By Eric Trent
The Vikings remain the lone unbeaten team in conference play, riding a seven game win streak to their seventh straight victory.
A monster rebounding effort and team defense fueled Western men’s basketball to a 69-54 Great Northwest Athletic Conference win over Simon Fraser on Tuesday night, in Burnaby, British Columbia.
Western dominated the post all night, nearly doubling Simon Fraser (8-7, 2-5 GNAC) in rebounds, pulling in 50 boards to the Clan’s 29.
Four Western players posted double-digit scoring on a night where the Vikings utilized their passing skills to evenly distribute the ball.
Senior forward Deandre Dickson was the Vikings leading scorer on the night, notching a double-double, knocking down 17 points and hauling in 13 rebounds.
Senior Trevor Jasinsky pumped in 13 points; sophomore Daulton Hommes added 11 points; junior Siaan Rojas contributed 10 points and eight rebounds; and junior Trey Drechsel pulled down 13 rebounds and dished out six assists.
Dickson said ball movement has played a crucial role in the win streak, especially in last night’s game.
“When you have as many guys as we have who can score, it’s really important we move the ball so the defense can’t key-in on one guy,” Dickson said. “We’ve got guys who can shoot the lights out.”
The Vikings took a 36-32 lead going into the break, then broke open the game in the second half, outscoring the Clan 33-22 to secure the victory.
Western coach Tony Dominguez credited an effective team defensive effort in stopping any comeback attempts by Simon Fraser in the second half.
The Clan’s star player Kedar Salam, who was recently selected as the GNAC Player of the Week after scoring 33.5 points per game last week, was held to only 26 points on the night.
But Dominguez said the victory wasn’t so much about stopping Salam, it was about thwarting his teammates.
“Tonight, we didn’t want to shut [Salam] down, as much as we wanted to shut the other guys down,” Dominguez said. “One guy, in theory, isn’t going to beat you. We wanted to focus on team defense, not just stopping one player.”
Dickson said the team is starting to gel – not only on the defensive end, but overall – and players are starting to learn their roles.
“We’re getting used to each other,” Dickson said. “We’re moving the ball. We’re playing a lot more like a team.”
The Vikings head next to Billings, Montana on Jan. 13 to take on Montana State University Billings (10-7, 2-4 GNAC) before heading to Alaska for a pair of games against the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the University of Alaska Anchorage on Jan. 18 and 20.