Battle of the Pacific: Nationally Ranked Division Foes Face-Off in Weekend Doubleheader

101

Andy Watson

VICTORIA – Two of the CIS’s Top 10 teams will battle this weekend, as the No. 6 nationally ranked University of Victoria Vikes men’s basketball team hosts the No. 10 nationally ranked Fraser Valley Cascades on Friday Jan. 13 at 8 p.m. and Saturday Jan. 14 at 7 p.m. at Ken & Kathy Shields Court.

Live stats and video streaming are available at http://canadawest.tv.

The weekend games are two of the Vikes final three regular season home games for UVic (9-1, 1st Pacific Division, 1st Canada West), which lost its first game of the season last Friday Jan. 6 in an 86-81 loss to the No. 4 nationally ranked Saskatchewan Huskies. The Vikes will also host the No. 5 nationally ranked UBC Thunderbirds (6-2, T-2nd Pacific Division, T-2nd Canada West) on Friday Feb. 17 in Victoria in the regular season finale and second half of a home-and-home series with their arch-rival.

Entering the weekend series against the Cascades (6-4, T-2nd Pacific Division, T-2nd Canada West), UVic leads the Canada West in three-point percentage at 46.9% but Fraser Valley is third in the Canada West at 39.3% so both teams are lethal from outside the key. It could be a shootout at McKinnon.

UVic also boasts the best assist to turnover ratio in the Canada West (1.1 on 16.6 assists per game and 14.8 turnovers per game), but faces a Cascades team leading the conference in defensive rebounding, averaging 30.6 per game.

Fifth-year guard Ryan MacKinnon of Comox, B.C., continues to lead the team in scoring and is still third in the Canada West in points per game, averaging 21.4 per contest. He also leads the Canada West in three-pointers made, averaging four per game.

Fraser Valley’s top scorers are Joel Friesen (13th in CWUAA), who is averaging 15.8 points per game, and Samuel Freeman (14th in CWUAA), who is averaging 13.8 points per game and the team’s top three-point threat. Kyle Grewal is the Cascades’ top rebounder, pulling down an average of eight per game, good for fifth in the conference. Jasper Moedt of Fraser Valley is also a menace on the offensive glass, averaging four offensive boards per game.

Following the weekend series with Fraser Valley, UVic will play its next five games on the road before returning home on Feb. 17:

Jan. 20 at Winnipeg

Jan. 21 at Manitoba

Feb. 3 at UBC Okanagan

Feb. 4 at UBC Okanagan

Feb. 10 at UBC

Feb. 17 vs UBC

NOTE: The Vikes will honour the 2011 national champion UVic women’s rowing team with a special banner raising ceremony at the half-time of Saturday night’s men’s game.

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