By Jordan Stone
What a way to end a losing streak.
It looked like the Vikings were headed for their fourth straight defeat. But behind the dominating play of 7-foot senior center Logan Schilder, the Vikings’ men’s basketball team rallied in the second half to tie and then sealed the game in overtime for a 85-81 win over the University of Alaska Anchorage.
The Vikings managed to fight their way back into the game after trailing by as many as 12 points in the second half.
They kept chipping away down the stretch, taking their first lead since the first quarter at 62-60 with just over five minutes left after a D’Angelo Minnis layup and a pair of Siaan Rojas free throws.
The two teams went back and forth in the final five minutes of regulation before Jalen Green split a pair of trips to the free-throw line to tie the game at 71. Anchorage had a golden opportunity to win the game when senior guard Tyrus Hosley drove, spun and put up a jumper that, for a moment, looked destined to find the bottom of the net.
The shot clanked off the back iron to send the game into overtime.
The Vikings came out hot in the five-minute overtime period, with a pair of threes by Minnis and Rojas. Minnis’ 22 points led the Vikings Saturday, Feb. 8.
“Siaan got me wide open on that three-pointer,” Minnis said. “My teammate put me in a great position, so I had to make the three for the team.”
With Western leading 81-78, Anchorage had a couple chances to tie the game late. Hosley was fouled on a three-point attempt with 10 seconds to go but missed his first free throw before converting the last two. Minnis was fouled after the ensuing inbounds and restored the Vikings lead to three.
On the next possession, Rojas shrewdly fouled before Anchorage could get a three-pointer off, sending Anchorage to the line to shoot two free throws and sealing the win for the Vikings that snapped their three-game losing skid.
The Vikings planned the game-sealing foul, according to head coach Tony Dominguez.
“It has become a theme around the country that when you are up by three with under 10 seconds, you foul,” he said.
Overall, he was pleased with the performance of his team Saturday.
“We have been trying to go down low,” he said. “We have a good shooting team but we haven’t shot well. We went away from that in the first half because guys continue to want to prove that they can shoot. In the second half we did a good job of attacking the interior.”
Center Schilder was the main tool for controlling the interior. The senior had a double-double Saturday, ending the game with a monster stat line of 17 points, 15 rebounds, four assists and eight blocks.
“Best game as a Viking,” Dominguez said. “I thought he did a really good job of being mentally attentive.”
Schilder fouled out in overtime on a questionable call on a block attempt that would have tied the Western school record for blocks in a game.
“It’s frustrating now that I know,” Schilder said when he found out he was one block shy of the school record.
In a thrilling night of basketball at Sam Carver Gymnasium, Cameron Retherford might have had the highlight of the night, and possibly the season, with an emphatic put-back dunk off of a Leif Anderson missed 3-point attempt.
Minnis was thoroughly impressed postgame calling it, “by far,” the best dunk of the season.
“We see a little bit more of those in practice, too,” Minnis said. “It was just a little glimpse for you guys.”