The difference between being No. 1 in the NWAACC West Division of men’s basketball and No. 2 is 10 hours.
In the case of second-ranked Clark College and third-ranked Tacoma, the difference is three points.
A preferred start time for the NWAACC Tournament goes to the No. 1 seed and Clark (23-2, 13-1 West) took a step toward that spot with an 81-78 win at Tacoma (20-5, 12-2) on Saturday.
The Penguins’ victory avenges a 74-71 home loss to Tacoma on Feb. 6 and breaks the tie at the top of the West Division with two games to play.
Four Clark players were in double figures Saturday.
Derek Owens had a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds, Dominique Giles had 16 points, Austin Bragg 15 and Blake Bowen 14.
Tacoma’s Mark McLaughlin led all scorers with 37 points on 11 of 21 shooting and 12 for 12 from the free-throw line.
Clark plays at Centralia on Wednesday and finishes the regular season at home against Grays Harbor next Saturday.
The No. 1 seed from the West Division begins play in the NWAACC Tournament at 6 p.m. March 3 in Kennewick. The No. 2 seed opens at 8 a.m.
WOMEN: Tacoma 69, Clark 68 — After 15 wins in a row, the Penguins now have a two-game losing streak.
Deborah Simmers had 17 points and 12 rebounds, and Macy Mukensnabl had 13 points and 12 rebounds for Clark (19-5, 12-2).
Chelsea Dyson added 14 points, and Clara Russell had 10 in the loss.