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Originally published Friday, March 8, 2013 at 10:30 PM

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SPU men reach GNAC final

Patrick Simon scored eight of his 17 points during the final 70 seconds, helping Seattle Pacific hold off Central Washington 85-78.


GNAC women's (5:15 p.m.) and men's (7:30 p.m.) title games, ROOT Sports

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LACEY — Patrick Simon scored eight of his 17 points during the final 70 seconds, helping Seattle Pacific hold off Central Washington 85-78 on Friday in the semifinals of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference men's basketball tournament.

The Falcons (24-3), ranked third nationally, play Western Washington (27-1) for the GNAC tournament title and automatic berth in the NCAA Division II tournament. Western is the defending national champ and is ranked No. 2.

In the GNAC women's title game on Saturday, Western Washington faces Simon Fraser at 5:15 p.m.

Central (15-13) tied the score against SPU at 74-74 on a layup by Mark McLaughlin with 2:12 to play. The Falcons reclaimed the lead for good on a free throw by David Downs 18 seconds later.

After a Central Washington turnover, Simon tipped in a teammate's missed shot to increase the Falcons' lead to 77-74.

McLaughlin finished with 25 points for the Wildcats, going 12 for 12 at the free-throw line. He made two layups in the final 51 seconds, but SPU answered both times, hitting four consecutive free throws. Simon sank six foul shots in the final 28 seconds.

Downs finished with 18 points and 11 assists, and Jobi Wall scored 15 for Seattle Pacific.

Other men's semifinal

Western Washington 61, Alaska Fairbanks 43

The Vikings avenged their only defeat this season, advancing to the GNAC championship game with a victory over the Nanooks (16-12). Western lost 77-73 in Fairbanks last month. Paul Jones led a balanced WWU attack with 12 points.

Women's semifinals

Simon Fraser 66, SPU 55

Simon Fraser went on an 18-2 run to erase a four-point Seattle Pacific halftime lead, ending the season for the Falcons (17-11). Katie Benson scored 14 points and Aubree Callen 13 for SPU. Erin Chambers got 15 of her 20 points after halftime for the Clan (23-4).

WWU 60, NW Nazarene 49

Top-seeded Western Washington held Northwest Nazarene scoreless for more than eight minutes in the first half. Britt Harris had 13 points and 12 rebounds for the Vikings (24-3), ranked sixth in the nation. Megan Hingston scored 21 for Northwest Nazarene (20-8).

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