BELLINGHAM, Wash. - Junior guard Trey Drechsel scored 21 points and grabbed 10 rebounds while senior forward Deandre Dickson totaled 20 points and 10 rebounds as the Western Washington University men's basketball team used a strong first-half run to pull ahead of No. 13 Western Oregon en route to an 85-58 victory Saturday on WECU Court in Carver Gym.
The Vikings improved to 5-2 overall and 2-0 in the GNAC with their third straight win. Western Oregon, previously unbeaten and ranked No. 13 nationally in the most recent National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) poll, dropped to 7-1 overall and 1-1 in conference play.
Drechsel (Woodinville, WA/Cedar Park Christian) and Dickson (Easton, CA/Washington Union/Bakersfield) were joined in double-figures scoring by sophomore forward Daulton Hommes (Lynden, WA/Lynden Christian), who finished with 14 points and 6 rebounds.
Coming off career-high totals of 32 points and 17 rebounds against Concordia on Thursday, Drechsel recorded his second straight double-double. Dickson reached double-figures scoring for the sixth time this season with his second double-double of the year while Hommes has reached double figures scoring in each game during the season.
After the Wolves had jumped to an 11-6 advantage early in the game, a 5-0 spurt from the Vikings tied the game at 11-11 on a layup from junior center Logan Schilder (Bellingham, WA) with 14:53 to play. The Vikings pulled ahead into a double-digit lead after a tie at 14-14, going on a 12-0 run to lead 26-14 with 9:27 left in the first half. WWU connected on six consecutive field goals as four players scoring during the spurt, which was punctuated by a dunk from Schilder with an assist from sophomore guard Trevor Jasinsky (Camas, WA).
WOU later cut the deficit to single digits at 26-17 with 7:25 to go but the Vikings answered by out-scoring the Wolves 20-9 over the next six minutes to lead 46-26 with 1:25 remaining before halftime. Dickson scored 14 of his 20 points in the opening half, including 8 points during the 20-9 run, as the Vikings shot 65.5% (19-for-29) from the field while holding WOU to 38.7% (12-for-31) in the first half.
Taking a 46-30 lead to halftime, the Vikings kept the advantage in double-digits throughout the remainder of the game. WWU came out of halftime with a 13-4 spurt, led by 5 straight points to open the half from Jasinsky, and took their largest lead of the contest to that point at 59-34 with 14:55 to play in the game. WOU reduced the deficit to 14 points on two occasions from that point forward but could come no closer.
Senior guard Brett Kingma (Mill Creek, WA/Jackson) scored 9 points on 3-for-3 shooting from long range, including a pair of 3-pointers during the 20-9 WWU run in the first half, while Schilder and junior guard Siaan Rojas (Concord, CA/Santa Rosa JC) each added 8 points. Dickson had a game-high 4 assists to tie his career-high total while Drechsel had a game-high 3 steals, also tying his career-high total.
The Vikings finished 34-for-57 (59.6%) from the field, just shy of their season-best 60.0% effort from the field against Capilano on Nov. 25. WWU connected on 8-of-13 (61.5%) 3-pointers for a season-high percentage from long range and went 9-for-11 (81.8%) at the free-throw line. WWU scored 50 of its points in the paint on Saturday while Kingma (3-of-3) and Drechsel (2-of-2) led WWU from 3-point range.
WOU was held to 38.6% (22-for-57) from the field, and made 4-of-23 (17.4%) of its 3-point attempts. The Wolves were 11-for-17 (58.8%) at the free throw line.
The Vikings held a 39-21 rebounding advantage, including 21-8 in the first half. Drechsel grabbed 3 offensive rebounds and Dickson had 2 offensive boards as the Vikings held a slight 9-8 edge in offensive rebounds.
Saturday's game was a rematch of the last season's GNAC Championships final, won 71-69 by the Vikings, and featured the last two GNAC regular season and GNAC Championships tournament champions with the Vikings winning both titles last season and the Wolves claiming the titles in 2015-16.
The Vikings return to the non-conference schedule on Dec. 12, hosting Cal State East Bay at 7 pm. The game can be streamed live online via WWUVikings.com/Live with Doug Lange calling the action courtside.
Following the game on Dec. 12 the Vikings travel to Hawai'i for the Hoops in Hawai'i Classic, facing Harding (Dec. 16) and Tampa (Dec. 17) at the Hawai'i Convention Center in Honolulu, Hawai'i. The GNAC schedule resumes for the Vikings at the end of the month with games at Seattle Pacific (Dec. 28) and at Saint Martin's (Dec. 30).
Game Notes: Vikings won their fourth straight game in the series against WOU...WWU is one of three GNAC teams at 2-0 through the first week of conference play...Saturday's 34-for-57 (59.6%) effort from the field for WWU was the second-highest field goal percentage of the season...WWU shot a season-best percentage (8-for-13, 61.5%) from 3-point range...highest percentage from 3-point range for the Vikings since WWU was 75.0% (6-for-8) from long range on 1/31/13 at Montana State Billings...largest deficit WOU had faced during the season was 8 points until Saturday's game...WWU played its seventh of eight consecutive games at home to begin the season.
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