Junior forward Trevor Jasinsky was perfect from the free throw line on the night, going 4-4, but as a team the Vikings struggled, making only 66.7 percent of their free throw attempts. // Photo by Alex Barnes
By Alex Barnes
Men’s basketball suffered a tough 79-70 loss at the hands of the Concordia University Cavaliers at the Vikings’ Saturday, March 2 Senior Night game at Sam Carver Gymnasium.
The loss means that the team finishes the season with an overall record of 15-15 and a conference record of 9-11, narrowly missing out on the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Men’s Championships.
After the game head coach Tony Dominguez acknowledged the disappointment of the loss, but his message to his team was to put things into perspective.
“I just think in life you have disappointments and they are hard, we’ve all experienced them,” Dominguez said. “It’s hard when things don’t go your way … but it’s a basketball game and we need to keep perspective on that.
For Senior Night, the Vikings honored the team’s lone senior, guard Tyler Payne, by bringing him and his family on to the court to take pictures with the team before the contest began.
“[Playing for this organization has] meant the world. The coaches … They changed my life. This is bittersweet,” Payne said as he held back tears.
Junior guard Micah Winn, Payne’s close friend who also played with him at Cerritos College, was sad that the team couldn’t pull off the win, but believes that this is far from the end of the road for the senior.
“We’ve been through hell and back, that’s my guy forever. He’s a great character, a great person, has a great work ethic and he’s loyal,” Winn said of Payne. “We’ll go back to Los Angeles this summer and get back in the gym together. I know his career isn’t over … he’s going to play professionally somewhere, and I look forward to it.”
A tightly-contested first half saw the lead change 12 times as both teams traded shots to keep the score close. At the break the Vikings trailed the Cavaliers by a score of 38-32.
The Cavaliers started the second half by going on a quick 7-2 run, extending their lead to 11 points over the Vikings with 18:10 remaining in the game. However, the Vikings were able to claw the Cavaliers’ lead back to just one point with 4:40 remaining in the game.
A large part of that comeback run was the hot-shooting of Winn, who caught fire in the second half scoring 14 points off of the bench to lead the Vikings.
“It’s super difficult [to come off the bench]. The first 10 games of the season I’m starting and putting up numbers, and then to come off the bench … it was an adjustment for me,” Winn said. “It’s hard but I just come in and [need to] be ready. Whatever my teammates need … I can help, I just try to come in and give my all.”
Ultimately, the Vikings couldn’t overcome a night of poor shooting. They hit 38.2 percent of their shots from the field, and just 28.6 percent of their attempts from 3-point range compared to the Cavaliers’ 45.0 percent shooting from deep.
Despite the team’s loss and subsequent elimination from playoff contention, the GNAC playoffs will be hosted by Western from March 7 to March 9 at Sam Carver Gymnasium. All games are yet to be announced.
This game brief was updated with more information on Thursday, March 7. For more coverage on Western athletics follow @WFSportsLive on Twitter.