Forward Paul Jones had team-highs of 19 points and nine rebounds, helping Western Washington University end its regular season with a 67-56 victory over Simon Fraser University in a Great Northwest Athletic Conference men's basketball contest Saturday, March 2, at Sam Carver Gymnasium on the WWU campus televised nationally on CBS Sports Network and CBSSports.com.
The defending NCAA Division II national champion Vikings, ranked No. 3 in this week's top 25 and No. 1 in the West Region rating, improved to 26-1 overall and wrapped up the outright GNAC regular-season title with a 17-1 mark, the best record in GNAC history.
Guard John Allen had 11 points for WWU, which had already clinched a first-round bye in next week's GNAC Tournament at Lacey.
Simon Fraser fell to 6-20 overall and 1-17 in the GNAC with its 10th straight loss despite the game-high 21 points of forward Taylor Dunn. Anto Olah added 12 points, and Ibrahim Appiah had eight points and a game-high 13 rebounds.
The Vikings fell behind by four, 32-28, in the opening minute of the second half, but went on a run of eight straight points, with Jones and center Chris Mitchell each getting four, to take a 36-32 lead with 16:08 left.
WWU led the rest of the way, but SFU was still within two, 54-52, on a steal and layin by Dunn with 3:36 to go. That proved, however, to be the Clan's last field goal until the final five seconds, and guard Rico Wilkins helped the Vikings pull away with six points in a span of less than two minutes.
WWU is now 14-0 at home this season, and extended their school-record home winning streak to 24, one short of the GNAC record set by Humboldt State (2001-03).
The Vikings shot 56.8 percent (25 of 44) from the field to just 32.8 percent (21 of 64) for the Clansmen, but SFU stayed in the contest by grabbing 18 offensive rebounds, eight of them by Appiah.
Saturday's contest was the final home regular-season game for six seniors - Allen, Jones, Mitchell, Wilkins, forward Damien Fisher and guard Cameron Severson.
WESTERN WASHINGTON 67, SIMON FRASER 56
SIMON FRASER (6-20, 1-17 GNAC)
Dunn, Taylor 21; Olah, Anto 12; Appiah, Ibrahim 48; Staudacher, Matt 6; Hamilton, Dillon 3; Raivio, Matt 2; Dunlop, Keegan 2; Matthews, Elijah 2; Deflorimonte, Daniel 0; Evans, Chris 0; Bantock, John 0. Totals 21-64 12-16 56.
WESTERN WASHINGTON (26-1, 17-1 GNAC)
Jones,Paul 19; Allen,John 11; Mitchell,Chris 9; Bragg,Austin 8; Wilkins,Rico 8; Woodworth,Richard 6; Turner,Anye 26; Fisher,Damien 0; Severson,Cameron 0. Totals 25-44 15-19 67.
Half: SF 30, WWU 28
3-point goals--Simon Fraser 2-9 (Dunn, Taylor 1; Hamilton, Dillon 1), Western Washington 2-12 (Jones,Paul 1; Allen,John 1). Fouled out--Simon Fraser-Raivio, Matt, Western Washington-None. Rebounds-Simon Fraser 32 (Appiah, Ibrahim 13), Western Washington 31 (Jones,Paul 9). Assists--Simon Fraser 7 (Raivio, Matt 3), Western Washington 11 (Jones,Paul 4). Total fouls--Simon Fraser 17, Western Washington 13. Technical fouls--Simon Fraser-None, Western Washington-None. A-1780