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WWU Named Team of Week After First 2 GNAC Wins
Ricardo Maxwell scored 17 points and hit the game-winner in his return from a knee injury that kept him sidelined for three games.
Ricardo Maxwell scored 17 points and hit the game-winner in his return from a knee injury that kept him sidelined for three games.

Monday, January 12, 2015

PORTLAND, Ore. - The Western Washington Vikings notched their first two wins in GNAC play to earn the Red Lion Hotels Team of the Week.

WWU, which has won 48 of its last 49 home games, extended its home win-streak to 12 by beating Montana State Billings 88-68 Thursday and Seattle Pacific 68-66 Saturday in what turned out to be one of the best ROOT SPORTS games of the year.

“We’re very fortunate to play at home,” head coach Tony Dominguez said. “Any time you get a win against those guys, (head coach) Ryan Looney from SPU and Jamie Stevens from Montana State, they’re great wins. Our guys are feeling good about it.”

In WWU’s first conference victory of the season, the Vikings (2-3 GNAC, 9-6 overall) out-rebounded their opponents 48-25 in the 20-point win over MSUB.

WWU scored 43 of its points off the bench led by sophomore forward Joey Schreiber who set a new school record for most points for a reserve with 38. Schreiber scored 12 straight points at one point in the opening half as the Vikings closed on a 20-8 run and led by 15 at the break.

“He is a very good player,” Dominguez said of Schreiber. “We anticipated he would score a lot for us this year. I knew he would have a breakout game, I just didn’t know it would be 38 (points) and 12 (rebounds). He played great for us last week and he’s going to do great things the rest of the season.”

Schreiber continued his career-night with 19 more points in the second half, and senior forward Anye Turner added eight to finish off the Yellowjackets.

The Vikings saved their best game of the week for a regional audience as they took down then conference co-leader Seattle Pacific on a last-second layup by junior Ricardo Maxwell on ROOT SPORTS Saturday.

“We had our guards crossing,” Dominguez said of the last play of the game. “We were going to get the ball to Ricardo. We knew he was quick so we gave him an opportunity to run the floor and do what he did.”

Maxwell, who missed the previous three games with a knee injury, scored a team-high 17 points, including 11 in the second half and the game-winner, to snap SPU’s six-game win streak.

After the Vikings started the game on a 9-2 run, the Falcons, who beat the Vikings in Bellingham last season, countered with a 16-7 run of their own, getting 12 first half points from Shawn Reid. In an event that was later to repeat itself, Maxwell scored on a layup with three seconds left to close the halftime gap to two.

Western Washington outscored the Falcons 16-4 sparked by Harris Javier’s three-pointer with 14 minutes left in the game. The Vikings held onto this lead until SPU’s Mitch Penner knocked down two free throws to tie the game with three seconds remaining. Maxwell took the inbounds pass after a timeout and drove the length of the court for the game-winning layup as time expired.

“Coach ran a play for me and Javier to come across (for the inbounds),” Maxwell told Brad Adam of ROOT SPORTS after the game. “I wanted the ball in my hand. I told myself if I get (the ball), the game is over. I was determined to get it and I just got (the shot off).”

Maxwell, Turner and sophomore forward Jeffrey Parker all scored double-digit points in the second half.

Three Vikings had at least 30 points this week. Along with Schreiber’s 43 and Parker’s 30, junior center Mac Johnson scored 31 points while also grabbing 17 rebounds. Schreiber, Johnson and Turner, who had nine blocks in the two wins, combined for 48 of the teams 77 rebounds.

ROOT SPORTS will televise the Western Washington at Central Washington game Wednesday, a rematch of WWU’s half-court buzzer-beating win last season. On Saturday, WWU plays its second GNAC contest of the week at Northwest Nazarene. 

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