Coming back from a 17-point deficit in the second half and fighting all the way to double-overtime, the Vikings lost in a thriller against the Seawolves of University of Alaska Anchorage by just three points on Thursday, Feb. 4.
Senior guard Kyle Impero had a career-high 37 points and almost stole the show with 33 of his points coming in the final 15 minutes of the game. Hitting clutch shot after clutch shot, Impero never gave up even with the odds against his team late in the game.
“It was good to get back into the game and get into a rhythm, but obviously it sucks we lost after fighting that hard to come back,” Impero said. “Definitely thought we were going to win that one.”
After a contested first half where they only trailed by five, the Vikings found themselves in a 17-point hole with just over five minutes left to go in regulation. They responded with a 36-19 point run in the final minutes of the game, holding the Seawolves to just nine of 26 from the combined field total in the second half.
“[Our guys] had heart and desire,” Head Coach Tony Dominguez said. “They were disappointed in how they were playing there for a stretch of game, and they just wanted it.”
Even though the Vikings were outrebounded by a significant margin, 46-37, they made up for their lack of second chance points by going 15 of 35 from three.
Near the end of the game, the Seawolves’ Sekou Wiggs, the Great Northwest Athletic Conference’s leading scorer, missed back-to-back free throws, giving the Vikings a chance to tie with 11.4 seconds left in the game. Impero capitalized on the 3.3 seconds he had left by drawing a foul while shooting a mid-court contested shot, which gave him three free throws. He made them all and the game headed to overtime.
“I love our grit and how we fought back,” Harris Javier said. “We ran more plays at the end that really got our scorers the ball and we got stops at the end with our team defense, which we’ve been working on in practice.”
Men’s Basketball’s next game is home game on Feb. 6 against the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, another top team in the GNAC conference and the team looks to build on this heartbreaking loss.
“It’s all character. It’s like being down 17, we just need to prepare and get ready for the next game,” Dominguez said. “I think we’ll do well.”