By Andy Watson, UVic Communications
VICTORIA (ISN) – When the University of Victoria Vikes men’s basketball team (14-4) hosts the Calgary Dinos (10-10) in the best-of-three Canada West quarter-final series this weekend at McKinnon Gymnasium, it will be a battle of two teams with a history of close games over the past 10 years.
Since Craig Beaucamp arrived at UVic, the teams have split the head-to-head series with five wins each in 10 meetings. The host team has won six of those meetings, and since Beaucamp arrived at UVic in 2003, the Dinos and Vikes have not met in the playoffs.
This weekend’s series will be the first home playoff series at UVic since 2008 when the Vikes swept the Simon Fraser Clan in two games. This will be the first meeting in the post-season between UVic and Calgary since 1995 when the Vikes swept the Dinos in the best-of-three Canada West semifinal series and advanced to the CIS national tournament. In eight series meetings in the playoffs between the squads, UVic has advanced to nationals six times after beating Calgary, winning seven of the eight playoff matchups.
In the last meeting, the Vikes won 75-63 in Calgary. The Dinos were without Boris Bakovic but were led by Tyler Fidler who had 22 points and Josh Wolfram who pulled down 11 rebounds. Ryan MacKinnon of Comox, B.C., led the Vikes that night with 15 points, while Michael Acheampong of Toronto, Terrell Evans of Las Vegas and Chris McLaughlin of Oakville, Ont., each pulled down seven rebounds. Senior guard Zac Andrus of Vashon Island, Wa., had four steals.
Bakovic of Toronto is now back in the lineup and has started all 12 games he’s participated in. Averaging 17.8 points and 6.7 rebounds per game, the six-foot-eight post is clearly the player to watch on a talented Dinos team that has won its past six straight games. The transfer from Ryerson in the OUA finishes his CIS career with 2,282 points and is the unofficial leading scorer in Canadian university basketball history. Bakovic made his Dinos debut in January after suffering a knee injury in the fall while training with Canada’s national team while preparing for the Pan-Am Games in Guadalajara, Mexico. Bakovic was also a member of Canada’s silver-medal winning FISU team that played in Shenzhen, China, this past August and fell to Serbia 68-55 in the final.
Jared Ogungbemi-Jackson, who started all 14 games he participated in, is another threat who missed the November meeting between the teams. He led Calgary in points per game this season with 18.5 along with 7.4 rebounds per contest. Fidler also averaged 17.8 points per game, pulling down 6.6 boards a game. Freshman guard Josh Owen-Thomas, a 19-year-old Australian who played for England’s U-18 team at the U18 European Championships, is also a player to watch.
On Nov. 25, Calgary struggled from outside against UVic on Nov. 25, going 4-for-16 from three-point range and shooting a dismal 20-for-48 from the floor overall. UVic was also cold from the field, putting up their second lowest shooting percentage of the season at 38 per cent on 27-for-71 shooting. With the ability to go 10 to 12 players deep depending on their opponent, the Vikes will have to wear out Ogungbemi-Jackson, Bakovic and Fidler, while using their depth in talent and scoring to push the tempo in transition.
UVic’s bench outscored Calgary’s 28-7, and they put up a 27-8 advantage on second-chance points. Fidler and Keenan Milburn have fouled out of seven games combined and looking for one-on-one match-ups with both players will be key this series. Fidler fouled out of the UVic contest in November, as did UVic’s Pierce Anderson, a Calgary native.
The Dinos have won their last six games including two-game series wins over No. 8 nationally ranked Alberta, Manitoba and Winnipeg. The Dinos also earned a split with No. 3 nationally ranked Saskatchewan in January and have proven they can play with anyone this season. Their Achilles heel this seasons has been weak second and third quarters despite strong starts and finishes and injury trouble.
The Vikes will continue to rely on outside shooting and balance in scoring in what should be a very physical and fast-paced series. UVic needs to contain Bakovic and limit the effectiveness of Calgary’s guards Ogungbemi-Jackson, Milburn and Owen-Thomas. The battle on the boards, particularly for second-chance possessions was a major reason why UVic won the only meeting in November in Calgary and will be a key theme to watch. For MacKinnon, Andrus and Michael Berg, this could be the final weekend of basketball in their careers on home court so they will be players to watch and could be clutch in a matchup that features a strong senior-flavour to both rosters.
PROJECTED STARTING FIVE
Calgary Dinos: 3 Jared Ogungbemi-Jackson / 5 Keenan Milburn / 8 Josh Owen-Thomas / 10 Tyler Fidler / 13 Boris Bakovic
UVic Vikes: 3 Zac Andrus / 4 Michael Acheampong / 6 Ryan MacKinnon / 8 Terrell Evans / 14 Michael Berg
PROJECTED SIXTH MAN
Calgary Dinos: 9 Andrew McGuinness
UVic Vikes: 2 Reiner Thiel
OTHER KEY BENCH PLAYERS
Calgary Dinos: 12 Dustin Reding / 14 Josh Wolfman / 2 Trevor Debolt
UVic Vikes: 5 Reese Pribilsky / 11 Pierce Anderson / 9 John Woldu / 12 Chris McLaughlin / 15 Andy Kalia / 1 Vijay Dhillon / 7 Ryan Erikson
TALE OF THE TAPE
Last Meeting: UVic won 75-63 in Calgary on Nov. 25, 2011
Last 10 Meetings: 5-5 split
Last 10 Meetings in Victoria: 7-3 for UVic
Last 10 Playoff Meetings: 7-3 for UVic
All-Time Playoff Head-to-Head: 14-3 for UVic
Canada West Record: 10-10 (.500), 4th in Prairie Division, 8th overall in Canada West
Record against CIS Top 10 Teams in Conference Play: 4-3
Record against CIS Top 10 Teams Overall: 4-3
Streak: Won last six games
On the Road: 3-7
B.C. Players: Keenan Milburn of Royston / Andrew McGuinness of North Vancouver / Matt Letkeman of Abbotsford / Josh Wolfram of Kamloops
Experience: Two Freshmen / Five Sophomores / One Junior / Six Seniors (Four Fifth-Year Seniors)
Head Coach: Dan Vanhooren, 11th Season (21-15 in Playoffs)
Last Canada West Title: 2009
Last Appearance at CIS Nationals: 2009-10
2010 Playoff Finish: Eliminated by Saskatchewan in Canada West Playoffs
Canada West Record: 14-4 (.778), 1st in Pacific Division, 2nd overall in Canada West
Record against CIS Top 10 Teams Overall: 3-4
Streak: Won last game, last two games at home
At Home: 7-2
Experience: Two Freshmen / Two Sophomores / Four Juniors / Five Seniors (Three Fifth-Year Seniors)
Head Coach: Craig Beaucamp, 9th Season (18-16 in Playoffs)
Last Canada West Title: 2005
Last Appearance at CIS Nationals: 2005
2010 Playoff Finish: Eliminated by Alberta in Canada West Playoffs