By Tyler Urke
Western pulled out all the stops for its televised matchup with Seattle Pacific University. But it couldn’t get the most important stop at the end of the game.
The Vikings (15-5, 10-2 GNAC) were outscored by two points in the first and second halves, which was just enough for Seattle Pacific (12-7, 7-5 GNAC) to escape with a 92-88 road win Saturday, Jan. 27. This marks the Vikings’ second straight Great Northwest Athletic Conference loss after starting league play 10-0.
The Vikings trailed 86-84 with 1:02 left and Seattle Pacific’s Nathan Streufert at the foul line. His shot missed, but the Falcons scooped up the offensive rebound and called timeout. On the next possession, Western fouled and again couldn’t grab the rebound off the missed free-throw.
“It’s why we lost the last two games,” senior guard Brad Wallace said, referring to poor rebounding. “We just have to play harder.”
The Vikings won the rebounding battle 37-30 and had four more offensive rebounds than the Falcons. Western lost the battle of the boards, and the game, to Saint Martin’s University on Thursday, Jan. 25.
There was no lack of effort from senior forward Deandre Dickson, as the big man tallied a team-high 25 points while collecting nine rebounds, three assists and three blocks in 33 minutes.
Two of his blocks came with seven minutes left in the game after Western cut the score to 69-66. The Sam Carver Gymnasium crowd of more than 1,500 chanted, “You got swatted!”
Dickson said he felt as though Western had the momentum during the sequence, but it couldn’t capitalize.
“Basketball is a game of runs, so we knew it was possible to make a comeback,” Dickson said. “We just didn’t execute down the stretch.”
Saturday’s game was televised on ROOT SPORTS Northwest, with Seattle Mariners’ pregame host Brad Adam and on-air talent Francis Williams bringing the play-by-play. This is the ninth consecutive season Western has appeared on a ROOT SPORTS broadcast. The Vikings are 9-5 in those games.
Saturday was also the Coaches vs. Cancer Blue Out, helping to support cancer awareness. Money raised from the event went to PeaceHealth St. Joseph Cancer Center in Bellingham.
Western’s next game will be televised on ESPN3 as the Vikings travel to play Central Washington University on Thursday, Feb. 1. The Vikings will also play at Northwest Nazarene University on Saturday, Feb. 3.