Whatever the UAA men's basketball team threw at Western Washington on Thursday, the Vikings had a good answer.
In a showdown of top-25 teams, Western Washington prevailed 104-89 in a Great Northwest Athletic Conference game at the Wells Fargo Sports Complex, beating the Seawolves for the seventh straight time.
The two-time defending GNAC champion Vikings (9-2, 3-0 GNAC) are ranked 15th in Division II.
UAA (8-5, 1-1 GNAC), ranked 23rd, had its hands full from the beginning. Western Washington's seven first-half blocks were a strong indicator of the kind of defense that thwarted the Seawolves' attack, and some powerful first-half dunks set an aggressive offensive tone for the Vikings.
"They're really big and they're really long and we haven't played a lot of teams like that," said UAA's Teancum Stafford, who led the Seawolves with 23 points. "That's not an excuse, but it's something we have to learn how to deal with."
One of Western Washington's big dunks came from junior Colby Mitchell (4 points), a 2011 Chugiak graduate who spent the last two seasons at Mount Hood Community College. The dunk from the 6-foot-7 forward punctuated a 17-10 opening run for the Vikings.
"We just hit the open guy," Mitchell said. "We broke the defense down. UAA is really good at taking charges, so the key was to stop before the charge and make the extra pass, and we actually got a couple dunks off it, so that was really nice."
Four players scored in double figures for the Vikings, with Austin Bragg (25 points), Richard Woodworth (24) and Joey Schreiber (22) all clearing the 20-point mark. Anye Turner pitched in 13 points and four blocks, and Bragg added a game-high 12 rebounds to complete a double-double.
Three UAA players also surpassed 20 points, with Brian McGill and Kyle Fossman joining Stafford by depositing 22 apiece. McGill dished nine assists and corralled six rebounds, but his usual ability to slash to the rim was stymied on many occasions. Even when he beat his initial defender, there was often a second defender there to either alter McGill's shot or swat it away.
Western Washington finished with 10 blocks and outshot UAA 57 percent to 38 percent. UAA didn't execute its defensive or offensive sets well, said UAA coach Rusty Osborne, something that came from a lack of mental discipline.
"I think in a lot of ways, we wanted it too bad," Osborne said. "We got a lot of guys who care in that locker room and they had a lot of goals they wanted to take care of. I think we wanted it too bad, because we were about as poor mentally as I've seen us."
After Stafford hit a turnaround trey at the first-half buzzer, UAA trailed 46-33 at halftime. Early in the second half, the Seawolves looked destined to trail by double digits until the final buzzer, but then Colton Lauwers banked in a 3-pointer to pull the Seawolves within 61-52 with just more than 14 minutes to play.
The crowd revved up shortly after that, cheering every bit of hustle or good fortune that fell UAA's way and booing any calls that didn't.
With just more than 12 minutes to play, Stafford buried another 3-pointer to pull UAA within 61-56, but Schreiber answered with 3-pointers on the Vikings' next two possessions to pump the lead back to double-digits at 67-56.
The lead hovered around 10 points down the stretch before the Vikings cemented the win with free throws.
UAA continues GNAC play Saturday, when it hosts Simon Fraser at 7 p.m.
WWU (104) -- Schreiber 7-13 5-8 22; Turner 6-7 1-1 13; Bragg 7-8 11-12 25; Harris 2-5 1-2 6; Woodworth 7-14 10-12 24; Davis 1-5 2-2 4; Hopkins 0-0 1-3 1; Oliver 0-0 0-0 0; Parker 1-3 2-2 5; Mitchell 1-1 2-2 4. Totals -- 32-56 35-44 104.
UAA (89) -- Stafford 7-15 4-5 23; Mears 2-3 0-0 4; McGill 7-18 8-8 22; Thompson 1-10 2-2 5; Fossman 6-13 5-5 22; Leckband 2-4 2-2 7; Lauwers 1-5 0-0 3; Blossom 1-2 1-2 3. Totals -- 27-71 22-24 89.
3-point goals -- WWU 5-13 (Schreiber 3-6; Harris 1-1; Woodworth 0-2; Davis 0-1; Parker 1-3). UAA 13-35 (Stafford 5-11; Thompson 1-8; Fossman 5-10; Leckband 1-2; Lauwers 1-3; Blossom 0-1). Rebounds -- WWU 38 (Bragg 12); UAA 32 (Stafford, McGill 6). Total fouls -- WWU 22; UAA 24. Fouled out -- none. Technical fouls -- UAA (team). Assists -- WWU 18 (three with 4); UAA 18 (McGill 9). Turnovers -- WWU 11 (Woodworth 5); UAA 11 (Thompson 5). Blocks 10 (Turner 4); UAA 2 (Stafford, Leckband). Steals -- WWU 6 (Harris 2); UAA 7 (McGill 2). Officials -- Bernatz, McNew, Bruland. A -- 713.
Reach Jeremy Peters at firstname.lastname@example.org or 257-4335.