Viking men lose sole possession of first place with 94-82 loss at home
The Vikings ended their 10-game winning streak against Saint Martin’s University at home, losing in a tough battle to the end, 94-82.
“We didn’t come in with the right mindset, and we saw the results tonight,” junior guard Trey Drechsel said. “We weren’t fully engaged in the game and ready to play.”
The Vikings’ (15-4, 10-1 GNAC) next opponent is Seattle Pacific University (11-7, 6-5 GNAC). The game will be on Saturday at 3 p.m. at Sam Carver Gymnasium, and will be televised regionally by ROOT SPORTS Northwest.
“We are going to either play harder or let this affect our confidence,” Drechsel said. “Sometimes being on a 10-game winning streak, you need to get knocked down and get a little prideful. So, I think tonight was good for us actually.”
Drechsel led the Vikings with 22 points, four assists and five rebounds. Sophomore guard Daulton Hommes also contributed 13 points along with seven rebounds and two assists.
Both Drechsel and Hommes had multiple break-away plays, which helped keep up the Vikings momentum going into the second half. But it wasn’t enough for the men’s team to prevail in the end.
At halftime the Vikings trailed Saint Martin’s 49-35. The Saints (14-5, 7-4 GNAC) led for 15 minutes of the first half, opposed to Western leading for only two minutes of the first half.
The Vikings also struggled with rebounding against the Saints throughout the entire game. The Saints were able to pull in 12 offensive rebounds compared to the Vikings’ five offensive boards.
Western is ranked No. 2 in the NCAA Division II rebound margin, but still came up short compared to the Saints’ aggressive offensive and defensive rebounding. The Saints grabbed 36 rebounds total, compared to the Vikings’ 24 rebounds.
Both teams showed strong offensive movement, which led the Vikings to a 52.5 field goal percentage. However, the Saints won the field goal percentage battle at 55.4 percent from the field, contributing to the Viking’s loss.
Western coach Tony Dominguez said he was disappointed with the team’s loss tonight, but he is hopeful it will add to the Vikings’ momentum for Saturday night’s game.
“We are hungry now,” Dominguez said. “A tough loss like this keeps us motivated.”
The Vikings plan to continue to practice and work hard in preparation for Saturday night’s big game.
“We are going to do what we always do,” Dominguez said. “Exploit other team’s weaknesses and maximize our strengths. That is how we are going to win on Saturday.”
It was tough to lose on their home court after being on the road for four consecutive games, but that gives the Vikings all the more reason to bring their ‘A game’ against SPU, Drechsel said.
After breaking their 10-game winning streak, Dominguez said Western looks forward to a competitive match-up against SPU.