Strong defensive performance gives Vikings another victory
By Zach Slagle
Western held the highest scoring conference team, #10 Western Oregon University, to 58 points advancing to 2-0 in conference play.
In a rematch of last year’s Great Northwest Athletic Conference championship, Western Oregon entered Carver Gym Saturday, Dec. 2 undefeated (7-0). The Vikings’ players didn’t need any further motivation ahead of their 85-58 win.
“There were a couple things motivating us tonight,” Forward Deandre Dickson said. “We didn’t want to give them 8-0, especially in here.”
Western Oregon averaged 92 points per game coming into Saturday.
A game removed from posting 32 points and 17 rebounds, Western’s junior guard Trey Drechsel recorded back-to-back double-doubles with 21 points with 10 rebounds against the Wolves. Head coach Tony Dominguez said he is proud of the way his guard has bounced back from an injury before the season.
“He’s able to control his emotions while controlling the game and his teammates,” coach Dominguez said. “He’s playing within himself and he’s playing hard. When he does all those things, he’s very effective and I’m proud of him.”
Drechsel blames his rebounding totals on his teammate’s effort and size down low.
“I could take credit for this, but really it’s our bigs, they box out so well. It’s easy to get rebounds when you have 7-footer boxing out, 6’10 and 6’9 with bounce boxing out, so I just come in and get the easy ones. I want it more than the other team.”
The Vikings rallied in the first half after an early 11-6 Wolves’ lead and went into halftime up 46-30. Senior guard Brad Wallace provided energy and defense off the bench helping Western turn the tide of the game.
“I can’t even tell you how amazing it is to have him on the team,” Dickson said. “Just throw him in the game, tell him to slow someone down and he does it. He’s one of those guys where his impact isn’t shown in the stats, but he has an impact.”
The Vikings’ bench provided a great spark throughout the game. Senior Brett Kingma supplied nine points and two rebounds. Junior transfer Siaan Rojas provided eight points along with three rebounds and two assists.
“As a bench unit, we know it’s our job to come in and play hard no matter what happens,” Kingma said. “Everyone knows if we continue to play hard, we’re going to be tough to beat.”
Opening the second half with a lead isn’t uncommon for the Vikings who are 5-1 after leading by half. Western Oregon cut the deficit to 12 until the Vikings regained control and held on to win by 27.
Western controlled the paint on both ends of the court with a rebound margin of +18. The team finished with 50 points in the paint and 18 second chance points versus the Wolves’ four second chance points.