Guard Richard Woodworth tied for game-high honors with 26 points and guard Rico Wilkins came off the bench to score 24 as nationally ranked Western Washington University remained undefeated with a 92-82 triumph over arch-rival Central Washington University in a Great Northwest Athletic Conference men's basketball contest Saturday before a crowd of 2,355 in Ellensburg.
The defending NCAA Division II national champion Vikings, ranked No. 2 in this week's National Association of Basketball Coaches Top 25, are now 22-0, eclipsing the previous best start in school history of 21-0 in 1971-72.
Forward Paul Jones added 16 points and a game and career high 16 rebounds for WWU, which leads the GNAC at 13-0, and has won a school and conference-record 28 straight games dating back to last season.
Forward Mark McLaughlin had 26 points for CWU, which slipped to 13-8 overall and 7-6 in the GNAC. Kevin Davis came off the bench to contribute 20 points and 13 rebounds, 10 of them on the offensive boards.
The big contributions of Woodworth and Wilkins helped the Vikings overcome the limited action of their leading scorer on the season, guard John Allen, who was suffering from the stomach flu and did not score in 18 minutes of play.
WWU trailed much of the first 13 minutes, being down 24-23 with seven minutes left in the first half. The Vikings then went on an 11-1 run, taking a 34-25 advantage on two Anye Turner free throws with 4:42 left in the first half, and led the rest of the way, holding a 42-33 advantage at halftime.
WWU ensured it maintained the lead by shooting 53.6 percent (15 of 28) from the field in the second half, with Woodworth, Wilkins and Jones combining to go 14 of 20. The Wildcats were within four early in the period, but were never closer than seven in the final 17 minutes, and trailed by as much as 17.
Woodworth was 9 of 14 from the field and Wilkins 8 of 15, including 4 of 6 from 3-point range.
The Vikings held CWU to 36.9 percent (31 of 84) from the floor and 5 of 20 (25.0 percent) from beyond the arc.
WWU returns home to host Saint Martin's on Thursday, Feb. 14 (7 p.m.) and Western Oregon on Saturday, Feb. 16 (7 p.m.) in GNAC counters at Sam Carver Gymnasium.
WESTERN WASHINGTON 92, CENTRAL WASHINGTON 82
WESTERN WASHINGTON (22-0, 13-0 GNAC)
Woodworth,Richard 26; Wilkins,Rico 24; Jones,Paul 16; Bragg,Austin 8; Mitchell,Chris 8; Turner,Anye 7; Severson,Cameron 3; Allen,John 0. Totals 31-71 22-32 92.
CENTRAL WASHINGTON (13-8, 7-6 GNAC)
McLaughlin,Mark 26; Davis,Kevin 20; Davis,Derrick 9; Coby,Jordan 8; Magee,Brandon 6; Holmes,Chris 4; Williams,Dom 3; Starr,Jordan 2; Gross,Trey 2; Walker,Nate 2. Totals 31-84 15-24 82.
Half: WWU 42, CWU 33
3-point goals--Western Washington 8-24 (Wilkins,Rico 4), Central Washington 5-20 (Coby,Jordan 2; McLaughlin,Mark 2). Fouled out--Western Washington-Bragg,Austin, Central Washington-None. Rebounds--Western Washington 46 (Jones,Paul 16), Central Washington 55 (Davis,Kevin 13). Assists--Western Washington 7 (Woodworth,Richard 4), Central Washington 9 (Coby,Jordan 4). Total fouls--Western Washington 17, Central Washington 17. Technical fouls--Western Washington-None, Central Washington-None. A-2355