WWU men rally to beat arch-rival Central Washington

WWU men rally to beat arch-rival Central Washington

Photo: KPUG

ELLENSBURG, Wash. — Guard Richard Woodworth (Sr., Bellevue/Newport) scored 28 points, leading Western Washington University to a 99-94 triumph over arch-rival Central Washington University in a Great Northwest Athletic Conference men’s basketball contest Thursday at Nicholson Pavilion on the CWU campus.

Center Austin Bragg (Sr., Longview/Mark  Morris) added 21 points for WWU, which improved to 12-4 overall and 6-2 in the GNAC.

Guard Mark McLaughlin had a game-high 43 points, the most by a GNAC player this season, for CWU, which fell to 8-8 overall and 4-4 in the GNAC.

The Vikings trailed at halftime, 42-40, but opened the second half with nine straight points, capped by a Bragg fast break dunk, to take a 49-42 lead with 17:53 to play, and eventually opened up a 10-point advantage, 66-56, with 11:45 left.

Central twice pulled within one, the last time at 75-74 on two McLaughlin free throws with just over six minutes left. But the Vikings used another burst of nine straight points to reassert control, this one in a 90-second span, taking an 84-74 lead with 4:20 to play.

The Wildcats pulled as close as three points in the dying moments, but never had a possession with a chance to tie, as Woodworth made eight consecutive free throws in the final minute.

Five players scored in double figures for WWU, as forward Jeffrey Parker (R-Fr., Richmond, CA/Salesian) had 15 points, guard Robert Harris, Jr. (Sr., Kent/Rainier Beach) added 13, and Colby Mitchell (Jr., Chugiak, AK) came off the bench to score 12 and grab a team-high eight rebounds.

Center Kevin Davis had 14 points and a game-high 10 rebounds for CWU, which shot 52.2 percent (35-of-67) from the field. McLaughlin, who entered the contest second among NCAA Division II scorers nationally at 26.4 points a game, was 14-of-22 from the field, including 3-of-7 on 3-pointers, and 12-of-14 on free throws.

It was the 10th victory for WWU in the last 12 meetings with Central.

WWU next travels to Northwest Nazarene for a GNAC counter on Jan. 25 (7 p.m.)

– WWU –

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