Vikings secure opening win with late push

Western’s forward Luke Lovelady (21) slams down a dunk in the opening minutes of the first half. Western won 92-88 in their game against California State University Dominguez Hills on Friday, Nov. 8. // Photo by Grady Haskell

By Jordan Shepherd

The Western men’s basketball team opened up the season with an exciting 92-88 victory over California State Dominguez Hills on Friday, Nov. 8 in Sam Carver Gymnasium. 

The Vikings hosted this year’s GNAC/CCAA Conference Challenge Tournament, finishing the game 33-of-63 (52.4%) from the field and 13-of-28 (46.4%) from the three-point range. They had 16 assists, 13 turnovers, five blocked shots and four steals.

Western led the game by as many as 17 points in the second half, but had some late trouble when Dominguez Hills rallied to come within two points of the Vikings in the final minutes of play. 

Clutch free throws from senior forward Trevor Jasinsky and sophomore guard Jalen Green helped to secure the win for the Vikings as Dominguez Hills went on a late fouling attempt. 

“We started off hot for sure and got a little too comfortable, and they started making shots and never gave up,” senior center Logan Schilder said. “They are a really good team and are going to do a lot of good things this year, but we got a good win, and we could have finished a little stronger.”

The victory came from an excellent team effort. Redshirt freshman guard D’Angelo Minnis, Jasinsky, Green and Schilder all finished the game with double digits.

Green finished with 20 points and eight rebounds, while Jasinsky and Schilder both finished with 17 points, including Schilder’s three for five finish from the three-point range.  

The team was led by Minnis, who finished with a game high of 22 points on 9-15 shooting and shot 7-8 (87.5%) from the field in the first half of play in his official collegiate debut. 

“D’Angelo was fantastic, it was fun to watch him play,” head coach Tony Dominguez said in the post-game interview on VikingsTV. “He played with a lot of fire. I felt like he was a catalyst tonight, and it was a good start for him.”

The Vikings return with 11 players and five starters from last year’s team, who finished 15-15 overall and 9-11 in GNAC play. The team was picked as the favorite in the GNAC Conference preseason coaches’ poll, and is ranked No. 6 in the D2SIDA West Region preseason media poll.

Tony Dominguez is going into his eighth year as head coach of the men’s basketball team with an overall record of 148-68 (0.685), where he helped the program finish 0.500 or above in each of his previous seven seasons. 

The tournament started with University of California San Diego defeating Simon Fraser University 95-70 in Carver Gym Friday afternoon. The Vikings ended the tournament with a record of 1-1 after falling to University of California San Diego Saturday night by a score of 69-76. They are now 1-2 overall. 

“I thought we played great for the first game and we moved the ball well,” senior forward/center Cameron Retherford said. “Our offense obviously has scorers, and we are going to score, but we did give up too many offensive rebounds, and that killed us. But other than that I think we can shut people down coming down the stretch.”

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