Defending champion WWU meets CSUSB in regional semifinals
March 18, 2013
BELLINGHAM, Wash. - GAMES NOTES:
NCAA Division II Men's Basketball West Regional - Semifinals - 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 18 - Sam Carver Gymnasium - Bellingham, Wash. Western Washington (28-2) vs. Cal State San Bernardino (20-8) Radio: KPUG (1170 AM/kpug1170.com) (Doug Lange & Mark Scholten) Livestats and Live Video: www.wwuvikings.com.
Tickets can be purchased by calling 360-650-2583. Reserved tickets are $12. General admission is $8, and students, youth and seniors with ID are $5. Tickets are good all day on each date.
WWU is playing host to a West Regional for the fourth time in the last five seasons. This is the Vikings' sixth regional appearance overall, and they are hosting for the fifth time.
WWU hosted a six-team regional in 2001, and after the NCAA II tournament expanded, hosted eight-team regionals in 2005, 2009 and 2012. It 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.
The winner of Monday's semifinal contest between the Vikings and CSUSB faces the winner of the No.3 Seattle Pacific (26-3) versus No.2 Cal Poly Pomona (28-2) contest slated for 2:30 p.m. Monday, in the regional championship game at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday.
No.1 seed and host WWU defeated No.8 seed Chaminade HI, 102-87, in an opening round game Friday.
WWU, ranked No.4 in the final National Association of Basketball Coaches/NCAA Division II Top 25 Poll, is 28-2. The Vikings have lost two of their last six games, both on the road, after opening the season 24-0, the best start in school history.
WWU won the regular-season Great Northwest Athletic Conference title with a 17-1 record, the best in conference history, and placed second in the conference tournament, losing 72-70 to Seattle Pacific in the title game that was decided by a 28-foot 3-pointer with 0:03 seconds remaining.
No.5 seed Cal State San Bernardino is 20-8, winning four of its last five games. The Coyotes, who opened the season 14-3, are the only unranked team remaining in the tournament with Seattle Pacific No.2 and Cal Poly Pomona No.5. CSUSB is led by 6-7 senior forward Kwame Alexander (16.3 ppg, 8.8 rpg), a first-team Daktronics West Region and California Collegiate Athletic Conference all-star. Two other standouts for coach Jeff Oliver (11th year) are 5-10 junior guard Brian Goins (16.0 ppg), a second-team all-region and first-team all-league pick, and 6-3 junior guard Lacy Haddock (12.1 ppg), a second-team all-CCAA pick.
WWU trails 3-5 in its series with CSUSB. The Vikings won the only other regional meeting with the Coyotes, 58-55 in the 2001 title game.
WWU had a 24-0 start this season and a 30-game winning streak over the last two years. Both the start and streak broke school records that had stood for 41 years.
WWU has started the same five players in every game this season, and all were named to the GNAC all-star team.
Senior guard John Allen paces the Vikings, being named the Daktronics West Region and GNAC Player of the Year. He leads WWU in points per game at 17.7, second in the GNAC, after scoring 29 in Friday's win over Chaminade.
Overall, Allen leads the team and ranks among the league's top 10 in four categories, being second in free-throw shooting (87.8 percent, 72-of-82), fourth in treys (2.2) and sixth in assists (4.2).
Allen has scored 1,430 career points, which ranks 10th among WWU leaders (needs six to move into ninth), is 12th in assists (332) and his free-throw percentage of 89.5 (231-of-258) is on school-record pace.
Allen, who has scored double-figure points 24 times this season with a high of 38, has had three 30-plus point games this season and seven career contests with 30 or more. The school record is nine. He scored a career-high 43 points, the second-highest figure in school history and four off the school record, against Simon Fraser on Jan. 2, 2011.
Senior forward Paul Jones, a first-team Daktronics West Region and all-conference pick, is averaging 14.8 points and 6.6 rebounds. He leads conference field-goal shooters and is 28th nationally at 59.3 percent (172-290), also scoring double figures in 24 games.
Jones scored 18 points in an 86-85 win over arch-rival Central Washington on Jan. 10, including the buzzer-beating winning layup, and versus the Wildcats on Feb. 9, finished with 16 points and a career-high 16 rebounds. He has had five double-doubles in points and rebounds this season.
Junior guard Richard Woodworth, who has reached double figures in scoring 16 times this season, is averaging 10.3 points. A second-team all-league choice, he ranks fifth among GNAC leaders in both free throw shooting (83.7 percent, 72-of-86) and 3-point accuracy (44.7 percent, 34-of-76).
Rounding out the starting five are senior center Chris Mitchell, who is averaging 9.0 points and 5.6 rebounds, and junior forward Austin Bragg, a transfer from Clark CC, who is averaging 9,1 points and 7.1 rebounds, fifth in the GNAC. Both players received all-conference honorable mention.
Bragg has had a GNAC and team-best seven double-doubles in points and rebounds this season, including a 20-point, 11-rebound effort against Seattle Pacific on Feb. 2.
Mitchell, who was a first-team CoSIDA Capital One Academic All-District honors and is a three-time GNAC academic all-star, leads the GNAC in blocked shots at 1.4 (41) and Bragg is third at 1.3 (38).
Outstanding contributions off the bench have come from senior guard Rico Wilkins, who is averaging 7.9 points on 38.8 percent 3-point shooting (38-of-96); junior guard Cameron Severson, who is averaging 7.8 points and 4.5 rebounds, shooting 57.9 percent from the floor (84-of-145) and 89.7 percent (61-of-68) at the line; and sophomore forward Anye Turner, a transfer from South Puget Sound CC, who is fourth among GNAC leaders in blocks at 1.3 (37) and is hitting 57.4 percent (39-of-68) of his field goals.
Severson has had 13 double-figure point games this season and Wilkins 10.
NOT OVER THE HILL: Two of WWU's players are 24 years old - Chris Mitchell and Rico Wilkins, four are 23 - John Allen, Paul Jones, Cameron Severson and Alfred Davis, and two are 22 - Austin Bragg and Dane Thorpe.
NATIONAL STAT RANKINGS: The Vikings rank among the top 10 nationally in five team statistical categories. They are No.4 in 3-point percentage defense (29.5), No.5 in scoring margin (16.6), No.6 in blocked shots (5.6), No.8 in field-goal percentage (50.4) and ninth in scoring offense (84.4).
CARVER GYM STREAK: The Vikings are 15-0 at home this season and are working on a school record 25-game winning streak at Carver Gym, breaking the standard of 21 set from 1970 to 1972. The streak is tied for the GNAC record of 25 set by Humboldt State from 2001 to 2003.
TOP 10 RANKING: WWU was ranked among the Top 10 in all 16 weekly polls this season, breaking the school record of 10 set during the 2005-06 campaign. Earlier this season, the Vikings matched the school's highest ever rating of No.2 six times. WWU also was ranked No.2 on one occasion during the 2005-06 season. In all, the Vikings are working on a school-record 24 straight Top 25 weekly rankings.
20 WIN SEASONS: WWU reached 20 wins for the 15th time in school history in Tony Dominguez' first year as head coach. Brad Jackson accomplished that feat 12 times during his 27 years as coach and Chuck Randall did it twice in 18 seasons.
THREE-DOT NOTES: The Vikings have started the same five players in every game this season ... Twenty-one of WWU's wins this season have been by 10 or more points, the other margins being seven in overtime, six twice, four, three and one ... Allen was picked as the preseason GNAC Player of the Year and was a Division II Bulletin Super 16 selection ... Allen was named Most Valuable Player at the South Point Holiday Hoops Classic and he and Woodworth were co-MVPs at the WWU Chuck Randall Thanksgiving Classic ... Also picked all-tournament at South Point was Mitchell ... Allen, Bragg, Jones and Woodworth have each earned GNAC Player of the Week recognition this season, Allen being named twice ... The Vikings received one first-place vote in the NABC Preseason Top 25 while being picked No.6 ... WWU was tabbed No.8 nationally in the Division II Bulletin preseason poll.
WWU EARNS GNAC TEAM HONOR TWICE: The Vikings earned GNAC Team of the Week honors for Dec. 30-Jan. 5 and Jan. 27-Feb. 2, both while posting wins over Montana State Billings and Seattle Pacific.
ALLEN 1,000 AND BEYOND: John Allen became the 23rd Viking to reach the 1,000 plateau in career scoring, and just the fifth who did not play four seasons at WWU to accomplish that feat, on Dec. 8 vs. Quest BC. Allen currently ranks 10th at 1,430, and is 12th in assists at 332. He is on school-record pace in career free-throw percentage at 89.5 (231-of-258) and his seven games with 30 points or more rank second in school history to Mike Franza (1970-73), who had nine.
PRE-SEASON HONORS: John Allen was picked as the preseason GNAC Player of the Year and was a Division II Bulletin Super 16 pick. Besides Allen, the Vikings' Paul Jones and Richard Woodworth were named to the GNAC preseason all-conference team.
COACH DOMINGUEZ: Tony Dominguez (28-2, first rookie coach in school history to win 20 games and the first in NCAA II history to win his first 24), who shared GNAC Coach of the Year honors, is in his first season as head coach at WWU after being an associate head coach the previous two seasons and an assistant 17 years overall, all at WWU. During that stretch, the Vikings posted a 317-165 (.658) record, made six regional appearances and won five conference championships. WWU took the NCAA II national crown in 2012, winning a school record 31 games, and reached the national semifinals in 2001. As an assistant, Dominguez was responsible for recruiting, scouting, coordinating scheduling, and budgeting. He played a major role in the recruiting classes of past 12 seasons. Those teams had a winning percentage of .711 (246-100).
TOUGH EXHIBITIONS: The Vikings accounted well for themselves in a pair of road exhibition games against NCAA I opponents. They lost 88-78 at Washington on Oct. 24 and fell 105-87 at Duke, which has been ranked No.1 in the AP poll. WWU trailed by just two points, 74-72, against Washington with 4:30 to play, and versus Duke was within 11, 69-58, with 13:58 to go and 14, 99-85, with 2:13 remaining. The 18-point margin was the closest any defending DII national championship team had gotten to Duke since the Blue Devils began inviting those squads for exhibitions six years ago. In the combined second half of the games with Washington and Duke, the Vikings trailed by just four points. John Allen and Chris Mitchell each scored a team-high 17 points against Washington and Paul Jones added 15. Jones led the Vikings versus Duke with 20 points, 14 in the second half. Allen had 17, Woodworth 13 and Rico Wilkins added 12 off the bench.
NATIONAL CHAMPS! WWU won the 2012 national championship, defeating Montevallo, Ala., 72-65, on March 24 in a nationally televised game at Northern Heights, Kentucky. The Vikings finished 31-5, the win total being the most in school history. They won their final six games following a loss to Montana State Billings in the GNAC Tournament semifinal after winning the league's regular-season crown. It was the first NCAA basketball title at any level for a school from the state of Washington since Puget Sound won the NCAA II championship in 1976. Brad Jackson, who was the unanimous DII National Coach of the Year, resigned in late August to become an assistant at University of Washington, ending a 27-year, 518-win coaching tenure at WWU.
WEST REGION AT NCAA II ELITE EIGHT: A representative of the West Region has either won the national men's basketball title or been runner-up in each of the last four years. WWU won the title in 2012 after BYU Hawaii reached the final in 2011, and Cal Poly Pomona took the crown in 2010 after getting to the final in 2009.
NATIONAL AND REGIONAL TV: WWU appeared on two regional telecasts (ROOT Sports), Jan. 10 when the Vikings' won 86-85 at home over Central Washington and March 9 when WWU fell 72-70 to Seattle Pacific in the GNAC Tournament championship at Lacey. WWU also has been on national TV three times over the last calendar year. The Vikings were on the CBS Sports network and CBSSports.com in the national semifinal game and when they played Simon Fraser on March 2. The NCAA II national title contest was carried by CBS TV.
GNAC REGULAR-SEASON CHAMPS: The Vikings won the GNAC regular-season championship for the second straight year, finishing with a 17-1 record, the best in GNAC history. Last year, they placed first with a 16-2 mark. The GNAC title is the fifth overall for WWU, which also won conference titles in 2002, 2005 and 2009 when they weren't separated as to regular season and tournament.
FINAL SEASON FOR VISSER: This campaign will be the last for Rob Visser, who is in his 19th year as an assistant for the Vikings. A member of the WWU Athletics Hall of Fame, Visser had 1,026 points, 725 rebounds (fourth) and 168 blocked shots (second) during his three-year career.
RADIO BROADCASTS: Selected WWU games are being broadcast this season on KBAI Radio (930 AM) and KPUG Radio (1170 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://client.stretchinternet.com/client/wwu.portal#. For up-to-date statistics, box scores of every game, records, stories, etc., see the WWU 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 WWU STARTERS & TOP RESERVES:
MOST RECENT GAME SUMMARIES:
March 8 - WWU 61, Alaska Fairbanks 43 at Lacey, WA (GNAC Tourney)
Jones led a balanced attack with 12 points as top seed WWU advanced to the championship game with a 61-43 semifinal win over No.4 seed Alaska Fairbanks at the GNAC Tournament at Marcus Pavilion. The Vikings, ranked No.2 nationally and No.1 in the West Region rating, improved to 27-1. They won the conference regular-season crown with a GNAC record-setting17-1 record. UAF, which placed fourth in the GNAC standings, finished its season 16-12. Dominique Brinson and Pat Voeut each had 10 points for the Nanooks. The triumph avenged WWU's only loss of the season, a 77-73 defeat at Fairbanks on Feb. 21. The Vikings trailed, 20-19, with eight minutes left in the first half, but closed the period with a 19-7 run and held a 38-27 lead at halftime. WWU then opened the second half with six straight points in less than two minutes, capped by a Bragg dunk that pushed the lead to 44-27 with 18:04 to play. The margin was never less than 15 after that, as the Vikings held the Nanooks to just 16 points and 7-of-26 (26.9 percent) field-goal shooting in the second half. The 43 points were the fewest allowed by WWU this season, and the 61 points scored matched its lowest output of the year. Allen had 11 points for the Vikings, as did Severson off the bench. It was the first-ever GNAC tournament triumph for WWU in the third year of the event. The Vikings lost, 77-75, to Northwest Nazarene in the opening round in 2011, and in 2012, received a bye before falling in the semifinals to Montana State Billings, 82-78.
March 9 - Seattle Pacific 72, WWU 70 at Lacey, WA (GNAC Tourney)
Jobi Wall hit a 28-foot 3-pointer with 0.3 seconds left, lifting Seattle Pacific University to a 72-70 triumph over top seed WWU in the championship game of the GNAC Tournament between two of the nation's top three ranked teams at Marcus Pavilion in a game televised by ROOT Sports.The Vikings, ranked No.2 nationally and No.1 in the West Region rating, fell to 27-2 with just their second loss in the last 35 games. Jones had 20 points and seven rebounds, hitting 10-of-13 field-goal attempts for the defending national champions, and Allen added 19 points. Seattle Pacific, ranked No.3 nationally and No.2 in the West Region, improved to 25-3 and avenged a pair of regular-season losses to the Vikings. Guard David Downs, the tournament MVP, had 20 points, 13 in the last 9:14, for the tourney No.2-seed Falcons, who have won nine straight games. The Vikings led by four, 70-66, entering the final minute, but twice missed on the front end of 1-and-1s, and Downs hit 3-of-4 attempts, making a pair with 16 seconds left to close the gap to one, 70-69. Woodworth, who finished with 13 points, then missed two free throws, and SPU's Riley Stockton dived on the floor to grab the rebound in the corner, leading to a Falcon timeout. SPU then tried to feed Wall on the left wing. WWU's Turner deflected the pass, but Wall retrieved it near half-court, took a dribble in and launched a game-winner that swished in with 0.3 seconds left. An attempted long inbound pass then hit the scoreboard hanging at midcourt. Prior to Wall's bomb, the Vikings had never trailed in the second half, although the score had been tied five times.The Vikings had a 13-11 lead a little over six minutes into the game before SPU ran off 11 straight points, six of them by Cory Hutsen, to take a 22-13 lead with 9:24 left in the first half. But WWU rallied, taking a 32-31 lead on a 3-pointer by Woodworth , and held a 35-33 lead at halftime. Hutsen had 16 points and Wall added 10 for the Falcons, who shot 53.2 percent (25-of-47) from the field. Western shot 53.7 percent (29-of-54). With his 19 points, Allen surpassed the 1,400-point mark in career scoring, finishing the game at 1,401.
March 15 - WWU 102, Chaminade 87 at Bellingham (West Regional)
Allen scored a team-high 29 points and added eight assists to lead WWU to a 102-87 victory over Chaminade in the final game of the opening round of the West Regional before a crowd of 2,385 at Carver Gym. The Vikings, ranked No.4 nationally and the No.1 seed in the West Regional, improved to 28-2 overall. Chaminade, the No.8 seed, concluded its season 19-11 despite a game-high 32 points from guard Bennie Murray. WWU never trailed in the second half, but the result remained in doubt until the final moments. The Silverswords were down by just six, 89-83, with 4:28 to go, but a Severson layin and a Bragg dunk pushed the margin to 10, 93-83, with 3:05 to go. The gap was never less than eight after that. Mitchell had 19 points, going 4-of-5 on 3-pointers, for the Vikings, who shot 58.2 percent (32-of-55) from the field, including a sizzling 68.4 percent (13-of-19) in the second half. Jones had 16 points for WWU. Bragg added 14 points and a game-high 10 rebounds for his seventh double-double of the season, and Severson had 12 points off the bench. Lee Bailey had 15 points for the Silverswords,who shot 56.3 percent (9-of-16) on 3-pointers, but Pacific West Conference Player of the Year De'Andre Haskins was held to eight, roughly 10 below his average. In a wild first half, the Vikings twice opened up significant leads only to have the Silverswords rally. WWU's biggest lead of the period was 11, the last time at 52-41 with a minute left, but Chaminade ran off seven straight points to narrow the halftime margin to 52-48. Allen was 8-of-15 from the field and 10-of-10 on free throws.
2013 NCAA DIVISION II WEST REGIONAL host Western Washington University Sam Carver Gymnasium - Bellingham, Wash.
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