By Tyler Urke
At the 10-minute mark of the first half against Simon Fraser University, senior forward Deandre Dickson took out his gold nose ring embedded in his left nostril.
But not because he was asked to by a referee.
“It’s a superstitious thing,” Dickson said. “Plus, I want to look cute at the start of the game.”
Dickson’s superstition has been going on since last season, and it worked Tuesday, Feb. 6, as the Western men’s basketball team (17-6, 12-3 GNAC) earned an 86-64 Great Northwest Athletic Conference victory over Simon Fraser (9-14, 3-12 GNAC) at Sam Carver Gymnasium. The Vikings were led by Dickson, who finished with 15 points, seven rebounds, five assists and five blocks.
This marks the second time this season Dickson has played well against Simon Fraser. In the first meeting on Jan. 9, Dickson went for 17 points and 13 rebounds in the Vikings’ 69-54 road win.
“They’re just a smaller team,” Dickson said. “We just try to take advantage of the height. Our point guard is 6’6 and their center is 6’8.”
The 6-foot-9 starter feasted on smaller defenders and used his height to control the paint. Most of his blocks came from the weak side where Dickson lurked, waiting for an opportunity to pounce.
“We kind of expect that from Deandre every night,” Western’s head coach Tony Dominguez said. “That’s why we felt like we could continue with our man-to-man [defense] because of his shot-blocking ability.”
Western led from start to finish Tuesday, with Dickson scoring the game’s first points on a jumper. Dickson said he hopes this is the start of another 10-game winning streak after the Vikings lost three of their last four games.
“We dropped three bad ones, and now we’re trying to get back on track,” Dickson said. “We’re pissed that we didn’t go 10-0 this half, but we’re going to do the best that we can to go 7-0 the rest of the regular season.”
Dominguez said his team was dialed in for 30 of the 40 minutes in Tuesday’s game, and they’ll continue to work on the other 10 minutes.
“I feel very, very good about where their minds are at,” Dominguez said. “I feel like they’re ready to make a run.”
A big reason for Western’s success this season has been the play of junior guard Trey Drechsel. Over the last seven games, Drechsel is leading the team in points per game (21.0), rebounds per game (7.7), assists per game (3.7) and steals per game (1.6).
“I’m just trying to be super active and not check out mentally, and I think when I’m locked in mentally that’s when I get more of those other stats,” Drechsel said.
Western currently sits second in the GNAC behind Western Oregon University (21-1, 13-1 GNAC) with five games left in the regular season. The Vikings’ next game is at home against Montana State University Billings, at 7 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 8.