Western at Seattle Pacific on Thursday
Feb. 16, 2010
BELLINGHAM, Wash. - In a game that will have huge implications on the top spot in the NCAA Division II West Region Poll and the Great Northwest Athletic Conference title race, Western Washington University visits Seattle Pacific University for a men's basketball contest Thursday (7 p.m.) at Royal Brougham Pavilion.
The defending GNAC champion Vikings, rated No.21 in this week's National Association of Basketball Coaches/NCAA Division II Top 25 Poll and No.1 in the latest West Region Poll (next rating is Wednesday), are 22-4 overall and second in the GNAC standings at 9-3, behind leader and nationally No.11-ranked Seattle Pacific, which is No.2 regionally.
Last week, Western split a pair of games in Alaska, having a five-game winning streak end in a 68-53 loss at Alaska Anchorage on Feb. 11 and bouncing back with an 82-71 win at Alaska Fairbanks on Feb. 13.
Webb leads the Vikings at 16.6 points per game, fourth in the GNAC. He is shooting 50.4 percent (140-of-278) from the field, including 43.0 percent (52-of-121) from 3-point range, and is hitting 80.5 percent (99-of-123) at the free-throw line. Webb also is averaging 6.2 rebounds, second on the team.
Anderson averages 14.5 points and paces Western in both assists at 5.3 and steals at 2.5. He is shooting 86.2 percent (75-of-87) at the free-throw line, setting a school record earlier this season by making 39 straight.
Anderson ranks among the GNAC's top 10 in seven statistical categories. He leads the GNAC and ranks No.13 nationally in steals and is second among conference leaders in free-throw percentage. He also is second in the GNAC in 3-point makes (2.4) and is third in assists.
Bruce is averaging a team-high 6.7 rebounds and has a 10.4 scoring average.
Completing the Vikings' starting five are guard Andrew Ready, who is averaging 8.5 points and 4.0 rebounds, and 7-foot center Dave Vanderjagt, who is averaging 5.5 points and 4.0 rebounds while leading the team with 27 blocked shots. Ready has hit 69.2 percent (27-of-39) from the field over the last seven games.
A solid bench is paced by sophomore forward Rory Blanche, who is averaging 7.9 points on team-leading and GNAC fifth-ranked 58.6 percent (89-of-152) field-goal shooting. He scored a career-high 20 points in a win over Saint Martin's on Feb. 6, hitting his first nine floor shots and finishing 9-of-10. Blanche has averaged 11.8 points over the last six games, hitting 66.7 percent (32-of-48) from the floor.
Other top reserves are senior guard Harold McAllister, who is averaging 6.3 points and hitting 47.5 percent (29-of-61) from 3-point range; sophomore guard Cameron Severson, who is averaging 4.2 points and hitting 85.3 percent (29-of-34) at the free-throw line; freshman guard Richard Woodworth, a defensive stalwart; and redshirt freshman center Chris Mitchell, who is averaging 3.3 points and 2.9 rebounds.
McAllister is shooting 83.0 percent (44-of-53) at the free-throw line, making 23 straight during one stretch. He is second in the GNAC in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.6 with 52 assists and just 20 turnovers, and ranks third in 3-point shooting.
Western leads the conference in 3-point percentage defense (28.8 percent), field-goal percentage defense (40.7, 616-of-1514), scoring margin (16.4) and assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.3. The Vikings are No.8 nationally in 3-point percentage defense, No.11 in scoring margin and No.19 in assist-to-turnover ratio.
Western is second in the GNAC in scoring defense (63.8), field-goal percentage (48.9, 753-of-1503), 3-point percentage (39.1, 182-of-466), rebound margin (4.2), assists (16.7), and blocks (3.7).
Coach Brad Jackson has a career victory total of 467 (261 losses). He entered the season ranked No.18 among active NCAA II coaches in victories and No.38 in winning percentage (64.2). Jackson has had 11 20-win seasons at Western.
Seattle Pacific is 18-3 overall and atop the GNAC at 9-1. The Falcons, who lead the GNAC in field-goal shooting and rank seventh nationally at 51.5 percent, have lost just once in 13 home games this season.
Four starters return from last year's 19-10 team that reached the regional semifinals for coach Ryan Looney, who is in his first season at SPU after compiling a 95-55 record in five campaigns at Eastern Oregon. They are second-team all-GNAC 6-1 junior guard Chris Banchero (18.6 ppg), honorable mention GNAC all-star 6-0 senior guard Brandon Larrieu (15.0 ppg), 6-9 senior center Rafael Moreira (13.1 ppg, .602 FG Pct., 5.9 rpg), and 6-8 senior center Rob Diederichs (5.5 apg, 4.2 ppg, 4.0 rpg).
Also back are 6-7 junior forward Ryan Sweet (9.8 ppg, 6.3 rpg) and 6-6 sophomore forward Jake Anderson (5.8 ppg, 4.5 rpg).
Western's only home loss this season was 73-66 to SPU. The Vikings fell 82-77 to SPU last year in the first round of the West Sub-Regional at Carver Gym. The two schools split during the regular season, the Falcons prevailing 86-84 at Bellingham and Western winning 76-75 at Seattle.
Western has won just once in the last 10 series meetings, and trails 72-46 overall.
SPINNING THE WEBB: Forward Derrick Webb's 40 points versus Western Oregon on Jan. 28 was the fourth-best effort in school history and was just the seventh time a Viking had reached the 40-point plateau. He has scored double figures in a team-best 23 games this season, and is working on a string of 19. Webb has hit 24 of his last 36 3-point attempts (66.7 percent). Webb followed up his 40-point effort, the most ever by a Viking at Carver Gym, with 33 at Montana State Billings on Jan. 30 for a total of 73 points in two games, the third highest total in school and GNAC history. He made a school and GNAC-record 10 3-pointers in the Western Oregon contest, going 10-of-12, and set another school standard by making six straight treys. In the two games, Webb was 14-of 19 from 3-point range, 73.7 percent.
THREE-DOT NOTES: Anderson, Bruce and Webb played together at Highline CC, helping the Thunderbirds to an NWAACC championship as freshmen and the semifinals as sophomores ... The Vikings have had 13 20-win seasons in all, the other two in 1970-71 and 1971-72 under Coach Chuck Randall ... Western was picked second in the 2009-10 GNAC Preseason Coaches Poll, four points behind Seattle Pacific. Both teams received four first-place votes ... Western won the school's first outright GNAC title last year after tying for crowns in 2002 and 2005.
The Vikings had a 12-game winning streak, the fourth longest in school history and the third best in GNAC archives, snapped in their 94-86 triple overtime loss at Saint Martin's on Jan. 7. The contest was the third longest in WWU history behind two four-overtime games. Western bounced back with a 93-60 win over Western Oregon on Jan. 9, setting school and GNAC records for fewest turnovers in a game with three ... Western reached the century mark in scoring in both of its GNAC contests two weeks ago, tying a school record with 17 3-pointers in defeating Western Oregon at home, 112-78, on Jan. 28; and winning 100-75 at Montana State Billings on Jan. 30. It was the first time that the Vikings have had back-to-back 100-point games since late in the 2005-06 season.
Western senior forward Michael Duty suffered a season-ending injury in mid-November, fracturing a finger on his non-shooting left hand. Duty was averaging 12.8 points and 5.8 rebounds in four games, being named MVP at the Disney Classic ... The Vikings won or tied for the title in all four of their tournament appearances this season ... Twenty-one of Western's 22 victories have been by double figures ... During one stretch early this season, the Vikings held opponents to 55 or fewer points in four straight games, the first time that has happened since the early 1950s.
Anderson was the GNAC Player of the Week for Dec. 28-Jan. 2 ... Duty was the MVP at the Disney Tip-Off Classic with Webb also being named all-tournament. Anderson and Bruce were all-tourney picks at the Seattle Pacific Classic; Bruce, Webb and Vanderjagt were on the WWU Chuck Randall Thanksgiving Classic all-tournament team and Anderson was the WWU Great Western Shootout MVP with Webb being another all-tourney choice ... Webb missed all of last season because of a broken wrist suffered during preseason practice ... Both Bruce and senior guard Andrew Ready did not play last season after being top reserves in 2007-08. Bruce was a redshirt and Ready took a year off from school to work.
MO PRESEASON ALL-AMERICAN: Western point guard Morris Anderson received honorable mention recognition on The Sporting News 2009-10 Preseason NCAA Division II All-America Team. He is one of two returning starters from last season's 21-6 team that won the school's first outright GNAC title and earned an automatic berth in the West Regional of the NCAA II National Tournament.
Anderson averaged 12.6 points, 6.1 assists and 5.4 rebounds in 2008-09, earning GNAC Newcomer of the Year and first-team all-star honors. He ranked ninth nationally in steals (2.7) and No.12 in assists with the third highest average in school history.
Anderson nearly had triple-doubles in two of Western's final three regular-season games. He had 15 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists in an 85-68 win over Central Washington; and 11 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds in a 76-68 victory at Montana State Billings.
This season, Anderson came close to a triple double on Feb. 4 against Saint Martin's, finishing with 13 points, 10 assists, and seven rebounds.
SILVER ANNIVERSARY FOR COACH JACKSON: Brad Jackson is in his 25th season, the longest tenure of any coach in Western history in any sport. He is the most successful men's coach in school history, both in total wins (467-261) and winning percentage (64.1). Jackson ranks No.18 among active NCAA II coaches in victories and No.38 in winning percentage.
Jackson, who was voted the GNAC Coach of the Year last year, has coached the Vikings to 17 post-season playoff appearances and 11 20-win season during his tenure. In 2001, 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.
WWU-CWU GAME ON FSN NORTHWEST: One of most intense NCAA II rivalries in the country will be televised regionally as Western has contracted with FSN Northwest for a live telecast of its home game on Feb. 28 with arch-rival Central Washington. Tip-off will be at 7 p.m. on Haggen Court at Sam Carver Gymnasium on the WWU campus. The game is traditionally a sellout on both campuses each season. In the first confrontation this season between the two schools, the Vikings prevailed 84-70 on Jan. 23 at Ellensburg. In last year's meeting at Bellingham, Western clinched the Great Northwest Athletic Conference championship outright with an 85-68 victory. That same season at Ellensburg, the Vikings won 95-75, just the third time in school history that they had won by 20 or more points on the road at CWU. Western is 14-7 in the last 21 series meetings with Central, but trails in the series overall, 151-88. Brad Adam will handle the play-by-play for FSN Northwest, with Francis Williams providing color commentary and Jen Mueller being the sideline reporter. FSN Northwest will also telecast its post-game show from Carver Gym. FSN Northwest is the cable home of the Seattle Mariners, Seattle Seahawks, Seattle Storm, Portland Beavers, Portland Timbers, Washington Huskies, Washington State Cougars, Oregon State Beavers and Gonzaga Bulldogs. The network delivers more than 350 live events each year - all of which are also available in high definition on FSN HD - to more than 3.4 million cable and satellite homes in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Alaska.
RADIO BROADCASTS: Selected Western games are being broadcast this season on KBAI Radio (930 AM) with Doug Lange handling the play-by-play and Mark Scholten providing the color commentary. They also can be heard on the internet at www.wwuvikings.com.
ON THE WEB: All Viking home games are being video streamed live and are available free at http://www.greatnorthwest.tv. 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 Morris Anderson, 6-3, *Sr., Federal Way, WA/Federal Way/Highline CC G Andrew Ready, 6-1, *Sr., Chicago, IL/Westinghouse/Bakersfield College C Dave Vanderjagt, 7-0, *Sr., Townsville, Australia/Townsville St/Montana F Zach Bruce, 6-8, *Sr., Oceanside, CA/Oceanside/Highline CC F Derrick Webb, 6-3, *Sr., Port Orchard, WA/South Kitsap/Highline CC
LAST WEEK'S GAME SUMMARIES:
Feb. 11 - Alaska Anchorage 68, WESTERN 53 at Anchorage, Alaska
Western scored just two points in the final 10:30 as it fell 68-53 to Alaska Anchorage in a GNAC contest at Wells Fargo Sports Center. The 53 points were a season-low for Western. The Vikings' only double-figure scorer was Webb, who had 13 points, all of them in the first half. Guard Brandon Walker had game highs of 23 points and nine rebounds for UAA, which improved to 14-6 overall and 5-4 in GNAC action. The Seawolves, who are 8-3 at home, had dropped three of their previous four games. Leading 51-42 with 10:30 remaining, Western was outscored 26-2 the rest of the game. The Vikings' only points were two free throws by reserve Richard Woodworth at 5:07, that gave them a three-point lead, 53-50. UAA scored the last 18 points, 11 of them at the free-throw line, as Western missed its last 13 shots from the field. The Seawolves, who lead the GNAC in scoring defense, held the Vikings to 39.1 percent (18-of-46) field-goal shooting and 33.3 percent (6-of-18) from 3-point range. Western had shot 60.8 percent from the floor, including 56.5 percent from 3-point range, in its previous four games, and had hit 59.1 percent (13-of-22) from the field in the first half, including 6-of-10 3-pointers. The Vikings, who were outrebounded 38-26, made just 5-of-24 field goals in the second half and missed all eight of their 3-point attempts. UAA converted its first 19 free throws in the second half and made 21-of-26 (80.8 percent) overall. Reserves Nick Pacitti and Aaron Stevens had 13 and 10 points, respectively, for the Seawolves.
Feb. 13 - WESTERN 82, Alaska Fairbanks 71 at Fairbanks, Alaska
Anderson scored 19 points and Webb added 18 as Western used a late surge to defeat Alaska Fairbanks, 82-71, in a GNAC contest at Patty Center. The Vikings also got 12 points off the bench from Blanche. UAF, which lost its sixth straight, fell to 6-14 overall and 1-10 in GNAC action. Forward Nashorn Maynard scored a game-high 30 points for the Nanooks, hitting 11-of-16 from the field and making 8-of-10 free throws. He also grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds, 11 of those coming on the offensive glass. UAF made nine of its first 10 field-goal attempts and held a 44-39 advantage at halftime, outscoring the Vikings, 12-4, over the last seven minutes. Maynard had 19 points during that period. The Nanooks still led by six points, 58-52, with 11:02 left in the game. Western then outscored UAF, 19-5, over the next seven minutes to lead, 71-63, with 3:55 to go, and the Nanooks never got closer than six after that. Mitchell came off the bench to score all seven of his points during that run. The Vikings shot 56.3 percent (27-of-48) from the floor, hitting 14-of-23 3-pointers, 60.9 percent. Anderson made 6-of-9 shots from beyond the arc, Webb 4-of-7, and McAllister 2-of-3. Webb scored 16 of his points in the first half, and Anderson had 13 of his in the second. UAF, which had 13 steals, was 10-of-32 (31.3 percent) in the second half after hitting 50 percent (18-of-36) in the first period. It was Western's sixth straight win in its series with UAF.
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