LAS VEGAS, Nevada – Dropping back-to-back games for the first time in three seasons, Western Washington University lost 86-69 to Tarleton State University TX in a men’s basketball contest between two nationally ranked teams on Sunday at the 2013 South Point Holiday Hoops Classic held at The Arena at South Point.
The Vikings, ranked No.5 in the National Association of Basketball Coaches/NCAA Division II Top 25 Poll, fell to 8-2. They had not suffered two straight losses since being beaten in four consecutive games to end the 2010-11 season.
No.11 TSU remained unbeaten at 10-0, the best start in school history. The Texans were led by forward Davene Carter with a game-high 20 points on 9-of-12 field-goal shooting, guard Chuck Guy, who had 19 points, making all 13 of his free throws, and five assists; and reserve Emmanuel Andrews with 18 points.
WWU, which lost 99-91 to Cal State San Bernardino on Saturday, got 17 points from guard Robert Harris, Jr. (Sr., Kent/Rainier Beach), who was 6-of-10 from the floor, including 3-of-6 on 3-pointers.
Center Austin Bragg (Sr.,Longview/Mark Morris) had 12 points and a game-high eight rebounds for the Vikings and Richard Woodworth (Sr., Bellevue/Newport) contributed 11 points.
TSU used a 10-3 run to take a 33-25 lead with 3:12 left in the first half. WWU cut the deficit to three at halftime by scoring the last five points of the period on a layup by Alfred Davis (Sr., Tacoma/Lincoln) and a trey with three seconds to go by Jeffrey Parker (R-Fr., Richmond, CA/Salesian).
The Vikings tied the game at 49-all on a layup by Bragg with 14:32 left in the game. But WWU did not score another field goal for nearly 10 minutes and just three for the rest of the contest.
A 17-8 run gave the Texans a 12-point advantage, 71-59, with 6:35 to go and WWU never got closer than eight after that.
The Vikings had 20 turnovers and shot just 40.0 percent (20-of-50) from the field, hitting just 35.0 percent (7-of-20) in the second half.
WWU takes an 11-day holiday break before returning to Great Northwest Athletic Conference play with games at University of Alaska Anchorage on Thursday, Jan. 2 (7 p.m. AT) and at University of Alaska Fairbanks on Saturday, Jan. 4 (3 p.m., AT).