From CWU Athletics
LACEY, Wash. -- Junior Mark McLaughlin (Bothell/Inglemoor HS) scored a game-high 25 points, but the Central Washington University men's basketball team saw its 2012-13 season come to an end with an 85-78 loss to third-ranked Seattle Pacific University in the semifinals of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Men's Basketball Championship at Marcus Pavilion on the Saint Martin's University campus.
CWU finished its season with a 15-13 record, while Seattle Pacific (24-3) advances to the tournament title game against second-ranked Western Washington University on Saturday.
Patrick Simon tallied eight of his 17 points during the final 70 seconds for the Falcons, who won all three matchups with CWU during the 2012-13 campaign.
CWU (15-13) tied the score 74-74 on a layup by McLaughlin with 2:12 left to play. SPU quickly reclaimed the lead for good on a free throw by David Downs 18 seconds later.
On the Falcons next trip down the floor, after a CWU turnover, Simon rebounded a missed shot by teammate Alex Weber-Brader and tipped it in to increase the margin to 77-74 with 1:10 remaining.
McLaughlin converted all 12 of his free throw attempts en route to a his game-high point total. He made two layups in the final 51 seconds, but SPU answered both times with four consecutive free throws. Simon sank six charity shots inside the final 28 seconds and Downs added two.
Downs finished with 18 points and 11 assists to pace the Falcons, who also got 15 points from Jobi Wall and 10 apiece from centers Andy Poling and Cory Hutsen.
Wall did all of his scoring before halftime. He made 6 of 7 shots from the field in the first half, including 3 of 4 accuracy on 3-pointers. As a team, the Falcons made 6 of 9 shots from behind the arc in the opening 20 minutes.
SPU shot a sizzling 69 percent (18 of 26) in the first half and finished at 56 percent (29 of 52) for the game.
The Wildcats also shot well, becoming the first opponent to top the 50 percent plateau against SPU this season. They made 26 of 49 shots to finish at 53 percent.
Three consecutive layups staked SPU to an early 6-1 lead on Friday. The Wildcats rallied and tied the score on three occasions, the last at 29-29 on a high banking shot by junior Dom Williams (Tacoma, Wash./Curtis HS) with 5:02 left in the first half.
After two exchanges of points, Downs started a 10-2 surge with a 3-pointer. Another Downs trey capped the run that gave SPU a 44-35 lead with 1:11 left in the period.
CWU junior Kevin Davis (Federal Way, Wash./Todd Beamer HS) grabbed a rebound and layed the ball in to draw CWU within 44-37 at halftime.
Trailing 47-39 early in the second half, the Wildcats netted nine unanswered points to claim their first lead since 1-0.
Senior Brandon Magee (Spanaway, Wash./Bethel HS) got a three-point play on a layup and free throw followed by 3-pointers by senior Jordan Coby (Tacoma, Wash./Woodrow Wilson HS) and Williams to provide a 48-47 edge with 15:37 left to play.
Hutsen quickly put SPU back in front with a short shot that was goal-tended and the lead changed hands eight times in a three-minute span.
SPU led by as many as eight points before a 10-2 run, capped by McLaughlin's layup, evened the score at 74-74.
Coby scored 14 points for CWU while Williams added 12 and Davis had 10.