WECU Court at Carver Gymnasium in Bellingham. PHOTO: Doug Lange
WWU Men Back at Home & GNAC Play Tonight
January 3, 2019
The old saying is "There's no place like home".
The Western Washington University men's basketball team will be happily back in the friendly confines of Carver Gymnasium tonight as they open the 2019 portion of their schedule. WWU will play one of their top rivals in Seattle Pacific University as they jump back into Great Northwest Athletic Conference play.
It's the right place at the right time. The Vikings (7-5/1-1 GNAC) are looking to remain perfect at home and build upon a 3-and-0 mark on WECU Court. They are also trying to break a three-game losing streak after falling in some tough games at the Hoops in Hawaii D2 Power Invitational in Honolulu to wrap up 2018.
"We're in a good place. We have played some incredibly tough teams to start our season and 90% of them on the road. So it's been an uphill battle, but we for the most part, in most of the games, have had a chance to win them," said Viking head coach Tony Dominguez. "I think we're excited just to have another shot at it and play at home."
With 10 home games and 18 left to play overall, Western is locked into a 5-way log jam for 4th place in the conference. Included in that tie are the SPU Falcons (4-3/1-1 GNAC), a team that is light on games played after their early-season tournament at Chico State was cancelled due to the wild fires in Northern California.
"They're big and strong, smart...a really hard working team," said Dominguez. "It's a typical SPU team that's just tough and strong and will be methodical and it'll be a tough game."
The match-up will feature two of the top players in the conference. Western forward Trevor Jasinsky is 2nd in the GNAC in scoring (19.3 ppg) and 4th in rebounding (7.2 rpg). On the other side, Gavin Long (15.6 ppg & 3.1 rpg) leads an SPU squad shooting 49.5% from the field to rank 2nd in the conference.
As good as both teams are offensively, Coach Dominguez says his squad has been working on defensive coverages the last week and a half. Offensively the leader of the Vikings says they have been working on moving the basketball better.
The Vikings and Falcons have been the top rivalry in the GNAC for the past 15 years. SPU leads the series 84-55, but WWU has taken three of the last four. Western is 6-and-3 in the last 9 home games vs. the Falcons.
Western and Seattle Pacific tip-off at 7:00pm. The Vikings will follow-up Thursday's game with a home showdown against nationally ranked conference leader Saint Martin's on Saturday.
- Doug Lange
* Information from WWU Athletics used in this story