Vikings have strong showing against former coach
Oct. 25, 2012
SEATTLE, Wash. -
By ANDREW LANG -- THE BELLINGHAM HERALD
For the first time in 28 years, coach Brad Jackson won a game and the Vikings lost.
In an exhibition opener for both the University of Washington and Western Washington University - two colleges who haven't played a basketball game against each other since 2008 - there was plenty of familiarity.
"You know, it was good," Jackson said of reuniting with his former school. "It was very good. There were a lot of mixed feelings, and I wasn't exactly sure how I would feel, but it was good. I felt like we did some good stuff and battled hard. I thought Western battled hard, and I was proud of those guys."
Jackson said before the game he spoke with every WWU player and also talked to new Western coach Tony Dominguez, who was Jackson's assistant for nearly two decades before Jackson resigned from his post in mid-August.
"We're good friends," Dominguez said of his relationship with Jackson. "I owe Brad everything as far as professional life goes. I am just so thankful for that. We just talk about stuff and life. It hasn't changed, except we're a lot more busy."
Western, which travels to face Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 27, appeared poised to spoil Jackson's first game as an assistant with Washington.
WWU and UW were tied at 69 with 6 minutes, 55 seconds to go, but the Huskies pulled away late, earning an 88-78 win Wednesday, Oct. 24, at Alaska Airlines Arena in Seattle.
"I thought we handled their pressure pretty well," said Western guard John Allen, who joined Chris Mitchell for a team-best 17 points. "We got out-rebounded a little bit, but we were working. I think they got us on an off-night. Not taking credit away from them; they handled their business and got the win. All in all, it was a pretty promising performance."
Western took an early 6-0 lead and held an advantage through the first five minutes of the game. UW went up 21-12 with 10:38 to go in the first half, but the Vikings slowly crept back into the game. Mitchell hit a 3-pointer with 4:55 left in the first to cut the Huskies lead to 30-28, but Washington went on a run and took a 46-37 lead into the break.
WWU junior college transfer Austin Bragg impressed in his first game as a Viking. The 6-foot-8 junior from Clark Community College scored four points in the first half but hauled in seven boards. He finished with eight points and 10 rebounds.
"Austin is very smooth on offense," Dominguez said. "He can shoot from the outside. He's very gifted in that area, and we're excited about him."
Allen went to work in the second half, scoring nine points in the first five minutes to get the Vikings within four.
"No, they won a national championship," said UW guard Abdul Gaddy when asked if he was surprised by how close WWU kept the game. "(Allen) is a very shifty player. He knew how to use his body. He knows how to stop on a dime. He's a real good player."
While Allen said he was more focused on the game than playing against Jackson, he said he couldn't help but feel a little added motivation facing his old coach.
"Just being tied with UW late is enough motivation," Allen said. "I'm sure subconsciously there were some thoughts (of beating Jackson)."
After the game, Jackson stayed on the court and met with a number of family members, friends and a few former WWU players in attendance.
He said his new assistant coaching role has been an adjustment, but it's one he's getting used to.
"It's obviously different, because you're not pulling the trigger," Jackson said. "I think our trip to Europe really helped, because I got to be in that role. It's a role I'm getting used to, and I'm enjoying it."
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