Tonight, the Western Vikings Men’s Basketball team (26-5) took on the Chico State Wildcats (25-7). The fist thing I noticed when I was watching the teams warm up was Chico State is a huge team; they had a lot of big players on their team. But I wasn’t afraid for Vikings don’t fear any team. An almost full stand got the energy flowing at the game early on. *Side note… Why is it that the second game of the tournament always has a smaller turnout and the fans are less rambunctious? I just don’t understand it.
Early in the first half, Western took an early lead, but that quickly faded. Chris Mitchell was called for a couple fouls within the first three minutes, so logically Coach Jackson took him out for the rest of the first half. The game stayed in close contest with some leads being passed back and forth. With something to the effect of 20 seconds left Western was up 28 to 26, but Chico State scored a 3-pointer with just a couple seconds left leaving the half-time score of 29 to 28, Chico State.
I’m going to interject an opinion here. The referees were some of the worst I’ve seen. There were so many bogus calls called on the Vikings. I know I am biased to an extent, but there were so many lousy fouls calls especially down in the box going up for the layup.
The second half Western started off a little slow and was down 35 to 30, but things quickly changed. Western started making their shots and putting up a strong defense. Between Zach Henifin and Dan Young, Western came up with 5 swats to get the crowd really cheering. Rory Blanche and Henifin took off and scored 25 combined points in the second half. With 6:30 left in the game, Western had actually risen to a lead of 10 points of 61 to 51. The lead got cut down to 6 at one point, but the game was relatively over. Once Chico State entered foul mode it was all over. They made a couple of three-pointers, keeping the fans on their toes, but everyone knew that it was all over for Chico.
WWU was 50% from the field, 23% percent at 3-pointers, and 59% from the line. The Vikings also outscored the Wildcats by 10 points in the second half. Monday WWU (1st seed) takes on SPU (3rd seed) at 7:00 PM in Sam Carver Gymnasium. Somebody better bring somthing to deal with the squawking pigeon that comes along with SPU.