Western Washington University's chances to repeat as NCAA Division II national champions ended in the national semifinals on Saturday, March 30, with a 107-97 loss to Drury in Lexington, Ky.
Western never led in the game and fell behind by as many as 24 points in the second half.
The Vikings did manage to pull back within six, 85-79, with 4:48 to play, but the Panthers, who move on to the national championship game next week in Atlanta against Metro State, went on a 12-2 run over the next 2 1/2 minutes to put the game away.
Western was in trouble from the start in this one, as they got beat in just about every statistical category during a terrific first half by Drury.
Alex Hall got things started, by hitting four 3-pointers in the game's first three minutes to build a 15-6 advantage. The Vikings came back to cut their deficit to three points, but Drury finished on a 23-8 run to build the big lead.
Drury shot 17 for 32 (53.1 percent) from the floor in the game, while Western struggled to a 13-for-33 performance (39.4 percent). Drury even beat Western on the boards 20-18.
Hall, who was 10 of 15 from 3-point range, finished with a game-high 35 points, while Brandon Lockhart had 24 and Ian Carter 19, as five Panthers scored in double figures.
Rico Wilkins came off the bench to lead Western with 27 points on 8 of 13 3-point shooting. Richard Woodworth had 19 points, while Paul Jones had 16. John Allen was held to five points in the game on only six shot attempts.
The Vikings wrap up their season with a 31-3 record.