Men's Basketball: Vikings Edge CWU 86-85 On Late Shot
Paul Jones earns congratulation from teammate Damien Fisher after hitting game-winner.
Paul Jones earns congratulation from teammate Damien Fisher after hitting game-winner.

Friday, January 11, 2013

BELLINGHAM, Wash. - Forward Paul Jones  hit a layup with 2.2 seconds remaining lifting Western Washington to a dramatic 86-85 victory over archrival Central Washington Thursday at Sam Carver Gymnasium on the WWU campus. 

The win was a GNAC-record 19th straight for the Vikings, who remained unbeaten this season in 13 games before a sellout crowd of 2,320 and a regionally televised audience on ROOT Sports.

Western Washington broke the old GNAC record of 18 consecutive wins set by Alaska Anchorage during the 2007-08 season.  WWU will go for victory No. 20 Saturday when it hosts Northwest Nazarene.

That is one of five games on Saturday's slate. Other games will send Central Washington to Burnaby to take on Simon Fraser, Saints Martin's to Anchorage to play Alaska Anchorage, Western Oregon to Fairbanks to face Alaska Fairbanks and Montana State Billings to Seattle to play Seattle Pacific.

The defending NCAA Division II national champion Vikings, ranked No.5 in this week’s NABC Top 25 poll, improved to 4-0 in conference play with the victory.

Jones had 18 points and Cameron Severson  and Rico Wilkins each came off the bench to contribute 18 and 15 points, respectively.

Mark McLaughlin had a game-high 26 points for Central (8-5, 2-3). The Wildcats fell despite shooting 57.6 percent (34-of-59) from the field.

The game featured 17 lead changes and seven ties. McLaughlin forced the final tie, hitting a fallaway jumper to even the score at 84-84 with 41 seconds left. 

After Wilkins missed a jump shot at the other end, Central’s Derrick Davis was fouled in the battle for the rebound with 7.7 seconds left, and made the second of two free throws to give the Wildcats a one-point lead.

But following a time out, the Vikings inbounded the ball to Wilkins, who raced up the right sideline, then cut inside to the foul line, feeding Jones, who cut along the left baseline for the game winning layup. 

Davis then had a shot to win for the Wildcats, but missed from 14 feet as time expired.

John Allen had 11 points and Chris Mitchell added 10 for WWU, which shot only 41.3 percent (31-of-75) from the field, but had a 43-25 advantage in rebounds including 23-3 off the offensive glass. Mitchell and Austin Bragg each had 10 rebounds  and Jones had eight.

WWU, which is one of six unbeaten teams in NCAA II, extended its home winning streak to 16, including 6-0 this season. The Vikings, who have won eight of of the last 10 series meetings with CWU, have won 14 of their last 15 encounters with the Wildcats at Carver Gym.

Elsewhere in the GNAC, Alaska Fairbanks and Alaska Anchorage each had impressive wins in the 49th state.  The Nanooks won their fifth consecutive game defeating Saint Martin's 81-58, while the Seawolves outscored Western Oregon 82-56. 

Thursday's other scheduled game between Northwest Nazarene and Simon Fraser was postponed until Friday at 2 p.m. due to a power outage on the SFU campus.

Alaska Fairbanks 81, Saint Martin's 58

Guard Dominique Brinson led a balanced attack with 16 points as Alaska Fairbanks won its fifth game in a row defeating Saint Martin's 81-58 at The Patty Center.

The streak is the longest for the Nanooks (9-4, 4-1) since the 2004-05 season.  They also notched their fourth consecutive conference win for the first time in six seasons.

The Nanooks also got 14 points from Sergej Pucar, 12 each from Ronnie Baker and Pat Voeut and 10 from Stefan Tica.  Baker also had 13 rebounds.

Saint Martin's (5-7, 1-3) was led by reserve Eric Taylor with 13 points.  Will Bond also came off the bench to score 11 points.  Matt Dodson had 10 points.

UAF made 11 of 23 three-points shots - Voeut was four of six - in the win.

Alaska Anchorage 82, Western Oregon 56

Kyle Fossman connected on five of seven three-point shots and scored 21 points and Alaska Anchorage used a huge run midway thought the first half to earn an 82-56 victory over Western Oregon at the Wells Fargo Sports Complex.

The Seawolves (9-4, 2-3) also got 11 points and career-high five assists from Teancum Stafford as they snapped a three-game losing streak.

The Wolves (7-5, 2-2) got 13 points and three steals from guard Rodney Webster, while guard Jordan Wiley added 11 points.

Western Oregon took an early 15-12 lead before UAA took control by scoring 19 of the next 21 points. Trailing 17-16, Fossman started a 15-0 run with a short jumper and a three-pointer, and UAA would lead by double digits the rest of the way.
UAA was also led by  Abebe Demissie who scored 10 points off the bench and Liam Gibcus who had a game-high 12 rebounds – including 10 on the offensive end.

The Seawolves dominated the backboards, outrebounding the Wolves 45-18 and holding WOU to the eighth lowest rebound total in GNAC history for a conference contest.

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