The Western Washington University Men’s Basketball team beat the Saint Martin’s Saints in Sam Carver Gymnasium with a final score of 75-68 during a Saturday night nail-biter. Despite the Saints maintaining a lead for over half the game, the Vikings managed to secure the victory in the last few minutes, breaking their four-game losing streak in the process.Throughout the first half the Vikings trailed behind the Saints, unable to match their opponent’s hot 3-point shooting. However, the Vikings kept it close by being automatic from the line with their free throws, combined with crucial putbacks by freshman guard Jalen Green and junior guard Leif Anderson. By halftime the Saints lead by a slim margin of 33-30.In the second half, the Vikings managed to tie the score three times and improved their field goal percentage from 31 percent to 50 percent, while raising their 3-point percentage from 15.38 percent to 38.46 percent. One of the key factors in keeping the game competitive was the Vikings’ large advantage on the backboards. The Vikings led the Saints in rebounds 48-26, which helped them build a double-digit second-chance point differential. Those points were vital to keeping the game close despite a rough shooting performance by the Vikings.Down the stretch it was junior forward Trevor Jasinsky who secured the final lead change with a 3-pointer off of a defensive rebound from Green. Jasinsky then went on to score two more 3-pointers with another scored by Green, all within 2:07.“We know we have a team full of shooters,” Jasinsky said. “We just told our guys just keep calm and keep on shooting.”
Junior forward Cameron Retherford echoed Jasinsky’s words. He also expressed hope this would be the start of a streak that pushes them towards winning the league.“We feel like [our rebounds] have been a strength,” head coach Tony Dominguez said. “We are a really good shooting team, but we haven’t done that in the last four or five games because we’ve just have been mentally pulling out of a slump. Honestly, [this win] should give them confidence.” This win puts the Vikings at 8-6 overall and 2-2 in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference for the season.The Vikings will be back on the court Thursday, Jan. 10 when they play Concordia at 7 p.m. at Carver.