Two wins separate the Western Washington University men's basketball team from being the first team in 19 years to win back-to-back NCAA Division II men's basketball titles.
But there's still plenty of work to do.
John Allen scored a team-high 22 points, and Austin Bragg added 17 points and 14 rebounds to help WWU earn a 96-82 quarterfinal win against Florida Southern Thursday, March 28, at Freedom Hall in Louisville, Ky.
The wins sends the No. 4-ranked Vikings (31-2) into the semifinals where they'll face Drury University (29-4) at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, March 30, at Freedom Hall. The game will be televised live on CBS Sports Network and will air delayed at 6:30 p.m. on ROOT SPORTS.
Western beat No. 7-ranked Drury 72-69 earlier this season on Dec. 12 during the South Point Holiday Classic in Las Vegas. Chris Mitchell scored a team-high 16 points and made two key free throws with 19.3 seconds left.
Drury advanced to the Elite Eight by winning the Midwest Regional and beat University of South Carolina Aiken 84-75 in the quarterfinals.
The Panthers enter the semifinals riding a school record 21-game win streak. Guard Alex Hall, a third-team All-American, leads Drury with 19.4 points per game, and fellow guard Brandon Lockhart is averaging 12 points.
Allen, who was selected West Region and GNAC Player of the Year, leads Western with 17.5 points per game, and Paul Jones averages 14.3 points.
This is Western's third Elite Eight appearance (2001, 2012, 2013), and WWU owns a record of 5-1 in those contests. The Vikings are on a streak of their own, winning 10 straight NCAA Division II Tournament games dating back to last season.
No. 1-ranked West Liberty and No. 3-ranked Metro State meet in the other national semifinal. The two teams play at 9 a.m. before Western and Drury. The title game is schedule for 1 p.m. Sunday, April 7, at Philips Arena in Atlanta, Ga.
The last team to win back-to-back D II men's basketball titles was Cal State Bakersfield in 1993 and 1994.
Reach ANDREW LANG at firstname.lastname@example.org or call ext. 862.