WWU Vikings

WWU men lose GNAC title game to Seattle Pacific

A ten-game winning streak and the season came to an end for Western Washington University as the Vikings fell, 81-68, to Seattle Pacific University on Saturday, March 7, in the championship game of the fifth annual Great Northwest Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament at Alterowitz Gymnasium on the campus of host Montana State Billings.

Tournament MVP Cory Hutsen had a tourney record 34 points for No. 2 seed Seattle Pacific, which improved to 23-7 with its seventh straight victory and claimed its third consecutive GNAC tournament crown. The Falcons earn an automatic berth in next week’s West Regional of the NCAA Division II National Tournament.

The Vikings, the No. 5 seed in the tourney, completed their season 20-11. Guard Ricardo Maxwell with 13 points. The loss was WWU’s first since Jan. 29.

WWU was down by just six, 36-30, after a Harris Javier layup 25 seconds into the second half. But SPU scored the next 10 points, the last eight on post-ups by Hutsen, to take a 45-30 lead with 15:55 to play. The margin was never less than 12 points after that.

The Falcons, who will make their 11th consecutive NCAA II tourney appearance, the longest active streak in the country, shot 65.2 percent (15 of 23) from the field in the second half, with Hutsen going 10 of 12.

Jeffrey Parker had 12 points for WWU, and Joey Schreiber added 11 off the bench.

WWU led by a point twice in the early going, but SPU took the lead for good at 11-9 on a Bryce Leavitt layin 5:18 into the game.

Mitch Penner had 12 points and a game-high 11 rebounds for the Falcons, who had a 36-22 advantage on the boards.

The Vikings had beaten Seattle Pacific in both previous meetings this season, 82-72 at Seattle on Feb. 5, and 68-66 on Maxwell’s driving layup at the buzzer on Jan. 10 at Bellingham. It was the third straight year the two schools met in the GNAC final.

WWU advanced to the GNAC final with a 76-56 first-round win over No.4 seed Alaska Anchorage and an 88-79 victory over No.1 seed Western Oregon.

The contest was the final collegiate game for WWU seniors Anye Turner and Mark Hopkins.

SEATTLE PACIFIC 81, WESTERN WASHINGTON 68

WESTERN WASHINGTON (20-11)

Maxwell,Ricardo 6-16 1-2 13; Parker,Jeffrey 5-10 0-0 12; Schreiber,Joey 3-5 3-4 11; Impero,Kyle 2-5 5-7 9; Javier,Harris 2-5 4-4 8; Turner,Anye 3-5 1-4 7; Johnson,Mac 2-4 2-2 6; Hopkins,Mark 0-2 2-2 2; Bowen,Blake 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 23-54 18-25 68.

SEATTLE PACIFIC (23-7)

Hutsen,Cory 15-23 4-8 34; Penner,Mitch 3-6 5-7 12; Stockton,Riley 3-6 1-2 9; Borton,Matt 2-7 3-5 7; Reid,Shawn 2-8 3-6 7; Leavitt,Bryce 1-3 3-4 5; Rasmussen,Joe 1-1 0-0 3; Parker,Will 1-2 0-2 2; Swanson,Garrett 1-1 0-0 2; Simpson,Sam 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 29-57 19-34 81.

Half: SPU 35, WWU 28

3-point field goals — Western Washington 4-18 (Parker,Jeffrey 2-4; Schreiber,Joey 2-4; Javier,Harris 0-2; Johnson,Mac 0-1; Hopkins,Mark 0-1; Bowen,Blake 0-1; Impero,Kyle 0-1; Maxwell,Ricardo 0-4), Seattle Pacific 4-9 (Stockton,Riley 2-4; Penner,Mitch 1-2; Rasmussen,Joe 1-1; Reid,Shawn 0-2). Fouled out--Western Washington-None, Seattle Pacific-None. Rebounds--Western Washington 22 (Johnson,Mac 6), Seattle Pacific 36 (Penner,Mitch 11). Assists--Western Washington 7 (Javier,Harris 3), Seattle Pacific 14 (Leavitt,Bryce 6). Total fouls--Western Washington 22, Seattle Pacific 19. Technical fouls--Western Washington-None, Seattle Pacific-None. A-512

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