5-0 WWU entertains Saint Martin's on Saturday

WWUVIKINGSDOTCOM Richard Woodworth
WWUVIKINGSDOTCOM
Richard Woodworth
WWUVIKINGSDOTCOM

Dec. 6, 2013

BELLINGHAM, Wash. - Off to a 5-0 start, nationally ranked Western Washington University entertains Saint Martin's University on Saturday (7 p.m.) in a Great Northwest Athletic Conference men's basketball contest at Sam Carver Gymnasium on the WWU campus.

The Vikings, No. 5 in this week's National Basketball Coaches of America/NCAA Division II Top 25 Poll, opened conference play Thursday with a heart-stopping 67-66 win over Western Oregon. The triumph extended WWU's school-record home court winning streak to 32 and its string of conference home victories to 17.

THE LAST MEETING
Saint Martin's60
Western Washington76
February 14, 2013
BELLINGHAM
23-0 WWU sets yet another record in 76-60 victory over Saint Martin's
Forward Cameron Severson came off the bench to score a game-high 16 points on 6-of-7 floor accuracy in just 16 minutes as nationally ranked Western Washington University stayed unbeaten with a 76-60 triumph over Saint Martin's University in a Great Northwest Athletic Conference men's basketball contest Thursday at Sam Carver Gymnasium on the WWU campus.

Two other big wins in WWU's start were 72-69 over nationally No.1-ranked Metro State and 80-74 over BYU Hawaii. The Vikings are playing their first eight contests at home.

WWU is led by two seniors, guard Richard Woodworth and center Austin Bragg, both pre-season all-GNAC selections.

Woodworth, whose two free throws with 1.9 seconds remaining decided the Western Oregon game, leads the Vikings with a 17.0 per game scoring average and 90.0 percent free-throw shooting (20-of-22). He has four-year career totals of 897 points, 305 rebounds, 255 assists and 102 steals.

Bragg posted his third straight double-double with 11 points and 15 rebounds in the win over the Wolves. He earned GNAC Player of the Week honors for Nov. 24-30 with 20 points, 13 rebounds and five blocked shots in the Metro State victory.

Bragg is averaging 15.0 points and 10.6 rebounds, and has blocked 18 shots, which ranks third (3.6 avg.) among national leaders. That has helped WWU lead the nation with 42 blocks, an average of 8.4 per game.

Junior guard Robert Harris, Jr., a transfer from NCAA I Idaho, is averaging 13.2 points. He scored a game-high 23, 14 in the second half, against Western Oregon.

Redshirt freshman forward Joey Schreiber is averaging 10.2 points and returnee junior forward Anye Turner is averaging 8.0 points on 62.5 field-goal shooting and 7.4 rebounds.

SAINT MARTIN'S: The Saints, 1-5 overall, snapped a five-game losing streak with a 78-62 win at Simon Fraser on Thursday. They are led by 5-10 senior guard Evan Coulter (Mount Vernon, 14.5 ppg, .625 FG Pct., .870 FT Pct.). Two solid transfers for first-year coach Michael Ostlund are 6-4 senior forward Ryan Rogers (13.0 ppg, 5.5 rpg), a first-team NWAACC West Region all-star at Lower Columbia CC; and 6-2 junior guard Riley Carel (10.2 ppg, 5.3 rpg) from Seattle Pacific. Coulter scored a game-high 21 points in the win over Simon Fraser and Rogers had 17 points and a game-high nine rebounds. WWU has a 124-60 series advantage.

THREE-DOT NOTES: WWU was named the GNAC Team of the Week for Nov. 24-30 after prevailing 72-69 over top-ranked Metro State... The Vikings tied a school record by coming back from a 19-point, second-half deficit to beat BYU Hawaii, 80-74, and they set a GNAC single-game scoring record in a 138-85 victory over Quest BC. That was three points off the WWU standard of 141 set on Feb. 3, 1989 against Northwest (141-52).

UNPARELLED SUCCESS: WWU won the NCAA II national championship in 2012 and reached the national semifinals in 2013, posting back-to-back 31-win seasons. The Vikings have captured the last two regular-season GNAC titles, winning 33 of 36 conference games during that stretch. They finished 17-1 in league play a year ago, the best record in GNAC history.

PRE-SEASON ACCOLADES: Bragg and Woodworth were pre-season GNAC all-conference picks ... WWU was ranked ninth in The Sporting News Pre-season NCAA II Top 10, No.10 in the NABC Pre-season Top 25 and No.17 in the Division II Bulletin Pre-season Top 25 ... The Vikings were picked third in the GNAC Pre-season Coaches Poll, behind Seattle Pacific and Alaska Anchorage. They were not the pre-season choice in either of the last two seasons, but went on to win the national championship in 2012 and reach the national semifinals in 2013.

AFTER THIRD STRAIGHT WEST REGIONAL TITLE: WWU is looking to become the first team since 1994 to win three straight West Regional titles, Cal State Bakersfield completing a five-year string that season. The only other team to win three consecutive West Region championships was UC Riverside from 1973 to 1975.

COACH DOMINGUEZ: Tony Dominguez (2nd year, 36-3) directed the Vikings to a 31-3 record in 2012-13, GNAC regular-season and West Regional titles, and the NCAA II national semifinals. He became the first rookie coach in NCAA II history to win his first 24 games. Dominguez was a finalist for Clarence "Big House" Gaines National Coach of the Year honors and shared the GNAC Coach of the Year award. He was 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.

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:

G Richard Woodworth, 6-3, ***Sr., Bellevue, WA/Newport
G Robert Harris Jr., 5-10, Jr., TR, Kent, WA/Rainier Beach/
  Eastern Arizona CC/Idaho
C Austin Bragg, 6-9, *Sr., Longview, WA/Mark Morris/Clark CC
F Anye Turner, 6-7, *Jr., Tumwater, WA/Black Hills/South Puget Sound CC
F Joey Schreiber, 6-7, R-Fr., Renton, WA/Eastside Catholic

F Colby Mitchell, 6-7, Jr., JC, Chugiak, AK/Chugiak/Mount Hood CC F Jeffrey Parker, 6-6, R-Fr., Richmond, CA/Salesian F Robert Oliver, 6-4, *Jr., Federal Way, WA/Decatur G Alfred Davis, 6-0, *Sr., Tacoma, WA/Lincoln/Pierce CC G Dane Thorpe, 6-4, ***Sr., Bellingham, WA/Sehome C Jordan Mosby-Barker, 6-9, Jr., JC, Portland, OR/Parkrose/Clackamas CC G Mark Hopkins, 6-3, Jr., JC, San Antonio, TX/Randolph/Temple JC/ Schreiner *letters

MOST RECENT GAME SUMMARIES:

Nov. 30 - WWU 72, Metro State 69 at Bellingham

Bragg had game-highs of 20 points and five blocked shots and added a team-high 13 rebounds as WWU defeated nationally top-ranked Metro State University, 72-69, in a battle between two NCAA II powers at Carver Gym. The Vikings, ranked No.7 nationally, improved to 4-0. MSU, which received 14 of the 16 first-place votes in the most recent coaches poll and reached the national championship game last year, fell to 3-1 despite 17 points and a game-high 14 rebounds by forward Nicholas Kay. The Vikings led by as much as 10 early in the second half but Metro State rallied, pulling to within three, 59-56, on two Kay free throws with 7:09 to play. The margin was still five inside the last 90 seconds, but a Jefferson 3-pointer from deep in the right corner closed the gap to two, 69-67, with 1:06 left. The Roadrunners then forced a turnover and had a chance to tie, but turned the ball over themselves on the fast break with 47 seconds left. WWU then ran the shot clock down and Bragg hit a driving layin with 11.8 seconds left. Jefferson answered with a 16-foot pull-up with 5.9 seconds to play, putting the margin back to two, 71-69. Harris, Jr., provided the final margin with a free throw that rattled six times before falling in, but missed the second shot. Metro State pushed the ball up the right side, and Jefferson's shot from 28 feet out banked off the backboard at the buzzer. Mitchell came off the bench to contribute 13 points for WWU. Harris, Woodworth and Turner each had 11 points, with Turner also getting eight rebounds. Harrison Goodrick came off the bench to contribute 15 points and seven rebounds on 7-of-8 field-goal shooting for Metro State, which had a 43-33 advantage in rebounding. Jefferson finished with 14 points and five assists. It was the first meeting between the two schools.

Dec. 5 - WWU 67, Western Oregon 66 at Bellingham

Woodworth hit two free throws with 1.9 seconds remaining, lifting WWU to a 67-66 triumph over Western Oregon in the GNAC opener for both schools at Carver Gym. The Vikings improved to 5-0. Harris, Jr., had a game-high 23 points for WWU on 9-of-14 field-goal shooting. WOU slipped to 4-4. Forward Andy Avgi, playing for the first time since the Wolves' season-opener, came off the bench to score 20 points and grabbed seven rebounds. WWU seemed to have the game under control, holding a 59-49 lead with 5:29 to play. But WOU scored the next seven points to close the margin to three, 59-56, with 2:31 left, and eventually pulled to within one, 61-60, on a Rodney Webster layup with 1:24 to go. Each team scored on its next two possessions, but WWU missed two free throws with 19.9 seconds left, and Avgi converted a putback with 6.0 seconds to go to give WOU a 66-65 advantage. The Vikings then went without a timeout, and Woodworth was fouled trying to elevate through two defenders. After Woodworth's free throws, the Wolves threw long to Avgi, who caught the ball just inside the foul line and missed a 13-foot bank shot at the buzzer. Woodworth, who played just four minutes in the first half because of foul trouble, finished with 12 points. Bragg had 11 points and a game-high 15 rebounds, and Mitchell added 11 points off the bench. The Vikings played most of the night without Turner, who left with an ankle injury just 1:40 into the game and did not return. Adam Hastings had 13 points on 6-of-8 floor accuracy for WOU. Webster and Marwan Sarhan each added 10 points for the Wolves, who had a 41-38 advantage in rebounds but were just 14-of-29 (48.3 percent) on free throws. WOU held a 26-23 lead at halftime and had a 33-32 advantage with just over 16 minutes remaining, but the Vikings went on a 10-1 run, with Schreiber scoring the last five points, to take a 42-34 lead with 13:53 left.