Friday, January 5, 2001
Both Chaminade and Western Washington had to fight without their strongest inside punch last night.
knocks out Chaminade
By Brandon Lee
Special to the Star-Bulletin
West Region-No. 2 Western Washington (10-1, 2-0) defeated No. 4 Chaminade (6-4, 0-1), 81-77, before approximately 100 fans in the Silverswords' conference home opener last night at McCabe Gymnasium. The win was the Vikings' eighth straight, while it ended Chaminade's streak of six consecutive victories.
The Vikings went without Brian Dennis, who led the conference in double-doubles entering the contest with five. The Silverswords were missing Robert Watson, who wasn't far behind with three double-doubles.
Both players have been suspended indefinitely for violating unspecified team rules.
Western Washington also was without guard Darnell Taylor, who violated team rules, and Chaminade was without swingman David Toya, who had difficulties returning from winter break in his native Slovakia.
"We played hard, but we just didn't execute as well as we'd like to all the time, and that happens when you got new guys playing," Chaminade coach Aaron Griess said. "But Western Washington is a terrific team. They were two men down as well."
Chaminade and Western Washington are the highest-ranked schools in the regional poll from their respective divisions of the Pacific West Conference, and both had to go without their top post players last night.
"We're not making any excuses," Griess said. "That was a good team that came in here and beat us."
There were 14 lead changes and the score was tied on 11 occasions. The Vikings built the biggest bulge in the game twice at seven points, but both occurred during the first half.
With barely over a minute to play in the first half, Chaminade point guard Kaweo Feeney scored two consecutive baskets, triggering a six-point run that brought the Silverswords to within one.
The Vikings relied on one of their other quality post players, center Mike Palm, in the second half. Palm led Western Washington with 11 second-half points for a team-high 21.
Still, Palm was part of a balanced attack as three other Vikings finished in double-figures.
"We've got a pretty deep team, and I think our bench did a great job tonight for us," Western Washington coach Brad Jackson said. "But we knew it was going to be real tough. Chaminade is an extremely good ballclub, very, very athletic, and it was a hard-fought ballgame."
The Vikings took the lead for good with 3:25 left in the game, despite Chaminade's C.J. Cowgill hitting the last of his five 3-pointers on the night with 50 seconds remaining, making the score 80-77.
Cowgill finished with a game-high 25 points for the Silverswords in defeat.
"We had opportunities and we've just got to finish," Griess said. "We needed to attack the rim better and execute the little things. We've been hit with some adversity and we just have to deal with it."
Chaminade will have little time to recover, as they face West Region-No. 10 Seattle Pacific at McCabe tomorrow night.