
You can watch WWU's games in Hawai'i via pay-per-view webcast
Vikings Edged 80-76 by Cal State East Bay
WWU falls just short at home as Pioneers hold off Vikings in closing minutes
Men's Hoops Opens Busy Week with Cal State East Bay
Vikings host Cal State East Bay Tuesday night in Carver Gym
Men's Hoops Named NABC Team of the Week
Vikings opened GNAC play with dominating victories over Concordia and Western Oregon
Trey Drechsel Named DII National Player of the Week
WWU junior guard adds national award to his GNAC Player of the Week honor
Men's Hoops Tied for 5th in West Region Rankings
WWU is 5-2 on the season heading stretch of three consecutive non-conference games
Trey Drechsel Named GNAC Player of the Week
Junior guard averaged 26.5 points and 13.5 rebounds in a pair of WWU victories last week
Men's Basketball Tops Western Oregon 85-58
WWU uses strong first-half run to pull ahead, hands No. 13 WOU first loss
Vikings Win GNAC Opener 99-72 Over Concordia
Trey Drechsel leads WWU with career-high totals of 32 points and 17 rebounds
Men's Hoops Opens GNAC Play with Oregon Schools
Vikings are 3-2 on the season as they open league play as defending GNAC champs
Vikings Storm Past Capilano, 113-60 in Randall Classic
Six Vikings reach double-digits in scoring, led by 17 points from Daulton Hommes, in 113-60 victory
Vikings Edged by UC San Diego, 81-73
Deandre Dickson scores game-high 23 points to lead the Vikings
Men's Hoops Hosts Chuck Randall Classic
Vikings take on UC San Diego and Capilano in Carver Gym during Thanksgiving holiday tournament
Pair of Thanksgiving Tournaments Hosted in Bellingham
WWU will host the Chuck Randall Classic and Lynda Goodrich Classic in Carver Gym
Strong Second Half Lifts Vikings to Comfortable Victory
Daulton Hommes scores game-high 26 points in 108-81 win over Douglas College