3 Wins Earn WOU Red Lion Team of the Week
Julian Nichols scored 51 points and distributed 14 assists in three Western Oregon wins last week.
Julian Nichols scored 51 points and distributed 14 assists in three Western Oregon wins last week.

Monday, December 1, 2014

PORTLAND, Ore. - The Western Oregon men’s basketball team picked up three road wins last week as was chosen as the Red Lion Hotels Team of the Week.

The Wolves won all of their games by at least 10 points and only trailed in the opening minutes against CSU Monterey Bay in the three wins. WOU was led by GNAC Player of the Week Julian Nichols who averaged 17 points and 4.6 assists each game while Lewis Thomas recorded 31 rebounds to add to his conference high of 61.

“The main reason we’ve been able to win games is our defense right now,” head coach Brady Bergeson said. “We’re trying to keep everything simple. Credit to our guys for being tough minded and focused on the road, especially in the last four to six minutes.”

On Tuesday the Wolves faced Dixie State in St. George, Utah in front of 1,846 fans. In the biggest win of the week, Western Oregon made seven threes on its way to a 67-52 victory.  Last year, the Red Storm qualified for the NCAA West Regional tournament.

Redshirt junior Andy Avgi went 3-3 from behind the arch while Jordan Wiley and Marwan Sarhan made two each to combine for 45 of the teams 67 points.

Traveling from Utah to California, Western Oregon battled CSU Monterey Bay on Friday. Dominating the boards in the first half, the Wolves jumped out to a 16-point lead at the break before putting away the Otters 84-73.

Nichols was one of four WOU starters to reach double digits scoring and Thomas recorded his second double-double of the year in the 11-point victory.

In the first two games the Wolves scored 41 of their 151 points off of turnovers and added 58 more points from inside the key.

“We’re a ball pressure team,” Bergeson said. “We did a pretty good job of sustaining defensive pressure which consistently led to mistakes by our opponents. It’s a by-product of kids buying into the system. We have a solid foundation to work off of and have been consistent with that the last week or two.”

WOU played Academy of Art on Saturday. Starting the game on an 18-4 run, the Wolves managed to make nearly 50 percent of their shots and put down 29 of 33 free throws in the 83-73 win.

Nichols was nearly perfect from the charity stripe in his 26 point effort. Thomas and Marwan each had their second double-digit scoring night on the road trip as well, both adding 12 points.

During the Wolves four-game win streak, the team has won by an average of 11 points while making 24 threes and 85 percent of its free throws. Currently, the Wolves rank second in the conference in scoring defense allowing 66.4 points per game.

“We’re focusing on ourselves and refining what we’re doing," Bergeson said. "Working on being detailed and focused, especially on the defensive end. This week we kept the game plan simple and were successful.”

Western Oregon will host its first two conference games of the season this week, playing Alaska on Thursday and Alaska Anchorage Saturday.