WWU men advance to GNAC final

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDMarch 6, 2014 

LACEY - Forward Jeffrey Parker scored a game-high 21 points, 16 in the first half, as Western Washington University defeated University of Alaska Fairbanks, 73-52, in a semifinal men's basketball game Thursday, March 6, at the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Tournament at Saint Martin's University.

Forward Joey Schreiber scored 14 points and point guard Robert Harris Jr. added 10, all of them in the second half, for the Vikings, the No. 2 seed, who improved to 20-7 and advanced to Saturday's GNAC championship game against xxxxxxx.

UAF, the No. 4 seed, ended its season at 18-10, shooting just 29.0 percent (18 of 62) from the floor. Ronnie Baker scored 18 points and Sergej Pucar 12 for the Nanooks. Baker had just four in the first half and Pucar two.

UAF, which had a three-game winning streak snapped, reached the semifinals by defeating Montana State Billings, 69-59, in an opening-round contest Wednesday.

WWU guard Richard Woodworth, a first-team GNAC all-star, sustained an injury to his right knee one minute into the second half and did not return to action.

WWU led 17-5 after the first 11:38 as the Nanooks made just two of their first 19 shots from the field.

With 5:36 left in the period, UAF had crept back to within five, 19-14. But the Vikings responded by scoring the last 19 points of the half, the run beginning with five straight 3-pointers, four of them by Parker, to lead by 24 points, 38-14, at the intermission.

"I just came out firing," said Parker, who finished 5 of 6 from 3-point range. "I knew that I had to be aggressive."

The Nanooks shot just 15.6 percent from the field (5 of 32) in the first half, making just 1-of-10 3-point attempts.

UAF began the second half with a 13-1 run, cutting the deficit to 12, 39-27, on a 3-pointer by Pucar with 15 minutes left.

But that was as close as the Nanooks would get as WWU scored 15 of the next 19 points to lead, 54-31, with 11:21 to go. The Vikings' biggest advantage was 27 points on two occasions, the first at 65-38 with five minutes remaining.

WWU had a 43-29 rebound advantage with forward Anye Turner grabbing a game-high 10 and Harris and Parker nine each.

WESTERN WASHINGTON 73, ALASKA-FAIRBANKS 52

ALASKA-FAIRBANKS (18-10)

Baker,Ronnie 7-18 0-0 18; Pucar,Sergej 4-12 2-2 12; Tica,Stefan 2-9 3-4 8; Kelly,Andrew 3-12 2-4 8; Slocum,Joe 1-8 2-2 4; Stepovich,Mike 1-2 0-0 2; Renfro,John 0-0 0-0 0; Pierson,Cody 0-0 0-0 0; Bills,Dallen 0-0 0-0 0; Allen,Rashaad 0-0 0-0 0; Reese,Anthony 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 18-62 9-12 52.

WESTERN WASHINGTON (20-7)

Parker,Jeffrey 7-10 2-2 21; Schreiber,Joey 5-8 2-2 14; Harris,Robert 4-12 1-2 10; Mitchell,Colby 4-6 1-2 9; Bragg,Austin 4-9 0-0 8; Woodworth,Richard 2-3 0-0 5; Turner,Anye 1-4 2-6 4; Thorpe,Dane 0-0 2-2 2; Oliver,Robert 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 27-52 10-16 73.

Half: WWU 38, AF 14

3-point goals--Alaska 7-24 (Baker,Ronnie 4-7; Pucar,Sergej 2-6; Tica,Stefan 1-5; Reese,Anthony 0-1; Slocum,Joe 0-5), Western Washington 9-17 (Parker,Jeffrey 5-6; Schreiber,Joey 2-4; Woodworth,Richard 1-2; Harris,Robert 1-4; Bragg,Austin 0-1). Fouled out--Alaska-None, Western Washington-None. Rebounds--Alaska 29 (Kelly,Andrew 9), Western Washington 43 (Turner,Anye 10). Assists--Alaska 10 (Baker,Ronnie 3), Western Washington 14 (Harris,Robert 4). Total fouls--Alaska 16, Western Washington 12. Technical fouls--Alaska-None, Western Washington-None. A-404

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