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Vikings men’s basketball bounce back with back-to-back home wins

WWU hosts their final home game and senior night

Isaac Morrow converts a tough layup going past three defenders to extend the Vikings lead at Sam Carver Gym on Saturday, Feb. 24. Morrow continues to make his presence known against the Wildcats. // Photo courtesy of WWU Athletics

With only two games left in the regular season, Western Washington University men’s basketball hosted their final home game at WECU Sam Carver Gym on Saturday, Feb. 24 against the rival Central Washington University Wildcats.

Coming off a 74-64 victory against Northwest Nazarene University, the Vikings looked to wrap up their last home game with another win. 

In their first matchup of the season, Western suffered a loss against the Wildcats with a score of 75-97. 

Seniors Isaac Morrow, Darius Gary and Jonathan Ned were honored for their commitment to the game of basketball, recognizing their last home game as Vikings. 

During halftime, senior members of Western’s band and cheer team were also recognized. 

The Vikings struggled to contain Central’s fast breaks in the first half and went into the second half trailing 32-38. However, the team fought back, finishing the game with an 87-76 win. 

Junior guard Kai Johnson led the team with 25 points, contributing 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 blocks. Johnson is the top scorer for the Vikings this season along with being second in points on the season in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference

“It's fun playing Central, it's a rival game. Over there they kind of smacked us and they had a lot of energy,” Johnson said. “So it was fun to get them here, especially with the crowd and senior night.”

Western and Central fought in a back and forth first half. With Central narrowly staying ahead due to key contributions from Mitch Brizee, who finished with 18 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks. 

Ned was on a roll in the first half, shooting 5-12 from the field with 12 key points that allowed the Vikings to stay in the game. Ned was given a technical foul after a poster dunk where he chirped at Central’s bench. 

Heading into the second half down 6 points, Western looked to finish their last home game with a comeback. 

mens basketball senior night

The Vikings bench high five starting guard Tijan Saine while coming off the court at Sam Carver Gym on Saturday, Feb. 24. Saine takes a rest as his team gives him praise. // Photo courtesy of WWU Athletics

The Vikings and Wildcats fought a fierce game going shot-for-shot, but Western ultimately secured the victory thanks to key contributions from Isaac Morrow, Nic Welp and Louis Grante-Halliday. Grante-Halliday gave the Vikings their first lead of the half, 61-60, with 8:18 left on the clock. 

Morrow was all over the court and contributed to extending the Vikings lead with 6 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and a block. 

“It’s a great feeling being able to play in this game,” Morrow said. “Being able to compete as much as possible was so fun for me, I think the whole time I just had a smile on my face.”

The Vikings went on to win an important game, not only against their rivals, but an important game for the seniors who played their last home game for Western. 

“It was obviously a must win, but for senior nights I’ve been with these guys [Isaac, Ned and Darius] for a long time,” Johnson said. “I just love going to battle with them, and especially on senior night we got to make sure we get that dub.”

The Vikings final regular season game will be on Saturday, March 2 against Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia and will have huge playoff implications.

“We want to go get that game in Simon. Gives us a great opportunity,” head coach Tony Dominguez said. “We may or may not get in but I like our chances.”

Diego Corona

Diego Corona is a sports reporter for The Front this quarter. This is his first quarter at Western and he’s excited to get know the campus. He is a PR major. In Diego’s free time, he likes to watch soccer, play video games, and cook. You can reach him at

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