Western men’s basketball rebounded from a tough loss against Hawai’i Hilo, using a second half offensive outburst to beat Douglas College 108-81 Wednesday night at Sam Carver Gym.
The Vikings now stand at 3-1 overall on the season.
Western was led by forwards Deandre Dickson and Daulton Hommes, who combined for 46 points on the night. Center Logan Schilder helped the Vikings crash the boards, finishing with 15 points and 13 rebounds for a double-double.
Following a game where Vikings Head Coach Tony Dominguez said the team underestimated their opponent, Dominguez said the players were itching to bounce back.
“Tonight our guys wanted to play with fire,” Dominguez said. “And prove to themselves that they’re dominant.”
Getting back on their feet wasn’t as easy as it seemed for the Vikings at first, however.
Western had to overcome a close first half against the Royals to get it done. After building up a 25-9 lead, Douglas put the pressure back on the Vikings, fighting back to cut the score to 52-46 heading into the second half.
“We just had to play with more intensity,” Dickson said. “We were playing a little lackadaisical in the first half. We just knew if we came out with that intensity, our size would just be imposing.”
In the second half, Western dominated Douglas on each end of the floor, quickly opening up an early double-digit lead that led to the Vikings outscoring the Royals 52-46 in the second half, ultimately closing out the game.
Not only was the Vikings’ offense in top shape, but the team was putting points on the board the hard way, using their height to their advantage and finishing the game with 70 points in the paint to the Royals’ 28.
Western was also able to maintain the glass, resulting in 21 second chance points for the team.
Schilder, who stands at seven feet tall, said the Vikings at halftime made the decision to start playing their brand of basketball.
“It was more mental than anything else,” Schilder said. “We were thinking about our shot more than we should have [in the first half], we should have just let it fly [and] looked down low, because we have a lot of big fellas.”
In the second half, the Vikings’ tough play in the paint and on the glass with stout defense caught the attention of their head coach.
“I loved how we came out in the second half and just [improved] on defense, [how] we executed on offense to start the half,” Dominguez said. “I felt like it was a really good step forward.”
Even with the win, Dominguez said the challenge Douglas brought against the Vikings will help his team grow.
“Teams that play us every game, we’re their rival,” Dominguez said. “This group needs to learn that they’re the target.”
Vikings forward Daulton Hommes said one of the challenges going forward will be maintaining big leads once the team gets them, something the Vikings failed to do in the first half but did well in the second.
“When we get a lead early like that we’ve got to be able to capitalize,” Hommes said.
However, Schilder said the Vikings will use this win early in the season to their advantage going forward.
“It’s huge,” Schilder said. “To have a game like that where we can get all of our bench players in and get everybody vibing, [with] everybody on the bench having a good time, it just brings us all back together.”
The Vikings will try to keep the momentum going at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 24 against UC San Diego in the Chuck Randall Classic at Sam Carver Gym.