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Viking men edge Crusaders

Viking men edge Crusaders

Photo: KPUG

NAMPA, Id. – Guard Robert Harris, Jr.(Sr., Kent/Rainier Beach) scored a season-high 23 points as Western Washington University withstood a late Northwest Nazarene University rally to claim a 91-84 victory in a Great Northwest Athletic Conference men’s basketball contest Saturday at the Johnson Sports Center on the NNU campus.

WWU improved to 13-4 overall and 7-2 in the GNAC with its third consecutive victory. Center Austin Bragg (Sr., Longview/Mark Morris) added 17 points for the Vikings, who shot 55.2 percent (32-of-58) from the field.

NNU fell to 5-12 overall and 3-6 in conference action with its fourth straight loss.

Kevin Rima led the Crusaders with a game-high 34 points, hitting 14-of-15 shots from the floor and 6-of-7 free throws. He also grabbed a game-high eight rebounds.

WWU never trailed, and led by as much as 20 points, holding a 77-57 lead with under nine minutes remaining.

NNU rallied, using a run of 11 straight points to close the gap to four, 81-77, on a basket and free throw by Rima with 2:17 remaining. But the Vikings held on as Bragg scored on the next two possessions, putting WWU up 85-77 with 1:07 left, and the Crusaders never got closer than five points after that.

The Vikings held a 53-41 advantage at halftime after shooting 65.6 percent (21-of-32) from the field.

NNU shot 51.6 percent (33-of-64) from the field, but the Crusaders, who entered the game eighth nationally in NCAA Division II in average 3-pointers made per game at 10.5, were only 6-of-25 (24.0 percent) on treys.

Scoring 12 points each for NNU were Mario Donaldson, Derek Isaak and Michael Loomis.

WWU now leads the series 24-8, winning 12 of the last 15 meetings. All three losses came during the 2010-11 season.

WWU returns home to play Alaska Fairbanks in a GNAC counter on Jan. 30 (7:30 p.m.)

-WWU-

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