BELLINGHAM, Wash. – Patrick Simon amassed 18 points and 13 rebounds Monday, helping Seattle Pacific post its school record-tying 27th win with a 67-54 triumph against Cal Poly Pomona in the second round of the NCAA tournament at Carver Gymnasium.
The third-seeded Falcons (27-3) advance to the West Regional championship game for the second consecutive season. In last year’s regional final at Carver Gym, the Falcons fell 56-50 to WWU.
Seattle Pacific extended its winning streak to 11 games and matched the win total of its 2000 team that reached the national semifinals.
On Monday, SPU opened a 40-33 lead on a tip-in by Andy Poling 1:46 into the second half. The Broncos scored the next eight points, claiming a brief 41-40 lead on Mitchel Anderson’s fastbreak dunk with 13:58 left to play.
SPU tied the game on a free throw by Cory Hutsen. When Hutsen missed his second attempt, teammate Jobi Wall was there for the tip-in that put the Falcons ahead for good at 43-41 with 13:29 remaining.
That started SPU’s 27-13 game-closing surge during the final 13:31. Simon scored nine points during that span. He made 6 of 11 shots from the field, including 4-for-6 accuracy from 3-point range.
Wall added 17 points for the Falcons, who also got 13 points and five assists from David Downs.
The Falcons used long-range shooting to attack Pomona’s zone defense. They made a season-high 14 threes in 28 tries.
The second-seeded Broncos (28-3) lost for the first time in a playoff game contested in Bellingham. They won all nine previous postseason contests at WWU en route to a national finals appearance in 2009 and an NCAA championship run in 2010.
Anderson led Pomona with 12 points and Jordan Faison had 10.
The Falcons are participating in the NCAA tournament for the ninth consecutive season, the longest current streak among Division II men’s basketball teams. They won their first-round game for the 19th time in 24 all-time playoff appearances, defeating Grand Canyon 85-59 on Friday.