The task of playing two days after losing a double overtime thriller to the University of Alaska-Anchorage seemed to take a toll on the Vikings, as they fell to the University of Alaska-Fairbanks Nanooks 78-64 on Saturday, Feb. 6.
Western shot just 36 percent from the field, a season worst, and 32 percent from three-point range.
“It was very lopsided, we just didn’t have any type of momentum or continuity in our game,” Jeffrey Parker said.
Nine players recorded a bucket, with guard Ricardo Maxwell being the only one in double figures with 16 points. The loss drops the team to 14-9 overall and 8-6 in Great Northwest Athletic Conference play after coming into the games against the Alaska schools on a four game winning streak. Western also moves down to sixth in the conference after the pair of losses.
After lighting up Western for 35 points in a January overtime loss to the Vikings, Nanook forward Travante Williams again provided pains for the Viking defense– scoring 29 points to lead all scorers.
Williams and the Nanooks were in the driver’s seat for most of the game, including a massive 23-point lead with just over seven minutes to go in the second half. The Nanooks more than doubled Western’s production in the paint– 48 points for Alaska-Fairbanks and just 20 for Western.
Western will take advantage of some rest time before traveling to Oregon to take on Western Oregon University, followed by Concordia University.
The Feb. 11 game against Western Oregon will be a test, as the team hasn’t lost since New Year’s Eve and sit at the top of the conference with a 20-2 overall record (13-1 in conference).
“In our league, you never know what’s to come. But if we play hard and believe in each other, we’ll win no problem,” Maxwell said.
Three of the remaining six conference games are against teams ahead of Western in the standings, leaving plenty of potential for a move up the standings before the conference tournament.
“Hopefully when we come into practice, the mood has changed and we’re ready to move forward, because you can’t get games back,” Maxwell said.