Tough road ahead for Viking men

WWUVIKINGSDOTCOM Kyle Jackson
WWUVIKINGSDOTCOM
Kyle Jackson
WWUVIKINGSDOTCOM

Jan. 26, 2006

BELLINGHAM, Wash. -

DOUG PACEY, THE BELLINGHAM HERALD

Western Washington University's men's basketball team has felt right at home in cozy Carver Gym. With 23 straight regular-season victories on Sehome Hill, the Vikings have been heroes at home.

But Western (15-1, 7-0 Great Northwest Athletic Conference) will play its next three games on the road - the longest stretch the Vikings will be away from Carver Gym this season - and the Vikings have been almost perfect guests.

In the last four seasons Western has a combined road record of 3-9 against its next three opponents: Western Oregon University, Humboldt State University and Central Washington University.

First up for the Vikings, ranked No. 1 in the West Region and No. 2 in the NCAA Division II coaches' poll, is a trip to Western Oregon (6-10, 1-6) on Thursday. Western ended a three-game losing streak at the Physical Education Building with a 79-66 win last year.

It gets worse on Saturday when the Vikings travel to the Humboldt House of Horrors. Western has lost its last four games at Humboldt State (9-6, 3-4), falling 93-75 last season.

After a week off, Western resumes play on Feb. 4 at Central Washington. The Wildcats (9-7, 4-3) have won four of the last six meetings in Ellensburg. Last year Central gave Western its first conference loss when it won 105-100 at Nicholson Pavilion.

The Vikings have beat CWU twice already this season: 84-81 at KeyArena and 104-85 at Carver Gym.

Despite Western's past road woes, playing away from home hasn't been an issue this season - the Vikings are 5-1.

POLL POSITION

Western maintained its hold on No. 2 in the national rankings released on Tuesday.

The University of Montevallo in Alabama is No. 1 for the third straight week. The Falcons (18-1) received all eight first-place votes, while Western was ranked second by all the voters.

Seattle Pacific University, which was ranked No. 3 last week, fell to No. 7 after losing 95-84 at Western on Saturday.

AMAYA PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Tyler Amaya was named the GNAC Player of the Week for the second time.

The senior forward from Mount Vernon totaled 35 points and 25 rebounds in victories last week over Northwest Nazarene and Seattle Pacific.

Against the Falcons on Saturday, Amaya had 19 points and 19 rebounds, recording his fourth double-double this season.