BELLINGHAM, WA – (Chaminade Athletics) Chaminade guard Bennie Murray (Fairfield, Calif./Will C. Wood) poured in 32 points, but defending NCAA Division II national champion Western Washington countered with 29 points from GNAC Player of the Year and West Region Player of the Year John Allen as WWU eliminated the Silverswords from the postseason with a 102-87 win in the NCAA Division II West Regional first round.
In front of a near capacity crowd at Carver Gymnasium, the Vikings jumped out to a 14-7 lead at the first media timeout, as WWU got six points each from Allen and Chris Mitchell, who were a combined 5-for-6 from the field.
The Swords would climb back to within four behind Kevin Hu (Taipei, Taiwan/Songsan), who had five points, but Anye Turner got back-to-back buckets including a dunk, making it 32-24, prompting a time out from CUH. The Swords proceeded to go on a 9-0 run, taking the lead at 33-32 when Dominique Cook's (Wollongong, Australia/Holy Spirit) length-of-the-court pass found Waly Coulibaly (Bamako, Mali/Patterson Prep) all alone the basket for an uncontested layup.
The Vikings would build the lead to double-digits at 52-41 with two minutes left in the first half, but CUH got a 3-pointer from Coulibaly, a Tyree Harrrison (San Bernardino, Calif./Cajon) layup and a Murray bucket to trail, 52-48, at the half.
Murray had 18 points to pace the Silverswords at the half, hitting 6-of-12 shots from the floor. The Vikings were led by Mitchell's 16, while Allen had 13. CUH shot 48.6 percent from the floor, while WWU hit 52.8 percent. The Swords hit 5-of-8 of its 3-pointers, while the Vikings were 6-of-14 from long range.
Both teams got off to a blistering start to begin the second half, as the teams combined to hit eight of its first 12 shots during the first four minutes. The pace continued to frantic, as both teams had eclipsed over 50 percent from the floor with 11:58 left in the game. Chaminade trailed 63-60 with 14:41 left on a Coulibaly 3-pointer, but WWU got seven points from Cameron Severson during a key 19-10 run to extend the lead to double-digits.
Chaminade would make one last push and got to within 87-83 on a Cooks 3-point play and a Murray put back 4:22 remaining.WWU got a Severson layup, then an Austin Bragg dunk to return the Vikings a double-digit lead. But several missed layups by the Swords down the stretch and a bevy of free throws by Western Washington would put the game out of reach.
Lee Bailey (Detroit, Mich./Detroit Country Day) finished with 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the floor, while Cooks ended his career with 10. Haskins, the Pac West Player of the Year, was held to eight points and six rebounds in the final game of his college career. Murray, who also played his final game in the blue and white, was 10-of-19 from the floor and hit 10-of-11 foul shots. CUH ended with a 42.9 field goal percentage (31-of-63) and hit 9-of-16 from 3-point range.
Mitchell finished with 19 points for WWU, while Paul Jones had 16 and Bragg logged a double-double for the Vikings (14 points, 10 rebounds). WWU shot a 58.2 percent from the floor, including a staggering 68.4 percent (13-of-19) in the second half. The Vikings were also 30-of-35 from the free throw line (85.7 percent). They also outrebounded the Swords, 35-23.
WWU improved to 28-2 on the season and advanced to the regional semifinals against CS-San Bernardino, who defeated Dixie State earlier in the evening. Chaminade ended the season at 19-11.