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By Ali Lee, Vikes Communications

October 30, 2012, VICTORIA – The University of Victoria Vikes men’s basketball team will open their Canada West season with a double header against the UBC Okanagan Heat on Nov. 2 (8 p.m.) and Nov. 3 (7 p.m.) at McKinnon Gym.

The Vikes graduate three starters from the veteran team that took the Canada West Pacific Division title in 2012. The team will be led by head coach Craig Beaucamp, who returns for his 10th season at UVic.

The Vikes will need to recover their loss in big shooters from the perimeter by leaning on fifth-year guard Michael Acheampong (Toronto, Ont.) and fourth-year forward Terrell Evans (Las Vegas, NV). The two seniors will need to be the consistent double-digit scorers for the Vikes, who boast six players in their first or second year.

“This is for sure going to be a transition year for us,” said Beaucamp, who lost fifth-year leading scorer and CIS All-Canadian Ryan MacKinnon to graduation. “We are going to be looking to Mike (Acheampong) and Terrell (Evans) to be more solid and consistent leaders for us both on and off the court and our younger guys are all going to have to contribute in scoring.”

First-year Kyle Peterson of Edmonton, Alta., has already shown to be the most promising of the freshmen class, as he has earned starting minutes in several of the pre-season games as point guard. Peterson along with returning Vike Brandon Dunlop (Victoria, BC) will be key distributers for the UVic side.

Dunlop, who previously played two seasons for the Vikes in 2007-08 and 2008-09, returns to the Vikes after taking three years off from playing basketball. Dunlop played valuable minutes with the likes of CIS stars and former Vikes Tyler Hass and Mitch Gudgeon and is now back on the floor to compete for his third season.

Beaucamp will look to six-foot-ten Chris McLaughlin (Oakville, ON) and six-foot-seven Pierce Anderson (Calgary, AB) in the center role to provide some gritty rebounding in the paint and to be regular contributors on the scoreboard.

“We’re also looking at Reiner Theil (West Vancouver, B.C.) to become more of a floor general for us,” said Beaucamp about the second-year expected starter. “Reiner has a good view of the big picture and we need him to step up and play a bigger role for us.”

The Vikes are also unfortunate to have lost fourth-year guard John Woldu (London, Ont.) who suffered a knee injury during summer training. Woldu was a key contributor for the Vikes last year and is currently recovering while staying on top of the current team’s tactics and practice plans.

In the pre-season, the Vikes went 3-3 against CIS competition including the Carleton Ravens, Lakehead University and UBC Okanagan. Recently, the Vikes defeated the former Canada West champions, the Alberta Golden Bears, 75-70, at the Guy Vetrie Memorial tournament in Victoria.

The Vikes will open their Canada West season with a double header against the UBC Okanagan Heat on Nov. 2 (8 p.m.) and Nov. 3 (7 p.m.) at McKinnon Gym. The home opener game, deemed “Days of Thunder” will promote the student population to come and watch the home openers and support the Vikes.

The game will be broadcast live at http://uvic.canadawest.tv