Western looks to continue home success

WWUVIKINGSDOTCOM Ryan Diggs
WWUVIKINGSDOTCOM
Ryan Diggs
WWUVIKINGSDOTCOM

Feb. 3, 2005

BELLINGHAM, Wash. -

UPDATE: All alone in second place and just a game out of first in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, the Western Washington University men's basketball team continues a three-game home stand Saturday (7 p.m.), entertaining Saint Martin's College on Haggen Court at Sam Carver Gymnasium.

The Vikings, ranked No.3 in the latest West Region rating, are 15-4 overall and 7-3 in GNAC play. They host conference-leading Seattle Pacific (16-4, 8-2) on Sat., Feb. 12 (7 p.m.)

Western, which is 9-0 at Carver Gym this season, defeated arch-rival Central Washington,110-98, on Wednesday as junior guard Ryan Diggs scored a career-high 33 points, 21 in the first half. The 110 points were the most scored by the Vikings against Central in 229 series meetings.

Western has won four of its last five games after splitting the previous six contests. The Vikings opened the campaign with eight consecutive victories.

The Vikings feature a high-scoring offense notable for its balance. They rank sixth nationally in scoring average (90.8 avg.) and fourth in 3-point shooting (42.2 percent) in the latest NCAA Division II statistical report, with five players scoring in double figures and a sixth just short of double digits.

Western, which has scored 100 or more points in seven games and 99 each in two others, leads the GNAC in scoring offense, 3-point shooting, 3-point makes (8.9), blocked shots (4.5) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.36). They are second in scoring margin (10.9, 36th nat.), assists (18.0) and 3-point percentage defense (32.8); and third in field goal percentage (49.5, 23rd nat.).

Junior guard-forward Grant Dykstra, who has 1,045 career points, is Western's top scorer at 16.6 points a game. Dykstra, who has scored in double figures in 17 of 19 games, also leads the team in steals (1.6), while being second in field goal accuracy (51.6 percent, 115-of-223), assists (3.6) and 3-point shooting (49.4 percent, 41-of-83), and third in rebounds (5.4).

Dykstra ranks among the league's top 10 in six statistical categories, being third in 3-point shooting, fourth in scoring, fifth in steals; eighth in assist/turnover ratio (1.7), ninth in 3-point makes and 10th in assists.

Diggs is averaging 16.1 points a game and is second on the team in free throw percentage at 85.2 percent (75-of-88), ranking sixth among GNAC leaders in both categories. Diggs, who missed three games at the turn of the year with a hairline fracture in his right (shooting) hand, has averaged 21.8 points in six games since returning to the lineup. He has scored 20 or more points in four of the last five contests.

Senior forward Craig Roosendaal, the Vikings' "sixth man," is averaging 12.1 points and has made 55-of-109 3-point attempts (50.5 percent) to rank fifth nationally and second in the league. He also is second among GNAC leaders in 3-point makes (2.9), connecting on four or more treys in seven games, and has hit 40 percent or more from 3-point range in 14 contests.

Junior transfer forward Tyler Amaya is averaging 11.9 points and a team-high 7.8 rebounds. He also leads the team in blocked shots (1.2), ranking third in the GNAC in that category and fifth in rebounds.

Another transfer, junior center Tyler MacMullen, is averaging 11.3 points and 6.5 rebounds, hitting a team-high 53.1 percent (86-of-162) from the field. He has scored double figures in eight of the last nine games, averaging 14.2 points during that stretch. MacMullen ranks 10th in the conference in both field goal shooting and rebounds.

Junior guard Kyle Jackson is averaging 9.7 points and a team-best 4.4 assists per game, shooting a team-high 86.4 percent (51-of-59) at the free-throw line and 48.9 percent (22-of-45) from 3-point range. He ranks second among league leaders in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.71), fifth in free throw accuracy and 3-point percentage, and sixth in assists.

The Vikings, coached by Brad Jackson (20th year, 368-214), rank 14th nationally in 3-point makes per game (8.9). Their 3-point percentage of 42.2 (170-of-403) is on pace for a school record and they have shot 40 percent or more from 3-point range in 13 contests, hitting nine or more treys 11 times with a high of 14.

Saint Martin's is 8-11 overall and 5-5 in GNAC action, winning four of its last six games after losing seven straight.

The Saints return two starters from last year's 8-19 squad - 6-6 junior forward Niko Nunogawa (19.8 ppg-3rd GNAC, 6.8 rpg, .547 FG Pct.), who received honorable mention all-league recognition, and 6-3 senior forward Solomon Wyatt (12.4 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 57.2 FG Pct.). Another starter back is 5-10 senior point guard Jabbar Gray (12.9 ppg, 5.3 apg, 4.3 rpg).

Three other returnees of note for second-year coach Keith Cooper (16-30) are 6-9 sophomore center Trevor Dunston (7.4 ppg, 4.7 rpg), 6-1 sophomore guard Joe Chirchart (10.4 ppg, 3.3 apg, 38.9 3-pt. Pct., 42-108), who sat out last season, and 6-1 senior guard Anthony Di Tomassi (7.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg).

Saint Martin's is scoring at a 78.9 clip, despite hitting just 59.4 percent of its free throws, and leads the GNAC in steals per game (9.7). The Saints are allowing 83.3 points per game and 37.9 percent 3-point shooting.

Western holds a 111-56 series advantage, winning the last eight meetings.

UPCOMING GAMES:

Feb. 5 (Sat.) SAINT MARTIN'S*# (HAGGEN COURT - CARVER GYM), 7 p.m. Feb. 12 (Sat.) SEATTLE PACIFIC*# (HAGGEN COURT - CARVER GYM), 7 p.m. Feb. 17 (Thu.) at Alaska Anchorage* (Anchorage, AK), 8 p.m. AT Feb. 19 (Sat.) at Alaska Fairbanks* (Fairbanks, AK), 7 p.m. AT) *Great Northwest Athletic Conference contest #broadcast on KBAI Radio (930 AM - Bellingham) and internet (wwuvikings.com)

THREE-DOT NOTES: Western's seven 100-point games are the most since the 1988-89 season, when the Vikings had a school-record 11 ... Amaya leads the team with six double-doubles ... Western opponents have scored 90 or more points in six of the last eight games ... The Vikings are 10-0 when having more rebounds than the opposition, and 5-4 when being outrebounded. They have shot under 45.0 percent from the field just four times, going 1-3 in those games ... Western is 11-3 against West Region teams, winning all four games with California Collegiate Athletic Association foes. Three of the victories have been against nationally ranked opponents, 99-82 over No.22 Cal Poly Pomona, 73-69 over No.21 Cal State San Bernardino and 99-90 over No.16 Alaska Fairbanks ... The Vikings' 8-0 start was the best since 1987-88 when they won their first nine games ... Amaya played at NCAA Division I Gonzaga and Dixie College (Utah) before coming to Western, and MacMullen earned first-team NWAACC all-region honors at Edmonds CC last year.

Western has been out of the NABC/NCAA II Coaches Top 25 the last three weeks, after being No.11, No.4, No.5, No.14, No.10 and No.14 in the first six polls ... Amaya was named GNAC co-Player of the Week for Dec. 13-19 ... Dykstra, who is the only Western player to start all 73 games over the last three seasons, was named GNAC Player of the Week for both Nov. 14-20 and Nov. 21-27 ... Not one Western starter scored double digits in the 95-77 loss to South Dakota, the first time that had happened since Feb. 17, 1987 (517 games), when the Vikings fell, 81-65, at Puget Sound.

GOOD FOR THREE: Western has made 10 or more 3-pointers in seven games this season, and has shot 40 percent or better from beyond the arc in 14 contests.

Western, which fell just short of breaking the school season record for 3-point shooting in 2003-04, is challenging the standard again. The Vikings are hitting 42.2 percent (170-of-403), well ahead of the record of .415 (144-of-347) set in 1986-87. Last year, they shot 41.3 percent from beyond the 3-point line.

GNAC PRESEASON COACHES POLL: Western was third in the GNAC Preseason Coaches Poll. Alaska Fairbanks was picked to win the championship, receiving six first-place votes, and Seattle Pacific was voted second with two first-place votes. Western got one first-place vote as did Alaska Anchorage, which was fourth.

COACH JACKSON: Brad Jackson is in his 20th year and is the most successful coach in school history, both in total wins (368-214) and winning percentage (.632). Entering this season, he ranked 27th among active NCAA II coaches in victories and 37th in winning percentage. Four years ago, Jackson directed Western to a 27-4 record and the semifinals of the NCAA II National Championship, being named NABC/NCAA II West Region, Northwest small college and Pacific West Conference Coach of the Year. Five times named district/region Coach of the Year, Jackson has directed Western to 14 post-season playoff appearances, including district/region/conference championships and national tournament appearances in 1988, 1994 and 2001. He has had seven 20-win campaigns (1986-90, 1993-94, 2000-01, 2001-02).

TOURNAMENT NOTES: Dykstra was named MVP at both the Sonoma State Classic and the WWU/Chuck Randall Thanksgiving Classic. Jackson also earned all-star honors in both tourneys, with Roosendaal being an all-tourney choice at the Sonoma State Classic and Amaya earning similar honors at the Randall Classic ... The Vikings won or tied for the Randall Classic title for the third straight season, and for the fourth time in the seven-year history of the event, defeating No.22-ranked Cal Poly Pomona, 99-82, and Pacific Lutheran, 103-60.

LAST SEASON: Western finished 17-10 overall and placed third in the GNAC at 11-7. The Vikings were probably one victory away from earning a berth in the West Regional.

RADIO BROADCASTS: Thirteen Western games are being broadcast this season on KBAI Radio (930 AM) with Doug Lange handling the play-by-play, and either Mark Scholten, Jason Stiles or Ervin Kuehbler providing the color commentary. They also can be heard on the internet at www.wwuvikings.com.

ON THE WEB: For up-to-date statistics, box scores of every game, records, stories, etc., see the Western Athletic web page at www.wwuvikings.com. Up-to-date league standings and statistics can be found on the Great Northwest Athletic Conference web page at www.gnacsports.com.

PROBABLE WESTERN STARTERS & TOP RESERVES:

G  Kyle Jackson**, 5-10, Jr., Bellingham, WA/Sehome (9.7 ppg, 48.9 3-pt. Pct., 86.4 FT Pct.)
G  Ryan Diggs**, 6-2, Jr., Victorville, CA/Silverado (16.1 ppg, 85.2 FT Pct.)
C  Tyler MacMullen,6-9, Jr.,Mukilteo,WA/Kamiak/Edmonds CC (11.3 ppg,6.5 rpg,53.1 FGPct.)
F  Grant Dykstra**,6-4,Jr.,Everson,WA/Lynden Christian(16.6 ppg, 3.4 apg, 5.4 rpg)
F  Tyler Amaya, 6-7, Jr., Mount Vernon,WA/Mount Vernon/Gonzaga/Dixie (11.9 ppg, 7.8 rpg)

F Craig Roosendaal*, 6-7, Jr., Shoreline, WA/King's/Edmonds CC (12.1 ppg, 50.5 3-pt. Pct.) F Darrell Visser**, 6-6, Jr., Lynden, WA/Lynden (3.1 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 1.0 bpg) C Lukas Henne*, 6-6, So., Bremerton, WA/Central Kitsap (3.2 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 58.1 FG Pct.) G Preston Vermuelen**, 6-2, Jr., Sumas, WA/Nooksack Valley (3.5 ppg, 53.5 FG Pct.) F Brett Weisner, 6-5, T-Fr., Spokane, WA/Shadle Park (3.0 ppg) *letters

OPPONENT SKETCHES:

SAINT MARTIN'S COLLEGE: The Saints (8-11 overall, 5-5 GNAC, 4-4 home, 4-7 road), who have won four of their last six games after losing seven straight, return three starters from last year's 8-19 squad - 6-6 junior forward Niko Nunogawa (19.8 ppg-3rd GNAC, 6.8 rpg, .547 FG Pct.), who received honorable mention all-league recognition, 6-3 senior forward Solomon Wyatt (12.4 ppg, 479 rpg, .572 FG Pct.) and 5-10 senior point guard Jabbar Gray (12.9 ppg, 5.3 apg, 4.3 rpg). Three other returnees of note for second-year coach Keith Cooper (16-30) are 6-9 sophomore center Trevor Dunston (7.4 ppg, 4.7 rpg), 6-1 sophomore guard Joe Chirchart (10.4 ppg, 3.3 apg, .389 3-pt. Pct., 42-108), who sat out last season, and 6-1 senior guard Anthony Di Tomassi (7.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg). SMC is scoring at a 78.9 clip, despite hitting just 59.4 percent of its free throws, and leads the GNAC in steals per game (9.7). The Saints are allowing 83.3 points per game and 37.9 percent 3-point shooting. Western holds a 111-56 series advantage, winning the last eight meetings.

SEATTLE PACIFIC UNIVERSITY: The Falcons (16-4 overall, 8-2 GNAC, 10-0 home, 6-4 road, Feb. 5 host Central Washington), who have won 14 of their last 16 games (split last four road games) after a 2-2 start, are the No.1-rated West Region team and top the GNAC standings. They return all five starters from last year's 14-13 team. Leading that quintet are 6-8 senior center Jason Chivers (15.2 ppg, 54.9 FG Pct., 9.5 rpg, 1.1 bpg), who was a second-team Daktronics, Inc., West Region and first-team GNAC all-star last season; and 6-1 senior guard Jordan Lee (13.5 ppg, 46.8 3-pt. Pct., 44-94), who received all-GNAC honorable mention. Rounding out the fivesome for coach Jeff Hironaka (3rd year, 46-28) are 6-4 sophomore forward Dustin Bremerman (13.2 ppg, 50.6 FG Pct., 90.9 FT Pct., 3.1 apg), who earned GNAC Freshman of the Year honors for 2004-05, 6-1 junior guard Tony Binetti (14.1 ppg, 63.0 FG Pct., 56.9 3-pt. Pct., 29-51; 80.9 FT Pct., 4.8 apg) and 6-8 junior forward Chad Williams (7.5 ppg, 6.1 rpg). Another top returnee is 6-2 senior guard Ralph Steele (7.9 ppg, 50.0 FG Pct., 94.1 FT Pct.). SPU is averaging 83.8 points a game, shooting 51.5 percent from the floor, 40.9 percent from 3-point range and 73.3 percent at the free throw line. The Falcons lead the GNAC in field goal percentage defense (42.9) and 3-point percentage defense (30.9), holding the opposition below 41 percent from the floor in their last five games. SPU has a 64-42 series advantage, posting a 76-68 win on Jan. 15 at Seattle. In that contest, the Falcons held Western to 32.4 percent (22-of-68) field goal accuracy and 27.3 percent (6-of-22) 3-point shooting, both season lows. Chivers scored just three points, but grabbed 13 rebounds, and every other SPU starter scored double figures.

GAME SUMMARY:

Feb. 2 at Bellingham - WESTERN 110, Central Washington 98
Diggs scored a career-high 33 points, 15 of them in a crucial run late in the first half as Western defeated arch-rival Central Washington, 110-98, in a GNAC game before a near-capacity crowd of 2,407 at Haggen Court at Carver Gym. Six Viking players scored in double figures for Western, which improved to 9-0 at home this season. Central fell to 8-11 overall and 4-6 in the GNAC, suffering its third straight loss despite the efforts of guard Robert Hicks, who came off the bench to score a career-high 36 points. Western jumped to a 15-5 lead less than five minutes into the contest, but Central recovered with a 20-5 run of its own, with Hicks scoring nine of the points, to grab a 25-20 lead with 10:37 left in the half. The Wildcats still held a five-point edge, 34-29, with just over six minutes left in the half, but Western closed the period with a 20-6 run to lead 49-40 at halftime. In that run, Diggs had a stretch where he scored 15 of 16 Western points in a little over five minutes. The Vikings then put the game away early in the second half, using a 14-4 charge in a 2:53 span, with the last eight points being scored by Dykstra, to open up a 70-50 lead with 12:53 to play. Central got no closer than 11 points after that. Dykstra finished with 19 points for Western, which shot 56.3 percent (36-of-74) from the field and had six players score in double figures. MacMullen had 16 points on 6-of-8 field goal shooting, Amaya had 12 points and game-highs of 11 rebounds and five assists, and Jackson and Roosendaal each added 11. Forward Jerrell Everson had 12 points for Central, and guards Chris Bannish and Derek Groth each added 10. Forward Lance Den Boer, who had missed the last two games with a sprained ankle, had nine points, well below his season average of 21.2 points a game. The 110 points were the most scored by Western in 229 series meetings with Central.

Viking Men by the Numbers
(Thru 19 games)

Leading at the half, 12-1 Trailing at the half, 2-3 Tied at the half, 1-0 In Overtime, 1-0

Shooting 50% or better, 10-1 Shooting 40-49.9%, 5-0 Shooting less than 40%, 0-2

Opponent shoots 50% or better, 3-2 Opponent shoots 40-49.9%, 8-2 Opponent shoots less than 40%, 4-0

WWU outrebounds opponent, 10-0 Opponent outrebounds WWU, 5-4 Teams are tied in rebounds, 0-0

Makes 0-4 three-pointers, 1-0 Makes 5-7 three-pointers, 5-1 Makes 8 or more three-pointers, 9-3

WWU shoots more FTs, 9-0 Opponent shoots more FTs, 5-4 Teams shoot same number of FTs, 1-0

WWU bench outscores opponent bench, 7-2 Opponent bench outscores WWU bench, 7-2 Benches score same number of points, 1-0

WWU commits fewer TOs than Opp., 9-3 Opponents commit fewer TOs than WWU, 5-1 Teams commit same amount of TOs, 1-0

WWU commits 15 or fewer TOs, 11-2 WWU commits more than 15 TOs, 4-2

Opponent ranked in Top 25 Coaches Poll, 3-0

Scoring less than 50 points, 0-0 Scoring 50-59 points, 0-0 Scoring 60-69 points, 0-1 Scoring 70-79 points, 2-2 Scoring 80-89 points, 4-0 Scoring 90-99 points, 3-0 Scoring 100 points or more, 6-1

Allowing 50 points or less, 0-0 Allowing 50-59 points, 0-0 Allowing 60-69 points, 7-0 Allowing 70-79 points, 1-1 Allowing 80-89 points, 3-0 Allowing 90-99 points, 4-2 Allowing 100 points or more, 0-1

Game is decided by 1-4 points, 2-0 Game is decided by 5-10 points, 3-2 Game is decided by 11 or more points, 10-2

Playing a day game, 1-0 Playing a night game, 14-4

In November, 5-0 In December, 5-1 In January, 5-3 In February, 0-0 In March, 0-0

On Sunday, 1-0 On Monday, 1-0 On Tuesday, 0-0 On Wednesday, 1-0 On Thursday, 4-1 On Friday, 2-0 On Saturday, 6-3