March 10, 2013
BELLINGHAM, Wash. - Playing host to the West Regional of the NCAA Division II National Tournament for the fourth time in five seasons, the defending national champion and regional top seed Western Washington University men's basketball team faces No.8 seed Chaminade in an opening-round game Fri., March 15 (7:30 p.m.), at Sam Carver Gymnasium.
The Vikings, No.2 in the latest USA Today Sports/ESPN NCAA Division II Top 25 Poll, are 27-2 overall. They won the Great Northwest Athletic Conference regular season title with a 17-1 record, the best in conference history, before falling to Seattle Pacific, 72-70, in the GNAC tournament championship game Saturday.
"It's been quite a ride to get to this point," said WWU coach Tony Dominguez, the GNAC co-Coach of the Year. "We're extremely excited about the opportunity to play in front of our home crowd, and I hope we don't disappoint them."
If victorious in the opening round, the Vikings would face the winner of the No.4 Dixie State (22-6) versus No.5 Cal State San Bernardino (19-8), who meet Friday at 5 p.m., in a semifinal contest Monday at 7:30 p.m, with the championship game Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. The regional champion advances to the NCAA II Elite Eight at Louisville, Kentucky.
On the other side of the bracket, Friday's opening-round games feature No.3-seed Seattle Pacific (25-3) meeting No.6 Grand Canyon (23-7) at 12 noon, and No.2-seed Cal Poly Pomona (27-2) facing No.7 Chico State (19-10) at 2:30 p.m., with the semifinal Monday at 2:30 p.m.
Tickets for the regional tournament go on sale Monday at 11 a.m. and can be purchased by calling 360-650-2583. Reserved tickets, which go on sale Wednesday at 2 p.m., are $12. General admission is $8, and students, youth and seniors with ID are $5. Tickets are good all day for each date.
The Vikings are led by senior guard John Allen (Brier/Mountlake Terrace), the GNAC Player of the Year and a pre-season All-American. Allen is averaging 17.3 points and 4.0 assists.
Senior forward Paul Jones (Kent/Kent-Meridian), like Allen a first-team all-GNAC selection, averages 14.8 points and 6.8 rebounds while shooting 59.2 percent (167-of-282) from the field. Junior guard Richard Woodworth (Bellevue/Newport), a second-team all-conference pick, contributes 10.4 points and 3.3 assists.
Completing the starting lineup that has been the same for all 29 games are junior forward Austin Bragg (Longview/Mark Morris), who averages 8.9 points and a team-high 7.1 rebounds, and senior center Chris Mitchell (Everson/Nooksack Valley), who provides 8.6 points, 5.8 rebounds and a team-best 1.4 blocks.
Chaminade (17-9) is led by PacWest Player of the Year De'Andre Haskins, who averages team-highs of 19.1 points and 7.4 rebounds. Bennie Murray, a second-team all-conference pick, adds 17.1 points a contest.
The Vikings defeated Chaminade, 93-83, in Honolulu on Nov. 14, just five days before the Silverswords upset NCAA Division I Texas, 86-73, at the Maui Classic. "We played them early in the season and were very impressed," Dominguez said. "They're a very talented team with multiple guys who are threats. We're looking forward to the challenge."
All regional contests involving WWU can be heard live on KPUG Radio (1170 AM - www.kpug1170.com) with Doug Lange handling play-by-play and Mark Scholten providing (analyst) color commentary. A webcast and live stats are also available at www.wwuvikings.com.
This is WWU's sixth regional appearance, and the Vikings are hosting for the fifth time. They hosted a six-team regional in 2001, and after the NCAA II tournament expanded, hosted eight-team regionals in 2005, 2009 and 2012. They also played host to a sub-regional as the No.2 seed in the West in 2010. The only time that WWU competed in a regional that it did not host was in 2006.
WWU took the West Regional last year on its way to winning the NCAA Division II national championship. The Vikings also captured the regional title in 2001 and advanced to the national semifinals, and they reached the regional final in 2006.
2013 NCAA DIVISION II WEST REGIONAL host Western Washington University Sam Carver Gymnasium - Bellingham, Wash.
March 15 (Fri.)
Game #1 - No.3 Seattle Pacific (25-3) vs. No.6 Grand Canyon (23-7) - 12 noon Game #2 - No.2 Cal Poly Pomona (27-2) vs. No.7 Chico State (19-10) - 2:30 p.m. Game #3 - No.4 Dixie State (22-6) vs. No.5 Cal State San Bernardino (19-8) - 5 p.m. Game #4 - No.1 seed Western Washington (27-2) vs. No.8 Chaminade (20-9 ) - 7:30 p.m.
March 18 (Mon.) Game #5 - Winner Game #1 vs. Winner Game #2 - 2:30 p.m. Game #6 - Winner Game #3 vs. Winner Game #4 - 7:30 p.m.
March 19 (Tue.) Game #7 - Winner Game #5 vs. Winner Game #6 - 8:30 p.m.
Home team is highest seed in each game
NCAA II ELITE EIGHT March 28 and 30 (Thu., Sat.) at Louisville, KY (Freedom Hall) Host Bellarmine University
WWU NCAA II APPEARANCES:
2001 West Regional at Bellingham, Wash. (host WWU) Defeated Cal State Bakersfield, 95-86 in overtime, in semifinals Defeated Cal State San Bernardino, 58-55, in final
Elite Eight at Bakersfield, Calif. (host Cal State Bakersfield) Defeated Queens, 89-85, in quarterfinals Lost to Washburn, 96-90, in semifinals
2005 West Regional at Bellingham, Wash. (host WWU) Defeated Brigham Young-Hawaii, 80-69, in first round Lost to Alaska Fairbanks, 88-66, in semifinals
2006 West Regional at Seattle, Wash. (host Seattle Pacific) Defeated Humboldt State, 100-86, in first round Defeated Chaminade, 101-91, in semifinals Lost to Seattle Pacific, 81-77, in final
2009 West Sub-Regional at Bellingham, Wash. (host WWU) Lost to Seattle Pacific, 82-77, in first round
2010 West Regional at Bellingham, Wash. (host WWU) Defeated Central Washington, 84-70, in first round Lost to Cal Poly Pomona, 76-75 in OT, in semifinals
2012 West Regional at Bellingham, Wash. (host WWU) Defeated Grand Canyon, 79-73, in first round Defeated Chico State, 74-65, in semifinals Defeated Seattle Pacific, 56-50, in final
Elite Eight at Northern Heights, KY (host Northern Kentucky) Defeated Midwestern State TX, 64-63 in quarterfinals Defeated Stonehill MA, 71-66, in semifinals Defeated Montevallo AL, 72-65, in national championship game
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