SPU Climbs To No. 2, Earns Team of Week Award
Seattle Pacific is ranked second nationally going into regional tournament (Photo by Dan Levine)
Seattle Pacific is ranked second nationally going into regional tournament (Photo by Dan Levine)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

PORTLAND, Ore. – Seattle Pacific is the new No. 2.

The Falcons, coming off a 72-70 win in Saturday’s Great Northwest Athletic Conference men’s basketball championship game, leaped to No. 2 in the final NABC Division II poll of the 2012-13 season Tuesday.

It's the best ranking in school history for the Falcons, who were ranked third last week.

Western Washington fell from second to fourth in the final national poll, but still earned the No. 1 seed and host role in this week’s NCAA Division II West Regional tournament which begins Friday at Sam Carver Gymnasium.

The regional will feature three of the top five ranked teams in the country.  In addition to SPU (2nd) and WWU (4th), Cal Poly Pomona, which drew the No. 2 seed in the regional ahead of SPU, is ranked fifth.

Saturday’s win also earned Seattle Pacific GNAC Team of the Week honors for the second time this season.  The Falcons also received the award for the Week of Nov. 26-Dec. 2.

In addition to beating Western Washington Saturday, Seattle Pacific also defeated Central Washington 85-78 in last week’s conference tournament.

Guard David Downs led SPU in the two contests with 38 points and 18 assists to earn tournament MVP honors.

Cory Hutsen came off the bench to score 26 points, while Jobi Wall had 25 points and Patrick Simon had 24 points and 11 rebounds. Wall's three-pointer with 0.3 seconds remaining gave SPU its win against WWU.

The Falcons also got 13 points and a team-best 16 rebounds from Riley Stockton in the two contests.

SPU opens the regional tournament Friday at noon against Grand Canyon (23-7).  The Vikings play Chaminade (20-9) in Friday's final game at 7:30 p.m.

A win by WWU would be the 25th consecutive home victory for the Vikings, matching the GNAC record for most consecutive home victories.  Former GNAC member Humboldt State won 25 in a row at home between Nov. 24, 2001 and Feb. 27, 2003.  WWU's streak began on Jan. 18, 2012.