A career-high scoring performance Friday ensured that Jake Anderson's collegiate career would continue.
BELLINGHAM — A career-high scoring performance Friday ensured that Jake Anderson’s collegiate career would continue.
The senior forward came off the bench to tally 15 of his career-high 24 points in the final 12 minutes, lifting third-seeded Seattle Pacific (22-7) to a 70-68 victory over No. 6 Dixie State in the opening round of the NCAA Division II men’s basketball tournament at Carver Gymnasium.
“I just didn’t want it to end,” Anderson said. “I wanted to do this for the team, to keep on playing one more day.”
Anderson and the rest of his Falcons teammates advanced to Saturday’s West Region semifinal against No. 2 seed Alaska Anchorage at 5 p.m. The 16th-ranked Seawolves defeated Montana State Billings 80-68 in their first-round contest.
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The Red Storm erased an early 18-point deficit and led 40-39 at halftime.
The Falcons took their first second-half lead at 53-52 on an Anderson jumper. He then accounted for 15 of next 18 Falcons points.
Dixie State got within 67-65 on a charity shot by Maurice Cole with 23.4 seconds to play. But SPU turned back the rally with a free throw by David Downs at 23.0 and two by Andy Poling with 5.9 seconds on the clock.
Cole hit a top-of-the key three-pointer at the buzzer to set the final score.
“We’re excited to survive,” exclaimed SPU coach Ryan Looney. “I don’t think one way or another we were going to get ourselves too rattled. It’s just nice to see how we hung in there and found a way to get it done at the end.”
Downs and Poling each contributed 18 points for the Falcons. Anderson and Poling shared game-high rebound honors with eight, leading a 38-25 SPU advantage on the boards.
Western Washington men 79, Grand Canyon 73
John Allen scored a game-high 24 points, shooting 10 for 16 from the field, to help the top-seeded and host Vikings (26-5) fend off an upset bid from the Antelopes.
WWU led 48-27 at the break, but was outscored 46-31 in the second half.
The Vikings will face Chico State, a 75-68 winner over Humboldt State, in the West Regional semifinals at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Western Washington women 65, Cal State Monterey Bay 58
Corinn Waltrip had 15 points, including the go-ahead basket with 2:35 to play, as the Vikings won their opener in the West Regional of the NCAA Division II women’s tournament in La Jolla, Calif.
The Vikings (22-7), seeded fourth, will face top seed UC San Diego (29-2), an 84-66 winner over Chico State, in a regional semifinal at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.