In round one of the NCAA Division II tournament Western Washington University (25-5) took on Grand Canyon University (19-7) to pull out a win of 79 to 73. I finally got to the game exceedingly late and saw only the second half, but when I got there Western was up by 15 with 48 points to GCU 33. Quite a thriller of a second half. It is a weird feeling coming in midway through a game and trying to find out the dynamics of the teams, not quite knowing how best to heckle the other team, but a large turnout of fans made supporting the team easy enough and their awesome showing really gave fans something to cheer about.
GCU was down by by 21 at halftime 48-27, but through accurate shooting in the second half decreased the lead slowly and surely to 6 points with a couple minutes left. WWU kept up enough of a defense to hold them off, though, and an awesome swat by Dan Young kept the defense alive to the end. Rory Blanche had an awesome jumper with approximately 2 minutes left that brought the lead back up to 8 and kept the Antelopes at enough of an arms reach to not be a threat the rest of the game.
Blanche had a decent game of 16 points and shot for 100 percent for field goals and 4 for 7 of free throws. John “The Wizard” Allen took over this game and led the team in points with 24 shooting 10 for 16 of field goals, 1 for 3 of threes, and 3 for 5 of free throws. Western made 52.5 % FG 31 of 59, 35.7 % 3-pt, and a surprisingly low 46.2 % FT. I would say this low free throw percentage is what led GCU to catch up in the second half.
Western will go on to play Chico State (No. 5 seed) tomorrow at 7:30 PM in Sam Carver Gymnasium while Alaska Anchorage (No. 2) and Seattle Pacific University (No. 3) at 5 PM.