By Hailey Palmer
In a back-and-forth matchup with 13 lead changes, the No. 23 Western men’s basketball team found a way to end its two-game losing streak.
The Vikings defeated Western Oregon University 73-63 Thursday, Feb. 9, at the Whatcom Pavilion.
Western played out of sync for most of the first half, shooting under 50 percent from the field, but held a 31-30 lead going into halftime.
“I can’t tell you what coach said in the huddle, but it woke us up.”
Western men’s head coach Tony Dominguez said back-to-back losses on the road contributed to the slow start.
“We lost a few games in a row and we haven’t done a lot of that this year,” Dominguez said. “There was a lot of anxiety.”
Western continued to struggle at the beginning of the second half as Western Oregon jumped out to an 8-point lead only three minutes into the half.
Senior guard Taylor Stafford said that was the turning point for the team.
“I can’t tell you what coach said in the huddle, but it woke us up,” Stafford said.
Junior guard Brett Kingma’s 5-point sequence off the bench later in the half provided the team the surge it needed to pull away.
“Brett was a huge spark,” Dominguez said. “He came in and did a phenomenal job.”
Western was led offensively by Stafford who scored a game-high of 26 points.
“We knew coming into this game we had to get a win.” Stafford said.
The Vikings are second in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, moving to 12-3 in conference play and 18-5 overall.
The Vikings face Concordia University in their next game Saturday, Feb. 11, at the Whatcom Pavilion.