By Andy Watson, Vikes Communications
VICTORIA (ISN) – With 25 seconds left, Ryan MacKinnon drained the shot of his career, propelling the University of Victoria Vikes into a hosting position when next weekend’s Canada West Men’s basketball playoffs begin.
Rolling to his comfort zone at the top of the key, the fifth-year guard curled off a screen to take a pass from forward Terrell Evans and released a shot without hesitation, draining the three and game-winning basket for UVic. In the process, the No. 6 nationally ranked Vikes defeated the No. 5 nationally ranked UBC Thunderbirds 90-83 in front of a sold-out crowd of over 1,700 at Ken & Kathy Shields Court at McKinnon Gymnasium.
Vikes Ryan MacKinnon scores two of his 23 points on the night in his final regular season game as a Uvic Vike – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca )
With the win, UVic snaps an 11-game losing streak to UBC and clinches the Pacific Division title. They will now prepare to host the red-hot Calgary Dinos in the best-of-three Canada West quarter-final series beginning Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. at McKinnon Gymnasium. Game 2 goes Saturday Feb. 25 at 7 p.m. and Game 3, if necessary, will be played on Sunday Feb. 26 at 2 p.m.
Vikes Guard Zac Andrus was instrumental Friday night controlling the pace of the game against their rival UBC – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )
Tickets for the Canada West quarter-final series will be on sale on Monday Feb. 20. Prices are as follows:
ADULTS – $10
SENIORS/STUDENTS/ALUMNI – $8
YOUTH (7-14) – $5
UVIC STUDENTS / REC MEMBERS – $5
NOTE: Children 6 and under are free
Michael Acheampong of Toronto was named the Applebee’s Player of the Game with a game-high 28 points along with four assists and a steal. MacKinnon of Comox, B.C., added 23 points, five assists, four steals and four rebounds on graduating players night. Fellow senior Zac Andrus of Vashon Island, Wa., was also terrific with 16 points, including a pair of clutch free-throws to ice the game with 14 seconds left. Evans of Las Vegas added 14 points, seven rebounds and three assists, with two important rebounds in the final minute.
Vikes Coach Beauchamp gives his team some encouragement late – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )
Tommy Nixon of Vancouver led UBC with 21 points and eight rebounds. Three other fifth-year senior T-Birds players were also in double-digit scoring. Senior guard Nathan Yu of Prince George, B.C., of UBC was held in check with just 17 points, Doug Plumb of Pitt Meadows, B.C., also had 17 points, with Kamar Burke of Mississauga, Ont., adding 18 points and 10 rebounds.
The Thunderbirds led early, going on a 9-0 run to lead 12-8 midway through the first quarter. They led 22-18 after the opening quarter, and they continued to lead 41-40 at the half.
In the third quarter, MacKinnon took over. He scored 20 of his 23 points in the second half, including five three-pointers. Acheampong also drained two of his five three-pointers in the game to shift the momentum back in UVic’s favour.
Graduate Ryan Mickinnon provided a spark late to help give Vikes home court advantage in the playoffs defeating UBC Thunderbirds – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
The Vikes saved their best quarter for last outscoring UBC 26-19 in the final quarter.
The Vikes hit 13 three-pointers in the win and shot 53 per cent from the field. UBC was also red hot, shooting 57 per cent but UVic made them pay for their 14 turnovers, scoring 22 points off the Thunderbirds’ mistakes.
Vikes #4 Michael Acheampong was game high scorer with 28 points, virtually taking over the game in the 4th quarter – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
Late in the game, several unforced turnovers for UBC sailed out of bounds – it proved to provide the Vikes with the possession they needed to come from behind in a game that featured nine lead changes and 10 times was tied.
UBC led by as many as 11 points early in the second quarter.
1,700 vocal Vikes fans were like the 6th man Friday night and were rewarded with an unbelievable game – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
1 2 3 4 – T
UBC 22 19 23 19 – 83
UVIC 18 22 24 26 – 90