By Ali Lee, with files from Concordia University-Irvine Athletics
December 31, 2012, Irvine, CA – The University of Victoria Vikes men’s basketball team closed out their California tour, as the team was hosted by the NAIA No. 19-ranked Concordia University-Irvine Eagles on Sunday. The Eagles defeated the talented Vikes squad 96-88, despite an 18-point effort from leading scorer, Terrell Evans (Las Vegas, NV).
For the Eagles, Peter Smith scored a career-high 28 points going on nine-for-13 in shooting and three-for-five from deep. Dakota Downs scored 14 points, getting going late, in addition to seven rebounds to lead the team. Tim Harris and DeLaun Frazier each had 12 points, with Harris going two-for-two from deep and Frazier notching four-of-four off the bench. The hosts were 10-for-17 from deep and shot 55 per cent from the field.
The Vikes hit 53 per cent and drained six threes throughout the night, while Concordia forced 14 turnovers and dealt 15 assists. Evans led again in scoring and also went eight-for-11 on free throws, tallied 11 rebounds and two steals. Senior guard Brandon Dunlop (Victoria, BC) added 14 points, two boards and five assists, while Brin Taylor(Edmonton) contributed 12 points, after going four-for-four on outside shots. Michael Acheampong (Toronto, Ont.) tallied 13 points, three rebounds and five assists to help the Vikes finish 1-1 on their California road tour.
Concordia used the first seven minutes to build a ten-point lead, 19-9, with two early threes from Tim Harris. UVIC scored eight straight in response to pull within two at 12:16. A three from Rudd pushed it back to five, but UVIC hit a three of their own and tied the game with a layup at 24 with 9:36 remaining. A layup and three free throws saw the Vikes pull ahead, 33-28, with 7:06 left in the half. They continued to expand their lead and led 39-31 at the 5:04 mark. CU found their footing and mounted a 10-0 run to go back ahead by two. Frazier and Smith both hit threes and Hucks converted a put-back layup over that stretch. The Vikes outscored the Eagles 9-4 over the final two minutes and took a 48-45 lead into the break.
The Vikes built their lead back to seven just two minutes into the second half and held the lead until two free throws by Smith after a steal tied the game at 61 at the 15:44 mark. Concordia took control at that point and led 68-64 when Harris connected with Simpson in the paint. UVIC scored six straight in response to regain the lead. Tyler Hickert hit one-of-two free throws to give Concordia a 74-72 lead at 10:11 and after Victoria tied it at 74, the Eagles built a six-point lead on two Frazier threes. Concordia held the lead between six and two points over the final eight minutes. With the hosts up three and the shot clock winding down, Smith hit a deep three at the 2:16 mark to put the Eagles up six and more-or-less seal the game. Concordia outscored the Vikes 26-16 in the paint, 11-5 off turnovers, and 20-11 off the bench.
The Vikes will return home to regroup for their Jan. 11-12 Canada West weekend against Winnipeg and Manitoba, where the UVic squad will look to improve their current 7-3 record.