By Tyler Urke
A steady stream of floating basketballs were jammed through the hoop by 7-foot junior center Logan Schilder Saturday night.
“He never has to jump that high,” junior guard Trey Drechsel said. “When he’s checked in, he’s a force.”
The Vikings (15-3, 10-0) earned their 10th consecutive victory, edging the host University of Alaska Anchorage Seawolves 70-61. Western finished the first half of Great Northwest Athletic Conference play with an unbeaten record and are ranked 21st nationally in Division II hoops.
Schilder and Dreschel each had a team-high 15 points as the Vikings shot 45 percent from the field. Dreschel finished with a double-double as the 6-foot-6 point guard notched 10 rebounds. Schilder pulled in nine boards.
“It was a physical game and I just tried to match their physicality,” Drechsel said. “The best way for a big guard like me to do that is by rebounding, so I took it upon myself to grab some rebounds.”
Western won the rebounding battle 42 to 30, as well as the field goal percentage battle 45 percent to 32 percent. At one point in the first half, the Seawolves were shooting a paltry 21 percent from the field.
The Vikings earned a 86-74 win over Alaska Fairbanks on Thursday. Western coach Tony Dominguez said he was proud of his team for winning both against both Alaskan teams.
“We were very excited to get a tough, grind-it-out game against a very tough team,” Dominguez said. “The league is extremely tough this year and we need to be prepared mentally going into round two.”
A big factor in Western’s win Saturday was its 14-2 run to end the first half. UAA went ice cold and bricked its final 15 shots of the half.
In the second half, the Seawolves came storming back and cut Western’s lead to 40-37 with 11:30 left.
Once again however, Schilder used his size to convert on a dunk where he claimed inside position on a lob from Daulton Hommes. Hommes had a thunderous dunk of his own in the second half that quieted a run by the Seawolves.
Drechsel said Schilder hasn’t been able to showcase his talents as much recently due to opposing teams going small against the Vikings.
“Sometimes other teams only play one big and he’ll have to come out,” Drechsel said. “Tonight, they played a slow big and he was able to stay in there and dominate.”
Western returns from a four-game road trip to host Saint Martin’s Thursday at 7 p.m. and Seattle Pacific Saturday at 3 p.m.