By Andy Watson, Vikes Communications
Photos by Erich Eichhorn (www.allsportmedia.ca)
VICTORIA (ISN) – Terrell Evans of Las Vegas threw up a desperate shot after a Ryan MacKinnon contested-miss as time expired to give the University of Victoria Vikes men’s basketball team a thrilling 90-88 victory over the Calgary Dinos in the deciding game of their Canada West playoff series.
MacKinnon finished with 33 points, three assists, two blocks and a steal along with eight rebounds in a truly inspirational performance to lead both teams in the third and final game of the best-of-three Canada West quarter-final series.
“Terrell came in with a big put back to win it… he came up big when it counted,” MacKinnon said. “I was kind of looking at the clock and just put up the shot. Once I knew Terrell’s (shot) was good, I was ecstatic. I could not control my emotions… I kind of went and tackled Terrell to the ground and threw a couple of punches at him. It’s an unbelievable feeling.”
Vikes star Ryan MacKinnon would provide the spark his team needed scoring 33 points ( 20 in the 1st half ) to eliminate the Dinos Sunday – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )
The Vikes also won Game 2 68-61 while Calgary won Game 1 73-68 on Friday night.
UVic will now play Fraser Valley in the Canada West semifinals on Friday March 2 in Saskatoon at 6:15 p.m. local time (4:15 p.m. PST). Fans can watch live for free on http://canadawest.tv, complete with live stats. Saskatchewan will host the Alberta Golden Bears in the other semifinal on Friday at 8 p.m. local time (6 p.m. PST).
“We have to refocus and we have the Final 4 to look forward to,” MacKinnon said. “And Fraser Valley is a pretty unbelievable team. We need to bring it back down to the basics and work hard this week.”
Zac Andrus had a quite afternoon on the scoresheet but was instrumental in controling the ball in the offensive end with five assists – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )
“Calgary has unbelievable players and it was back and forth all game,” MacKinnon added. “We’ve put together a couple of gutsy wins hopefully can take that momentum and keep on moving forward and hopefully push on through the nationals.
If the Vikes win their semifinal game against the Cascades on Friday, they will advance to the CIS national championship Final 8 tournament March 9-11 in Halifax. If the Vikes lose the Canada West semifinal, they can still advance as an at-large wildcard team to be determined on Sunday March 4 by a committee.
On Sunday afternoon, UVic withstood two Calgary runs to hold off the hottest team in the second half of the season in the Canada West.
#5 Reese Pribilsky drives baseline looking for the net – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )
Calgary native Tyler Fidler was terrific for the Dinos, finishing with a team-high 30 points, adding five blocks and six assists along with three assists. Boris Bakovic of Toronto, the unofficial career scoring leader in Canadian university basketball history, was also clutch for the Dinos adding 14 points, four assists and three rebounds in his final CIS game. The Dinos duo gave the Vikes all they could handle and made the fans at McKinnon Gymnasium nervous every time they touched the ball.
Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson of Winnipeg also scored 21 points and added five assists, four rebounds and two steals in the loss for Calgary. Josh Owen-Thomas of Australia had another strong defensive performance, limiting MacKinnon and the Vikes outside shooters when he was on the court. However, he got into foul trouble which allowed the Vikes an opportunity to put some distance between them and the never-quit Calgary squad.
Dino’s #5 Keenan Milburn drew the short straw to guard Vikes Michael Acheampong who finished with 18 points,3 stls, and 3 assists – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )
UVic also had a monster night from Toronto native Michael Acheampong who finished with 18 points, three steals, three assists and three rebounds after going 1-for-14 in Games 1 and 2 for just three points. Acheampong and MacKinnon were consistently the two best Vikes on the night, but once again, the supporting cast stepped up when required. Michael Berg of Burnaby, B.C., added 14 points and Evans 12 points along with six assists in the win. UVic shot 51.6% from the floor and drained eight of their 15 three-point attempts.
A 26-16 edge in the third quarter proved to be the difference.
The Dinos trailed 8-3 early but fought back with outstanding balance to lead 24-21 after the opening quarter.
In the second, MacKinnon kept the Vikes close. Back-to-back three-pointers with Owen-Thomas on the bench and Royston, B.C., native Keenan Milburn trying to mark him started a turn-around to tie the game at 29-29.
Then MacKinnon, the fifth-year guard from Comox, B.C., fought hard for a steal and streaked end to end, tip-toeing along the sideline to keep the ball in bounds and beating Fidler for a lay-up to make it 33-32 UVic. MacKinnon scored 22 of his team’s first 35 points, and even had two great defensive shot blocks on Bakovic. he finished with six three-pointers on eight attempts and was 11-for-18 overall from the floor. Acheampong also had 12 first-half points, while Fidler paced Calgary with 20.
Calgary, however, had more balance on offence and led 48-43 at the break.
In the third, Berg got the Vikes off to a strong start, showing offensive flair. The Vikes forced Fidler to the bench with two quick fouls and started to go on their run. Berg finished the quarter with 10 points and worked well in tandem with Evans to put the Vikes up by five entering the fourth quarter up 69-64.
But as expected in any great battle, the Dinos were not done. Calgary went on a 10-2 run to open the fourth, inspired by an Andrew McGuinness three-pointer that was set up with a numerical advantage off a fastbreak. Calgary native Pierce Anderson picked up two quick fouls and was sent to the bench with 7:42 remaining giving the Dinos a good size advantage in the paint. After getting outplayed inside in Game 2, the Dinos were only outscored 38-36 in the paint and limited UVic to eight offensive rebounds and 13 second-chance points.
The game was as close as finger tips for the Dinos to push the game to overtime, but #8 Terrell Evans would snatch this rebound and score with 1 sec remaining – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )
Calgary regained the lead when Bakovic drew the fourth personal foul on Anderson and then hit from the charity strip to give the Dinos a three-point lead on a three-point play. But after a Vikes timeout, it was MacKinnon stepping up to deliver a three-pointer after a Dinos’ defensive miscue.
Soon after, Fidler hurt his elbow and missed the next two minutes. The Vikes went to work again and took several leads in a back-and-forth finish for the ages. MacKinnon scored again from the floor and soon after hit two free-throws.
Terrell Evans is met by teammates after the buzzer beating shot to win the rubber match and send the Vikes to the Western Semi-finals in Saskatoon – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )
MacKinnon’s shot with about five seconds remaining rolled out, and Anderson fought for an offensive tip that fell just short. But then all dropped to Evans who threw up a no-look effort while getting pushed from the back and it rolled in for the win, forcing an eruption of pro-Vikes cheering from the capacity crowd.
See video of the game winning shot below.
“I had to just put it up,” Evans said. “It was just crazy, I feel like we deserved it and felt we were going to win it. I threw up the ball and kind of got shoved from behind but I didn’t know it even went in. I got jumped on by my teammates so I knew then we had won. I just put it up there and hoped for the best.”
Terrell Evans would savour the moment while fans and coaches meet him on the court to congratulate him. Evans would finish with twelve hard-fought points on the afternoon – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )
SCORING BY QUARTERS
1 2 3 4 – T
CGY 24 24 16 24 – 88
UVIC 21 22 26 21 – 90