WWU Vikings

Vikings defeat Alaska Anchorage, 76-56, in GNAC tourney first round

Forward Joey Schreiber came off the bench to score a game-high 25 points as Western Washington University defeated University of Alaska Anchorage, 76-56, on Thursday, March 5, in a first-round game of the 5th annual Great Northwest Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament being held at Alterowitz Gymnasium on the campus of host Montana State Billings.

The Vikings, who got another big contribution off the bench from the 16 points and game-high 10 rebounds of Kyle Impero, improved to 19-10 overall with its ninth consecutive victory. WWU, the No. 5 seed in the tournament, faces No. 1 seed and nationally No.24-ranked Western Oregon (23-5) in semifinal action Friday, March 6, at 6:30 p.m. PST.

The championship game is Saturday, March 7, at 6:30 p.m. PST, with the winner earning an automatic berth in next week’s NCAA Division II West Regional.

UAA, the No.4 seed, ended its season at 16-13. Derrick Fain had 17 points for the Seawolves, who won both regular-season meetings with WWU, handing the Vikings their most recent loss, 81-76, at Bellingham, on Jan. 29.

WWU never trailed, but led just 18-17 with under five minutes left in the first half before running off 12 straight points, seven of them by Schreiber, to take a 30-17 advantage with 1:11 left in the period. The Vikings held a 30-19 lead at halftime.

UAA pulled to within five points four times in the first 5:15 of the second half, and was still just down by six, 43-37, after a Dom Hunter basket with 12:25 remaining. But the Vikings then broke the game open, scoring the next seven points to start a 24-6 charge that put WWU in front, 67-43, with six minutes remaining.

Anye Turner had 17 points and seven rebounds for WWU, which held the Seawolves to just 35.5 percent (22-of-62) field-goal shooting.

“We played really good defense, better than we have in a while,” WWU coach Tony Dominguez said in a news release. “That was the big difference … We’re excited about how we’ve been playing.”

Eight of the wins in WWU’s nine-game victory string have been by double figures, with the nine victories coming by winning by an average of 18.6 points per game.

WWU is still looking for its first GNAC tourney title despite winning a national championship in 2012, reaching the national semifinals in 2013, winning two West Regional titles, and taking two GNAC regular-season crowns.

WESTERN WASHINGTON U 76, ALASKA ANCHORAGE 56

WESTERN WASHINGTON U (19-10)

Schreiber,Joey 11-18 0-0 25; Turner,Anye 6-11 5-9 17; Impero,Kyle 7-10 1-1 16; Johnson,Mac 4-6 0-0 9; Maxwell,Ricardo 2-6 0-0 5; Bowen,Blake 1-2 0-0 2; Parker,Jeffrey 1-7 0-0 2; Javier,Harris 0-1 0-0 0; Hopkins,Mark 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 32-61 6-10 76..

ALASKA ANCHORAGE (16-13)

Fain,Derrick 6-15 1-2 17; Diouf,Kalidou 5-9 0-0 10; Hunter,Dom 4-10 1-3 10; Mears,Brad 3-4 0-0 6; Thompson,Travis 2-10 1-1 5; Bowman,Kevin 1-2 2-2 4; McGill,Brian 0-4 2-2 2; Berg,Sjur 1-4 0-0 2; Blossom,Boomer 0-0 0-0 0; Parrish,Travis 0-0 0-0 0; Leckband,Christian 0-4 0-0 0. Totals 22-62 7-10 56.

Half: WWU 30, AA 19

3-point field goals — Western Washington U 6-19 (Schreiber,Joey 3-6; Johnson,Mac 1-1; Impero,Kyle 1-2; Maxwell,Ricardo 1-4; Javier,Harris 0-1; Parker,Jeffrey 0-4; Bowen,Blake 0-1), University of Alaska 5-24 (Fain,Derrick 4-9; Hunter,Dom 1-6; Thompson,Travis 0-5; McGill,Brian 0-2; Leckband,Christian 0-2). Fouled out--Western Washington U-None, University of Alaska-None. Rebounds--Western Washington U 35 (Impero,Kyle 10), University of Alaska 31 (Berg,Sjur 6). Assists--Western Washington U 13 (Javier,Harris 5; Impero,Kyle 5), University of Alaska 13 (Thompson,Travis 6). Total fouls--Western Washington U 15, University of Alaska 14. Technical fouls--Western Washington U-None, University of Alaska-None. A-426

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