The University of Victoria Vikes men’s basketball team held the UBC Okanagan to under 50 points – just nine in the first quarter – en route to a 76-49 win in Kelowna on Friday night.
With the win, the No. 7 nationally ranked Vikes improve to 12-3 on the season. They face the Heat (2-13) again on Saturday night at 6 p.m. with a chance to clinch a home playoff berth (LIVE VIDEO AND STATS available at http://canadawest.tv).
Ryan MacKinnon of Comox, B.C., led the Vikes again with a 21-point effort, surpassing the 1,300-point mark in his career with the effort. He now has 1,311 points in his Canada West career.
Terrell Evans of Las Vegas posted a double-double with 13 points and 11 boards for UVic, while Calgary’s Pierce Anderson came off the bench to add 12 points and eight rebounds in the Vikes win.
Yassine Ghomari and Steve Morrison both led the Heat with 10-point nights, but the UBC Okanagan offence failed to produce, shooting just 31 per cent from the field.
UVic dominated the glass with a 48-25 edge in rebounding.
With No. 8 nationally ranked Fraser Valley’s upset win over No. 3 ranked UBC – a 77-72 decision in Abbotsford, B.C. – the Vikes are now tied with the Thunderbirds for first place in the Canada West at 12-3.
UVic led 41-26 at the half and shot 44 per cent from the field in the opening 20 minutes. Uncharacteristically, though, the Vikes were cold from three-point range on the night, hitting just 21 per cent of their shots (3-for-14) from beyond the arc. UVic entered the game shooting over 42 per cent from downtown.
The Vikes have already clinched a Canada West playoff spot and the worst they can finish is in third spot in the Pacific Division with the race for first place wide open between the Vikes (12-3), the Thunderbirds (12-3) and the Cascades (11-5).
A number of scenarios can play out. If the Vikes win their three remaining games, they would be guaranteed home-floor advantage for the playoffs, including the right to host a best-of-three Canada West quarter-final series Feb. 24-26 and if they won that the right to host the Canada West Final 4. If UVic wins two of their three remaining games, they would be guaranteed a home playoff quarter-final series but would be unlikely to host the Canada West Final 4 if they advanced past the quarter-final round. With a win over UBC Okanagan tomorrow night but losses to UBC on Feb. 10 and Feb. 17, the Vikes could still finish third if Fraser Valley wins out if UVic drops both games to UBC.
The Vikes and Thunderbirds have a game in hand on third-place Fraser Valley, while Trinity Western is in fourth place at 8-7 and out of the race for third place. The only way Fraser Valley can catch UVic and force them to the road for the playoff quarter-final series is to beat UBC again on Saturday and defeat Trinity Western in their final game on Feb. 9 to finish at 13-5 AND have UVic lose both games to UBC. In this scenario, both Fraser Valley and UVic would be tied at 13-5 and after splitting the season series, the Cascades would win the next tiebreaker, a better record against Pacific Division opponents (in this scenario, Fraser Valley would have a 8-2 Pacific Division record and UVic would be at 7-3).