Making six free throws in the final 30 seconds, junior point guard Jeremiah Dominguez led the Vikings to their eighth straight victory Saturday, holding off Weber State 76-73. But, in a game that saw 20 lead changes and the game-tying shot clank off the rim at the buzzer, Dominguez singled out point guard Brian Curtis as the difference maker.
Curtis keeps things loose
Making six free throws in the final 30 seconds, junior point guard Jeremiah Dominguez led the Vikings to their eighth straight victory Saturday, holding off Weber State 76-73.
But, in a game that saw 20 lead changes and the game-tying shot clank off the rim at the buzzer, Dominguez singled out point guard Brian Curtis as the difference maker.
“When Brian Curtis came in he hit some big threes for us and gave us some momentum to go on the last few minutes,” Dominguez said.
The 6-foot-1 senior from Wichita, Kan., entered the game in the midst of a 17-3 Weber State run, draining two huge three-point shots, the second of which erased a Weber State lead and tied the game at 53-53 with less than 10 minutes left.
For Curtis, who only appeared in four games last season, the 12 minutes he played Saturday were the biggest of his Viking career thus far.
“That game stands out,” Curtis said. “I hit some shots, but it was a big game and I thought I played good defensively.”
As the Vikings make a run for the Big Sky championship and a possible berth in the NCAA tournament, defense may become Curtis’ calling card.
“Jeremiah is a great basketball player, but there are times when Brian has a better presence defensively,” said head coach Ken Bone. “He’s just a little longer and he can affect shots a little bit better.”
Although it has been difficult for Curtis to get consistent minutes in a Viking uniform, Bone and his staff have been impressed with the point guard’s approach and ability to always be ready.
“It’s hard to some nights play and some nights not play,” Bone said. “Some nights it’s a minute, some nights seven or eight minutes, but every time he goes in it seems like he’s ready to go, and that’s huge for us to know as a staff, to build that trust.”
Curtis has built that trust with his teammates as well. During pre-game introductions Cutis stands alone on the floor, waiting to greet each of the starters as they are announced. They execute individually rehearsed handshakes and chest bumps before coming together in a circle as a team. This is where Curtis takes center stage.
“I’m the hype man,” Curtis said. “I give the speech from the movie Troy and make it over a bit to fit us for each game.”
Senior forward Deonte Huff said Curtis’ role in getting the team ready is part of the overall success of the team and the willingness of everyone to accept and fill their roles.
“He’s a character,” Huff said. “That’s part of everyone having their role. Brian gets us ready. He’s funny and gets us in a good mind set before we go.”
Curtis, who won a state championship playing alongside fellow Viking senior guard Dupree Lucas during his high school days at Wichita Southeast High School, is also known as a bit of a joker around the Stott Center.
“Brian’s a good kid, off the court he’s a clown, and I say that in a good way,” Bone said. “He has a lot of fun and keeps the guys loose–sometimes not the time I want him to keep them loose–but he has the tendency to keep them loose. And when he steps on the court he can do some things.”
Through his hard work and positive attitude, Curtis has earned the respect and admiration of his teammates and coaches. And he does not mind giving a bit of his own praise either, even for the man that sitting in front of him on the depth chart.
“(Dominguez is) the best player I’ve ever played with,” Curtis said. “I think he’s one of the top three-point guards in the nation.”