Western Washington 96, Florida Southern 82: Guard John Allen (Mountlake Terrace) led a balanced attack with 22 points and center Austin Bragg (Longview) posted a double-double with 17 points and 14 rebounds as the Vikings opened up an early lead and advanced to the national semifinals with a win over the Moccasins on Thursday in the NCAA Division II national tournament in Louisville, Ky.
The defending national champion Vikings, ranked No. 4 in the nation, tied a school record with 31 wins. They will play either Drury or South Carolina-Aiken at 11:30 a.m. PDT on Saturday.
The game will be televised live on CBS Sports Network and ROOT.
I thought it was an outstanding game for us and Florida Southern, WWU coach Tony Dominguez said. They are very talented and extremely well coached; they knew how to hit our weaknesses very well. Were just very fortunate to come away with this game.
Richard Woodworth, of Bellevue, had 17 points, while Kents Paul Jones added 10 off the bench.
The Vikings shot 58.1 percent (25-of-43) in the opening half, and held a 59-47 lead at halftime after leading by as many as 17 points. The key burst was a 13-2 run in a span of less than three minutes that opened up a 28-16 advantage midway through the first half.
This is the third Elite Eight trip for the Vikings, who have won five of six games. In addition to winning the national title last year, they reached the national semifinals in 2001.
The Vikings are aiming to become the first team to repeat as NCAA Division II champions since Cal-State Bakersfield did so in 1994.