Western hosts Montana State Billings in regular season finale Saturday
March 2, 2010
BELLINGHAM, Wash. - Back to its winning ways, the nationally ranked and post-season bound Western Washington University men's basketball team closes out its regular season Saturday (7 p.m.), playing host to Montana State University Billings in a Great Northwest Athletic Conference contest on Haggen Court at Sam Carver Gymnasium.
The game can be heard on KBAI (930 AM) Radio and viewed via video stream at http://www.greatnorthwest.tv.
Western, rated No.21 in this week's National Association of Basketball Coaches/NCAA Division II Top 25 Poll and No.2 in the latest West Region Poll, is 24-5 overall and second in the GNAC standings at 11-4 after posting a pair of victories, 76-75 in overtime at Northwest Nazarene on Feb. 25 and 90-86 at home over arch-rival Central Washington on Feb. 28 in a game that was televised live regionally on FSN Northwest.
The defending conference champion Vikings, who reached the first round at the West Regional in 2008-09, are 12-1 at home this season.
It will be Senior Night on Saturday with six Vikings being honored. They are guard Morris Anderson, forward Zach Bruce, guard Harold McAllister, guard Andrew Ready, center Dave Vanderjagt, and forward Derrick Webb.
Webb leads the Vikings at 16.3 points per game, fourth in the GNAC, and is second on the team in rebounds, averaging 6.0, 10th in the conference. He is shooting 49.7 percent (154-of-310) from the field, including 41.7 percent (55-of-132) from 3-point range, and is hitting 82.2 percent (111-of-132) at the free-throw line.
Anderson averages 14.5 points and paces Western in both assists at 5.1 and steals at 2.5. He is shooting a GNAC-leading 86.3 percent (82-of-95) at the free-throw line, setting a school record earlier this season by making 39 straight.
Anderson tops the GNAC and ranks No.16 nationally in steals, and is third in assists and fourth in 3-point makes (2.4).
Bruce is averaging a team-high 6.5 rebounds and has a 10.4 scoring average.
Completing the Vikings' starting five are senior guard Andrew Ready, who is averaging 8.1 points, and 7-foot senior center Dave Vanderjagt, who is scoring at a 5.3 clip while leading the team with 31 blocked shots.
A solid bench is paced by sophomore forward Rory Blanche, who is averaging 8.2 points on team-leading 56.2 percent (97-of-171) field-goal shooting.
Blanche has averaged 11.3 points over the last nine games. 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.
Other top reserves are senior guard Harold McAllister, who is averaging 6.8 points and hitting 50.0 percent (35-of-70) from 3-point range; sophomore guard Cameron Severson, who is averaging 4.5 points and hitting 87.2 percent (34-of-39) at the free-throw line; freshman guard Richard Woodworth, a defensive stalwart; and redshirt freshman center Chris Mitchell, who is averaging 3.3 points.
McAllister is shooting 83.1 percent (54-65) at the free-throw line, making 23 straight during one stretch. He is second in the GNAC in both assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.7 with 59 assists and just 22 turnovers, and 3-point shooting.
In last week's wins, McAllister scored 32 points, hitting 8-of-11 field goals and 6-of-9 3-pointers.
Western leads the GNAC in 3-point percentage defense (30.5 percent, 127-of-418), scoring margin (14.8, No.13 nationally), and field-goal percentage defense (41.6, 704-of-1691).
The Vikings are second in the conference in scoring defense (65.0), field-goal percentage (48.6, 812-of-1672), 3-point percentage (39.5, 202-of-511), rebounding margin (4.2), blocked shots (3.9), assists (16.6), and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.3).
Montana State Billings, 14-9 overall (March 4 at Central Washington) and 8-6 in conference play, has won five of its last seven games.
MSUB has six transfers from four-year schools on its roster. Leading that group is 6-1 senior guard DaVell Jackson from Oklahoma City who is averaging 12.4 points. He is second among GNAC leaders in assists at 6.0 and is third in steals at 2.3. Another is 6-3 senior guard Lasha Parghalava, a part-time starter at Hawaii, who is scoring at a 10.3 clip.
A top junior college addition for coach George Pfeifer (2nd year, 24-26; 20th year overall, 332-280) has been 6-2 junior guard DeAndre Chambers from Western Oklahoma State. He is averaging 15.3 points and 4.6 rebounds, and has a league-leading 2.6 3-point makes per game average.
A returning starter for the Yellowjackets who received all-GNAC honorable mention, is 6-7 senior forward Derrick Wright, who is averaging 12.0 points and 5.5 rebounds.
Another solid returnee is 6-8 senior center Brad Hodge, who is third in the GNAC in both field-goal percentage at 59.9 percent (91-of-152) and free-throw accuracy at 87.9 percent (29-of-33). He averages 10.2 points and 4.3 rebounds.
Western holds a 10-1 series advantage, winning 100-75 at Billings on Jan. 30.
Coach Brad Jackson has a career victory total of 469 (262 losses). He entered the season ranked No.18 among active NCAA II coaches in victories and No.38 in winning percentage (64.1). Jackson has had 11 20-win seasons at Western.
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 25 games this season, including one stretch of 21 straight. 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, 11 under Coach Jackson and 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 a 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 three 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 posted 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 ... During one stretch early this season, Western held its 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 (469-262) and winning percentage (64.2). 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.
HOME SWEET HOME: Western is 12-1 on its home floor this season and has won 75.6 percent (471-152) of its games at Carver Gym over 48 seasons.
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
LATEST GAME SUMMARIES:
Feb. 26 - WESTERN 76, Northwest Nazarene 75 OT at Nampa, Id.
Webb scored six of his game-high 19 points in overtime as Western rallied from a late second-half deficit and defeated Northwest Nazarene, 76-75, in a GNAC contest at the Johnson Sports Center. NNU fell to 13-11 overall and 5-8 in the GNAC with its fifth loss in the last six contests. Center Brian Barkdoll led four Crusaders in double figures with 19 points. Western trailed by three, 64-61, with under a minute to go in regulation, but scored on its final three possessions to force overtime. McAllister, who came off the bench to finish with 15 points, had the final four points, including two free throws with seven seconds left, tying the game at 67-67. NNU had a chance to win in regulation, but Anthony Golden, who had 16 points and made 4-of-5 3-pointers, missed at the buzzer. In the extra frame, a basket by Webb gave Western the lead for good at 73-71 with 58 seconds left. Drew Eisinger then made a free throw to narrow the margin to one, and Western's Anderson was fouled with 12 seconds left. Anderson made the first free throw and missed the second, but Webb, who scored in double figures for the 21st straight game, grabbed the rebound and subsequently made two free throws to put the game out of reach at 76-72 with seven seconds left. Western claimed the triumph despite being outshot from the field. The Vikings hit just 43.4 percent (23-of-53) to 53.1 percent (26-of-49) for the Crusaders. But Western overcame that by making 23-of-27 (85.2 percent) free throws. Eisinger had 14 points for NNU and Louie Beech added 10.
Feb. 28 - WESTERN 90, Central Washington 86 at Bellingham, Wash.
Anderson scored 22 points, 14 in the first half, as Western defeated arch-rival Central Washington, 90-86, in a GNAC contest at Carver Gym. The game was televised live on FSN Northwest. Central fell to 15-9 overall and 9-5 in GNAC play. Guard Jon Clift led the Wildcats with a game-high 23 points to tie his career-high, scoring 15 in the second half. Central scored the first 11 points of the game and held 15-5 lead just over six minutes into the contest. But Western responded with a 16-6 run, tying the game at 21-21 on a 3-pointer by Severson with 9:28 left in the first half. The Vikings took their first lead, 31-28, on a 3-pointer by Anderson with 5:34 remaining in the half, and led the rest of the way, holding a 44-36 lead at halftime. Western led by as much as 16 in the second half and held a 10-point edge, 80-70, with 53 seconds to play, but Central staged a wild comeback, scoring 16 points in 44 seconds, knocking down four straight 3-pointers. The burst closed the margin to three twice in the final 10 seconds, and the Vikings didn't put the game out of reach until McAllister hit two free throws with two seconds left for the final margin. Western's bench scored 47 of the team's 90 points, with McAllister having a season-high 17, Severson added 14, and Blanche having 13 points and a game-high 10 rebounds. Bruce added 10 points on 5-of-6 field goal shooting. The Vikings had a 44-31 advantage in rebounds and shot 85.7 percent (30-of-35) on free throws, making 12-of-14 in the last 1:03. Guard Toussaint Tyler had 18 points and seven rebounds for the Wildcats. Forward JC Cook added 15 points and center Chris Sprinker had 12.
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