WWU hosts Dominican CA on Saturday, No.3 BYU Hawaii on Monday

Zach Henifin

Nov. 15, 2011

BELLINGHAM, Wash. - Coming off two easy home victories, Western Washington University plays host to Dominican CA on Saturday (7 p.m.) and nationally No.3-ranked Brigham Young University-Hawaii the following Monday (7 p.m.) in non-conference men's basketball action at Sam Carver Gymnasium.

Both games can be heard live on KBAI Radio (930 AM - www. 930kbai.com) with Doug Lange handling the play-by-play and Mark Scholten providing the color commentary. They also can be viewed on the internet at www.pennatlantic.com.

The 4-1 Vikings complete their five-game home stand on Saturday, Nov. 26 (5 p.m.), entertaining Northwest University in the Chuck Randall Thanksgiving Classic.

Last week, WWU cruised to victories over Notre Dame de Namur, 87-73, and Capilano BC, 104-78. Prior to that, the Vikings won two of three games at the Disney Classic, defeating Dominican, 74-61, and UC San Diego, 78-68, then falling to Chestnut Hill PA, 80-71.

Senior forward Rory Blanche, who scored a career-high 25 points against Capilano, is averaging 17.0 points and 7.0 rebounds, both team-leading figures. He is shooting 58.2 percent (39-of-67) from the field and has reached double-figure points in every game.

Junior guard John Allen, who had a game-high 18 points versus Notre Dame de Namur, is averaging 13.0 points and a team-best 4.0 assists. He is shooting 46.4 percent (13-of-28) from 3-point range and has made 12-of-13 free throws (.923).

Also averaging double-digit points for the Vikings are senior forward Zach Henifin at 11.4 and junior guard Richard Woodworth at 10.6. Woodworth, who is hitting 58.5 percent (24-of-41) from the floor, also is averaging 4.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists. Henifin is is averaging a team-high 2.6 steals along with 5.2 rebounds and 3.0 assists.

WWU lost senior forward Shedrick Nelson, a top reserve, for the season in the NDNU game as he tore the ACL in his right knee near the end of the second half.

Unable to play for the Vikings in the two home wins was starting junior forward Paul Jones (4.3 ppg, 6.0 rpg), who is dealing with hamstring and hand injuries.

Brad Jackson, who is in his 27th season as WWU's head coach, is just nine wins shy of becoming the 40th NCAA Division II coach to reach the 500 milestone. His 491 wins rank 13th among active NCAA II coaches and 44th overall.

Dominican: The Penguins are 0-4, beginning with a 74-61 season-opening loss to WWU. Two top returnees for first-year coach Booker Harris are point guard Miles Carrillo (8.8 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 2.5 spg, 2.7 spg) and forward Mark Lewis (9.8 ppg). Two standout newcomers are Ryan McIntosh (11.5 ppg, 9-of-14 3-pointers), who was a sophomore redshirt at College of Southern Idaho. WWU leads the series, 2-0.

BYU-Hawaii: The Seasiders, ranked No.3 in the National Basketball Coaches Association/NCAA II Preseason Top 25, open their season on Nov. 15 at NCAA I BYU, then take on Central Washington on Nov. 18 and host Seattle Pacific on Nov. 19 at the GNAC/PacWest Challenge. BYUH finished 22-9 last year, losing 71-68 to Bellarmine KY in the NCAA II national championship game. Leading the Seasiders is 6-4 senior guard Tsung-Hsien (Jet) Chang, who is The Sporting News preseason NCAA II Player of the Year pick. He averaged 21.2 points last year, scoring 35 in the national title contest and being named Most Outstanding Player of the Elite Eight. Coach Ken Wagner is in his 22nd year at BYUH with a record of 414-189. The series is tied at 6-6.

Northwest: The Eagles are off to a 6-0 start (at George Fox on Nov. 19 and host Linfield on Nov. 25). Three top players back from last year's team that reached the NAIA National Tournament are senior guard Jordan Call (15.6 ppg, 4.2 apg), senior center Jason Waltman (10.4 ppg, 6.4 rpg) and sophomore forward Michael Greene (12.4 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 74.4 FG Pct.), who helped Squalicum HS to two Class 2A state titles. A top transfer for coach John Van Dyke (12th year) is senior guard Ahmaad Cook (14.8 ppg, 2.2 spg), who was an all-Orange Coast Conference choice at Fullerton JC last season. The game will be an exhibition for NU. Which is located in Kirkland. WWU holds 23-1 series advantage.

VIKING NOTES: Allen and Blanche were all-tournament picks at the Disney West Coast Classic ... WWU returns four starters from last year's squad that finished 16-11 and reached the first round of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Tournament. Allen earned second-team GNAC all-star honors, averaging 14.3 points a game, including 43 in a victory over Simon Fraser, the second highest point total ever by a WWU player and a school record at Carver Gym. The Washington State transfer also led WWU in assists (4.1) and steals (1.7), and shot 91.5 percent at the free-throw line (65-of-71), which ranked second nationally. Blanche received honorable mention all-GNAC recognition, averaging 14.3 points and 6.8 rebounds while shooting 62.8 percent from the field to rank 14th nationally. Three Vikings were named GNAC Academic all-stars - Blanche, junior center Chris Mitchell and senior guard Anthony Wiederkehr. Blanche and Wiederkehr were both honored for the second time.

COACH JACKSON: Brad Jackson is in his 27th season, the longest tenure of any coach in WWU history in any sport. He is the most successful men's basketball coach in school history, both in total wins (491-275) and winning percentage (.641). Prior to this season, Jackson ranked No.13 among active NCAA II coaches in victories and No.44 overall.

Jackson has directed the Vikings to 19 post-season appearances and 11 20-win seasons during his tenure. WWU reached the regional semifinals in 2009-10, losing 76-75 in overtime to eventual national champion Cal Poly Pomona.

The Jackson-led Vikings also have gotten to the NCAA II tournament in 2001, 2005, 2006 and 2009. In 2001, they finished 27-4 record and reached the national semifinals, Jackson being named NABC/NCAA II West Region, Northwest small college and Pacific West Conference Coach of the Year.

POST-SEASON: This year, the GNAC championship will be decided with a six-team tournament at Saint Martin's University (Marcus Pavilion) beginning Wednesday, Feb. 29. The No. 1 and No. 2 regular-season finishers will earn first round byes and play Wednesday's winners in semifinal action Friday, March 2. The championship game will be Saturday, March 3. Central Washington won the first GNAC tourney last year, when it consisted of eight teams and games were played at the highest seed.

GNAC COACHES PICK VIKINGS THIRD: WWU was picked to finish third in the preseason GNAC coaches poll. Alaska Anchorage, which won its only GNAC title in 2008 when it advanced to the NCAA II national semifinals, edged Seattle Pacific, 95-94. Both the Seawolves and Falcons, who won GNAC titles in 2002, 2006, 2007 and 2010 and have qualified for the NCAA II post-season in seven consecutive seasons, each received four first-place votes. Three-time conference champion WWU (2002, 2005, 2009) got a pair of first-place votes and placed third. Defending champion Central Washington was fourth.

RADIO BROADCASTS: Selected Western games are being broadcast this season on KBAI Radio (930 AM - www.930kbai.com) 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://wwu.nmtvsports.com. For up-to-date statistics, box scores of every game, records, stories, etc., see the WWU Athletics 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.pennatlantic.com.


G John Allen, 6-0, *Jr., Brier/Mountlake Terrace/Washington State
G Richard Woodworth, 6-3, **Jr., Bellevue/Newport
C Chris Mitchell, 6-8, **Jr., Everson/Nooksack Valley
F Zach Henifin, 6-5, *Sr., Bellingham/Whatcom CC
F Rory Blanche, 6-6, ***Sr., Ashland, OR/Ashland

F Paul Jones, 6-4, JC-Jr., Kent/Kent-Meridian/Whatcom CC C Dan Young, 6-10, *Sr., Federal Way/Lakewood/Highline CC G Dane Thorpe, 6-3, *So, Bellingham/Sehome G Rico Wilkins, 6-0, Jr., Dallas, TX/DeSoto/Yakima Valley CC F Damien Fisher, 6-7, Jr., Fife/Fife/Centralia CC *letters

CARVER GYM CELEBRATES 50TH ANNIVERSARY: Dedicated on March 30, 1962, WWU's Sam Carver Gymnasium is celebrating its 50th anniversary this season. It is named for Sanford E. Carver, a NAIA Hall of Famer who was Western's first director of athletics and the chairman of the physical education department from 1914-55. Carver Gym was an addition to the existing physical education facility. It added 54,233 square feet of floor space at a cost of $1.04 million. The most significant addition was the present main gymnasium. The facility opened in time for the 1961-62 basketball season, although it wasn't named for Carver until the dedication ceremony the following spring. Dr. James L. Jarrett, then Western's president, and Dr. E.V. Pullias, a professor at the University of Southern California, were the main speakers at the gathering. Basketball has been one of the primary activities at Carver Gym. The Seattle Pacific men were Western's opponent in the first game played on the new floor on Dec. 6, 1961. The Viking men have racked up an impressive record during their time in the building, going 486-156 (.757) in 50 years.


Nov. 4 - WWU 74, Dominican 61 at Anaheim, CA (Disney Classic)

Rory Blanche and John Allen each scored 14 points, lifting WWU to a 74-61 victory over Dominican of California in opening-day action at the Disney West Coast Tip-Off Classic. It was the season debut for both teams. Blanche, who also grabbed a game-high nine rebounds, scored 12 points in the first 20 minutes to give the Vikings a 33-32 lead at halftime. Allen had 10 points in the second half. WWU opened up a nine-point lead, 47-38, with 12:20 left in the game on a layup by Rico Wilkins, who had eight of his 12 points in the final period. But Dominican cut that advantage to two, 50-48, with 10:01 to go and was within six, 58-52, at the 7:07 mark. The Vikings then scored 13 straight points to take a 19-point lead, their biggest of the game, with 3:44 left. Dominican never got closer than 13 after that. Ryan McIntosh scored a game-high 15 points for Dominican, 13 in the first half. WWU, which did not make a 3-point field goal in 11 attempts, had just 10 turnovers to 24 for the Penguins. Zach Henifin contributed nine points, five steals and four rebounds for the Vikings.

Nov. 5 - WWU 78, UC San Diego 68 at Anaheim, CA (Disney Classic)

Guard Rico Wilkins came off the bench to score a team-high 17 points, making 5-of-11 three pointers, as WWU defeated UC San Diego, 78-68, in second-day action at the Disney West Coast Tip-Off Classic. The Vikings had four players besides Wilkins finish with double-figure points. Rory Blanche had 13, Zach Henifin and Shedrick Nelson each had 11 and Richard Woodworth 10. UCSD, 1-1, was led by center Christian Hatch, who had game-highs of 18 points and eight rebounds. WWU was 10-of-22 (45.5 percent) from beyond the arc against the Tritons. The Vikings, who trailed only in the first minute, led by 13, 39-26, at halftime. Wilkins scored 12 of his points in the second half as WWU built its lead to as many as 18, 68-50, with 7:02 to go. UCSD never got closer than 10 after that. WWU's Dan Young blocked five shots and Paul Jones grabbed eight rebounds and scored eight points.

Nov. 6 - WWU 80, Chestnut Hill PA 71 at Anaheim, CA (Disney Classic)

WWU lost 80-71 to Chestnut Hill PA in final-day action at the Disney West Coast Tip-Off Classic. The Vikings got 17 points each from Rory Blanche and John Allen, who also had six assists. The 2-1 Griffins were led by the game-high 21 points of forward Dan Comas, who was 8-of-11 from the field. They also got 16 points from reserve Alssene Sanitilus on 7-of-10 floor accuracy. WWU scored nine of the game's first 10 points over the first two minutes as Allen hit two three-pointers and Rico Wilkins one. The Vikings led 19-11 with 11:41 to go in the first half before Chestnut Hill responded with 11 straight points to begin a 15-2 run that gave the Griffins a 26-21 lead with 7:15 to go. Chestnut Hill extended its advantage to 41-32 at halftime as Comas had 15 points in the opening period. WWU narrowed the margin to one, 47-46, with 14:10 left in the game, and was still within six, 72-66, with 2:08 remaining. But Mark DiRugeris scored all five of his points over a one-minute span to give the Griffens' a nine-point lead, 77-68, with 29 seconds left to seal the victory. The Vikings shot only 37.9 percent (25-of-66) from the field, connecting on just 10-of-35 three-pointers (28.6 percent). Chestnut Hill hit 50.9 percent (28-of-55) from the floor and converted 22-of-31 free throws. Brandon Williams scored 12 points for the Griffins, and Luke Dickson had 10.

Nov. 11 - WWU 87, Notre Dame de Namur 73 at Belllingham

John Allen scored a game-high 18 points as WWU defeated Notre Dame de Namur, 87-73, in a non-conference game at Carver Gym. It was the home opener for the Vikings, who shot 54.0 percent (24-of-63) from the field, including 62.5 percent (10-of-16) on three-pointers. Wesley White came off the bench to contribute team-highs of 16 points and six rebounds for NDNU, which was playing its first game of the season. Josh Pettit added 11 points for the Argonauts on 4-of-5 floor accuracy. WWU never trailed, scoring the first six points of the game and jumping to a 17-2 lead less than seven minutes into the contest. The Vikings, who shot 64.3 percent (18-of-28) from the field in the opening period, held a 43-19 lead at halftime. The Argonauts used a 19-8 run midway through the second half to close the margin to 15, 66-51, with nine minutes left, but never got that close again until the final seconds. Rory Blanche and Richard Woodworth each had 16 points for WWU, with Woodworth going 7-of-9 from the floor and adding five assists and four steals. Zach Henifin had 11 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Allen, who also had five assists, was 4-of-7 from beyond the arc, with Woodworth hitting 2-of-2 and Henifin 2-of-3. The lone down note of the night for the Vikings was the loss of Shedrick Nelson, who suffered a torn ACL in his right knee at the 7:20 mark of the second half.

Nov. 12 - WWU 104, Capilano BC, 78 at Bellingham

Rory Blanche scored a career-high 25 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, both game highs, as WWU broke open a tight game early in the second half and defeated Capilano, 104-78, in a non-conference contest at Carver Gym. Six players scored in double figures for the Vikings, who improved to 4-1 overall with their second home win in as many nights. Omid Davani paced Capilano, located in North Vancouver, B.C., with 22 points and nine rebounds. The Vikings led by just five, 49-44, in the opening minute of the second half, but broke the contest open with 13 straight points to take a 62-44 advantage with 16:24 to play. The lead didn't get past 20 until the last six minutes. WWU shot 57.9 percent (44-of-76) from the field, with Blanche going 12-of-17. Richard Woodworth had 16 points for the Vikings, and forward Zach Henifin had 15 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Dan Young contributed 12 points and seven rebounds off the bench. Guard James Lum had 14 points and a game-high nine assists for Capilano, scoring 12 points in the first half. WWU never trailed, but the Blues stayed within shouting distance throughout a fast-paced first half that saw the Vikings take a 49-42 halftime lead. Henifin had 13 points in the opening half for WWU, hitting 5-of-6 shots from the floor. Also scoring double-figures for the Vikings were John Allen with 11 points and center Chris Mitchell with 10.


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