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Originally published Wednesday, January 2, 2013 at 8:51 PM

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Western Washington battles SPU in men's basketball showdown Thursday night

Western ranks fourth nationally with an offense that produces 92.2 points per game. The Falcons will counter with the nation's No. 8-ranked defense that surrenders an average of just 58.2 points.

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Unbeaten in its first 10 games and riding a 16-game win streak over two seasons, the Western Washington men's basketball team gets a big test Thursday night when the Vikings play at Seattle Pacific in a battle of top-10 nationally ranked squads.

The defending national champion Vikings (10-0, 1-0 conference) are ranked No. 5 in the latest Division II poll. SPU, ranked No. 7, was the conference preseason favorite in the coaches' poll and is 9-1 overall — 4-0 at home and 2-0 in league play.

The game starts at 7 p.m. at Brougham Pavilion.

Leading SPU are junior guard David Downs (13.0 points per game) and senior center Andy Poling (10.1 ppg).

WWU senior guard John Allen is averaging team highs of 18.4 points and 4.5 assists.

Western ranks fourth nationally with an offense that produces 92.2 points per game. The Falcons will counter with the nation's No. 8 defense that surrenders an average of just 58.2 points.

The Falcons have participated in the past eight NCAA tournaments, the longest current playoff streak in Division II.

WWU trails 76-47 in the series, but has won the last three meetings after losing 12 of the previous 13.

Horse racing

The Washington Racing Hall of Fame announced 20 finalists in five categories for the state's highest honor in Thoroughbred racing for 2013. Four finalists were announced in each category: male horse, female horse, jockey, trainer, and breeder. The winners will be announced in March. Finalists are:

Male horse: Georgie Drum, Loto Canada, Military Hawk, Travel Orb.

Female horse: Flag de Lune, Reba Is Tops, Run Away Stevie, Table Hands.

Jockey: Gary Boulanger, Basil Frazier, Jack Leonard, Gallyn Mitchell.

Trainer: Howard Belvoir, Clint Roberts, Larry and Sharon Ross, Wesley Ward.

Breeder: Czechmate Stable, Griffin Place, Gunshy Manor, Savario Farm.

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