VICTORIA – The No. 8 nationally ranked University of Victoria men’s basketball team hosts the Thompson Rivers WolfPack in a two-game weekend series – Friday Nov. 18 at 8 p.m. and Saturday Nov. 19 at 7 p.m. at Ken and Kathy Shields Court at McKinnon Gymnasium in their final two regular season home games of the 2011 portion of the 2011-12 season.
Coming off a 15-9 showing in 2010-11, the Vikes opened the 2011-12 season on a 4-0 tear. In the off-season, UVic bolstered their roster with a strong blend of transfers and outstanding recruits. Thus far in 2011-12, Ryan MacKinnon of Comox, B.C., leads the Vikes, averaging 23.3 points per game. He’s drained a nation’s best 19 three-pointers, with a conference leading 57.6 percent average from downtown for players making four or more treys. Senior guard Zac Andrus of Vashon Island, Wa., is averaging 13.8 points per game and over six rebounds and six assists per contest.
To tame the WolfPack, the Vikes will need to contain Thompson Rivers’ explosive and disciplined Princeton-style offence while finding mismatches to exploit on their opponent’s smaller but talented defence. Scoring 85 points or more in each of their four games this season, the Vikes have shown they are quite capable of putting points on the board. The test this weekend will be how much their defence can stretch against a potent Thompson Rivers offence.
Thompson Rivers will present some match-up challenges for Vikes head coach Craig Beaucamp and his troops. A guard-heavy offence, they versatile WolfPack have three dangerous players to watch. Simon Fraser transfer Chas Kok of Lynden, Wa., is averaging 26 points per game, and he is coming off 45-point game at Lethbridge on Nov. 12. Teammates Justin King of Las Vegas (21 PPG, 11.3 RPG) and Kevin Pribilsky, an Oak Bay grad of Victoria (16.3 PPG) and brother of Vikes guard Reese, are also both scoring threats.
“They’ve got some good players and players who present some difficult match-ups for us,” said Beaucamp. “Some guys we need to be a aware of are Kevin Pribilisky at point guard and Chas Kok plays the 5 position as a forward, but really he could play the 2 as well. They play small with guards playing forward and post positions.”
“Our plans are to slow them down and limit their scoring,” Beaucamp said. “On the offensive side of the ball I think we’ll be alright. But no question, we’ve got our hands full. They beat Fraser Valley and Calgary in Calgary and just beat a Lethbridge team that’s improved.”
UVic will host the Rockstar Energy Drinks and Strathcona Hotel Days of Thunder: Rockstar Edition night on Friday. Rockstar will be on hand with free drinks and CFUV, with Club9one9’s DJ Marshall, will be on hand laying down the beats. Fans are asked to wear blue and gold outfits to support the Vikes. Game Day Promotions include a giveaway of $500 of tuition.
Thunder the Mascot will be hosting a Rockstar photo booth, so fans can show off with awesome outfits or incredible Movember ‘staches. As part of the Canadian Cancer Society Men’s and Women’s Health Campaigns the Canadian Cancer Society is excited to be joining forces with the Vikes to encourage men and women to make time to get a game plan to defend against some of the most common cancers. Visit the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) booth at Days of Thunder for more information, or to purchase your 50/50 tickets (all proceeds supporting CCS).
All in all, Days of Thunder is a banner event for Vikes fans on and off campus and is expected to draw a capacity crowd.
“A loud, big crowd can be helpful for us as far as motivating the guys and helping them to play through fatigue,” Beaucamp said. “As our sixth man, the crowd can push us.”
The Vikes will close out the 2011 portion of the season in Alberta against the Calgary Dinos and Lethbridge Pronghorns Nov. 25 and 26. Live video and live stats for both games is available at http://canadawest.tv.
Players to Watch
Thompson Rivers: Chas Kok (26 PPG, coming off 45-point game at Lethbridge on Nov. 12), Justin King (21 PPG, 11.3 RPG) and Kevin Pribilsky (16.3 PPG)
UVic: Ryan MacKinnon (23.3 PPG, 57.6% from three-point range), Zac Andrus (13.8 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 6.0 APG)