By Ali Lee, Vikes Communications
January 12, 2012, VICTORIA (ISN) – The University of Victoria Vikes men’s basketball team let a three-point lead slip away in the final minutes of the game as the Winnipeg Wesmen defeated the Canada West visitors 64-61 on Jan. 11.
The loss drops the Vikes to a 7-4 record, moving them to third in the Pacific Division, while the Wesmen improve to 9-3, to advance to second in the Prairie Division.
The Vikes had a full squad of returned, healthy bodies, and tallied three double-digit scorers including leading scorer Terrell Evans (Las Vegas, NV), who netted 15 points, six rebounds and three steals. Point guards Brandon Dunlop (Victoria, BC) and Kyle Peterson (Edmonton) were beneficial for the Vikes, as both chipped in 11 points each.
For the Wesmen, fourth-year forward Steven Wesley led the home side with 23 points and seven rebounds, while fifth-year Benny Iko picked up a double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds.
“We put ourselves in the position to win and made a couple of mistakes in the last minute and that was enough in a tight game to lose,” said Vikes head coach Craig Beaucamp after watching his squad concede three fouls with less than a minute on the clock. “We had a tough time scoring tonight but played pretty well defensively, holding (Winnipeg) to a 34 field-goal percentage.”
The Vikes came out of the gate a little slow, allowing the Wesmen to gain a quick 6-0 run off a three-pointer from each of Wesley and Iko. The Vikes seemed to gain comfort as Michael Acheampong (Toronto, Ont.), Chris McLaughlin (Oakville, ON) and Peterson each drained an outside shot to lift the Vikes 17-12 after the first quarter.
Winnipeg’s Wesley earned four consecutive points to help his team play catch up, as the two Canada West teams duked it out bucket-for-bucket despite a five-point run from Dunlop. The Wesmen out-scored the Vikes 17-10 in the second quarter to take the 29-27 lead into half time.
After the break, an early trey from rookie Peterson, helped get the Vikes back in line but the teams would continue to trade ownership of the lead. Peterson and Dunlop were able to continue their scoring ways with some big perimeter shots to help the Vikes outscore the Wesmen 18-11 in the third.
Following three quarters of back-and-forth action, it would only seem fitting that final dramatics were left until the final minute of play. Wesmen’s Iko drained a long shot from beyond the arc with 35 seconds left in the game and was fouled on the play. The six-foot-six post calmly sank the free throw to complete the four point play to put Winnipeg in front by a score of 60-59. Wesmen guard Dominique Brown drained a pair of free throws to put the home team up by a score of 62-59.
Dunlop scored a late bucket for the Vikes with 15 seconds left to narrow the score at 62-61 but on the next possession Travis Krahn was fouled and made no mistake on his shots from the line to seal the deal for the home side.
The 64-61 victory lifts the Wesmen to a 9-3 record, while the Vikes (7-4) will have to regroup for Manitoba tonight, Jan. 12, at 6 p.m. The game will be broadcast live at http://uvic.canadawest.tv
“You just have to draw a line under it and move on,” said Beaucamp about bouncing back for tomorrow’s game. “That really is the ups and downs of of Canada West play and now we have to help ourselves and have a better effort tomorrow. It is important in this conference that you can respond after both wins and losses, especially in back-to-back games.”
SCORING BY QUARTER:
VIC: 17-10-18-16 : 61
WPG: 12-17-11-24 : 64