Led by 21 points from junior forward Jeffrey Parker the Western Washington University Vikings picked up a hard-fought road victory 80-78 over Northwest Nazarene Thursday, Jan. 21, in Great Northwest Athletic Conference action in Nampa, Idaho.
Western improved to 11-7 overall and 5-4 in GNAC play with the road win. The Crusaders drop to 10-8 overall and 4-5 in conference play.
The game featured 20 lead changes and nine tie games. NNU held a three-point lead at 71-68 with 3:55 remaining after a 3-pointer by Detwon Rogers, but senior guard Ricardo Maxwell answered with a 3-point play to tie the game 71-71. WWU took a 73-71 lead on a layup by senior forward Colby Mitchell with 3:03 remaining and never looked back.
The Vikings shot a season-low 40.0 percent from the field (30 for 75, 6-for-25 3-point), while NNU shot 53.6 percent (30 for 56, 9-for-21 3-point).
Parker scored all 21 of his points in the first half, leading the Vikings in scoring for the sixth time this season. He added eight rebounds. Maxwell scored 16 points. Redshirt freshman Trey Drechsel filled up the stat sheet with 12 points, seven rebounds, six assists and three steals.
Mitchell came off the bench to record 9 points and 6 rebounds in 21 minutes and sophomore guard Brad Wallace tallied eight points and nine rebounds in 20 minutes in his first extended action of the season.
The Vikings held a 45-41 WWU lead at halftime with Parker leading the way with 21 points on 9-for-15 shooting.
NNU was led by a game-high 22 points from Mike Wright on 9-for-13 shooting, including 4 for 7 from 3-point range. Bouna N’Diaye (15 points, six rebounds, four blocks), Joel Devastey (14 points) and Rogers (10 points) also scored in double-digits for the Crusaders.