With 6:34 remaining in the game, it would have been hard to imagine an ending so exciting. Western Washington was comfortably ahead with...

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With 6:34 remaining in the game, it would have been hard to imagine an ending so exciting.


Western Washington was comfortably ahead with a 22-point lead over Central Washington, and looked well on the way to an easy victory.


Yet as the final seconds ticked off the clock, Central had two looks at a tying shot. Forced three-point attempts by Lance Den Boer and Robert Hicks both missed, however, and the Vikings held on for an 84-81 win in the Showdown in the Sound at KeyArena on Saturday.


For the Vikings, the fourth-ranked NCAA Division II team in the country, beating their rivals never felt so unfulfilling.


“We just got complacent, I think,” said senior forward Grant Dykstra, who scored 17 points before fouling out with 1:22 to play. “We saw the score and kind of relaxed a little bit. In a way it kind of feels like a loss. It’s a good lesson to learn, but it’s nice that we got lucky enough to still get a win. We learned a lesson tonight. Once you have a team put away, we’ve got to get that killer instinct and put them away.”


Chris Bannish scored on a wide-open layup with 18.8 seconds remaining to cut the lead to two points. Kyle Jackson then made 1 of 2 free throws to make the score 84-81 before Central’s final attempts.


“We dug ourselves a hole,” said Central coach Greg Sparling. “Yeah it was nice to see the kids fight back, but we shouldn’t be in that situation.”


Central (5-4) also dominated the early going, building an 8-0 lead in the first three minutes, but the Vikings (8-1) were just too good the rest of the way.


Ryan Diggs led five Vikings in double-figure scoring with 20 points. He was also in the middle of a late-game controversy when he fouled out with 1:14 remaining-with four fouls. Once the error was cleared up, Diggs came back into the game and played the final 28.7 seconds.


“I knew I had four fouls and I was frustrated more than anything,” Diggs said. “I’m just happy we pulled this one out.”


Tyler Amaya had a double-double for Western, with 13 points and 10 rebounds, and also provided the highlight of the night midway through the first half. The 6-foot-6 senior forward beat one defender with a pump fake before driving into the lane to throw down a one-handed dunk over Central’s Colton Monti.


Tyler MacMullen scored 14 points and Jackson finished with 10.


Bannish led Central with 23 points, including his team’s first six.


“Normally we’re a team of runs, and we’re pretty explosive, and I think we just kind of got lulled to sleep maybe a little bit in the second half,” said Western coach Brad Jackson, who earned victory No. 383 in his 601st game at Western.


“But you have to give Central Washington credit because they hung in there and kept fighting. They got back in the ball game. All in all, if you can hang on it doesn’t really matter what the score is.”


Western women crush Central


Tina Donahue scored 24 of her game-high 28 points in the first half as Western Washington crushed rival Central Washington 87-55 at KeyArena.


“I felt good,” said Donahue, a senior forward from Stanwood.


“I felt like I was in the flow, just playing basketball. Coach asked us what our goals were today, and mine was to go out there and play and have fun, and that’s what I did.”


The seventh-ranked Vikings (6-0) took control of the game with a 19-0 run that made the score 39-15 late in the first half.


Donahue scored 12 points during that stretch. She finished the first half making 9 of 11 field goals in 15 minutes.


Courtney Clapp scored 15 of her 19 points in the second half for the Vikings.


Central was without leading scorer Laura Wright, who underwent surgery on her right knee earlier in the week.


Jamie Corwin scored 27 to lead the Wildcats (5-2).


“We’re a much better team than we showed,” said Central coach Jeff Whitney. “It’s a good thing we get to play them again.”


John Boyle: 206-464-2364 or jboyle@seattletimes.com


Men’s summary


W. WASHINGTON 84, C. WASHINGTON 81


CENTRAL WASHINGTON (5-4) — Bannish 8-13 7-8 23; Den Boer 3-11 9-9 15; Assink 4-13 4-6 12; Hicks 4-13 3-4 11; Spevak 2-4 0-0 5; McMillion 2-6 1-3 5; Conner 1-3 1-2 4; Monti 2-6 0-0 4; Curry 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 27-72 25-32 81.


WESTERN WASHINGTON (8-1) — Diggs 8-16 4-4 20; Dykstra 7-14 1-2 17; MacMullen 6-13 2-4 14; Amaya 6-10 1-3 13; Jackson 3-6 3-4 10; Henne 1-1 4-5 6; Weisner 2-4 0-0 4; Visser 0-0 0-0 0; Vermeulen 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 33-67 15-22 84.


Halftime — WWU 46-33. 3-point goals-CWU 2-13 (Spevak 1-3; Conner 1-1; Assink 0-2; Hicks 0-2; Monti 0-1; Curry 0-1; Den Boer 0-3), WWU 3-16 (Dykstra 2-8; Jackson 1-2; Amaya 0-1; Weisner 0-1; Vermeulen 0-2; Diggs 0-2). Fouled out — CWU-None, WWU-Dykstra. Rebounds-CWU 41 (Assink 11), WWU 44 (Amaya 10). Assists-CWU 14 (Spevak 4; Bannish 4), WWU 20 (Diggs 7). Total fouls-CWU 19, WWU 24. A-2,325


Women’s summary


W. WASHINGTON 87, C. WASHINGTON 55


CENTRAL WASHINGTON (5-2) — Corwin 9-21 6-6 27; Fenimore 3-3 2-2 8; Hull 2-8 2-2 6; Blake 2-6 0-0 5; Klapperich 2-2 0-0 4; Moore 1-7 0-0 3; Tanneberg 0-5 2-4 2; McKinney 0-3 0-0 0; Short 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 19-58 12-14 55.


WESTERN WASHINGTON (6-0) — Donahue 11-17 4-4 28; Clapp 8-9 2-2 19; Dykstra 6-10 0-0 14; Stelmack 3-7 2-2 9; Hubbard 2-6 0-0 5; Pallansch 2-3 0-0 5; McCarrell 1-3 0-4 3; Cabe 1-1 0-0 2; Dressel 1-1 0-0 2; White 0-4 0-0 0; Hartman 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 35-61 8-12 87.


Halftime-WWU 48, CWU 21. 3-point goals-CWU 5-14 (Corwin 3-4; Blake 1-2; Moore 1-6; Hull 0-2), WWU 9-16 (Dykstra 2-4; Donahue 2-3; Pallansch 1-1; Hubbard 1-3; Stelmack 1-3; Clapp 1-1; McCarrell 1-1). Fouled out — CWU-None, WWU-None. Rebounds-CWU 24 (Moore 4; Short 4), WWU 44 (Pallansch 8). Assists-CWU 8 (Fenimore 4), WWU 22 (Donahue 6; Hubbard 6). Total fouls-CWU 15, WWU 15. A-1,700