By Ali Lee, Vikes Communications
February 2, 2013, Victoria, BC (ISN) – The University of Victoria Vikes men’s basketball team had to play gritty basketball from start to finish 72-61 over the UNBC Timberwolves. The weekend sweep improves the Vikes record to 12-5, while the Timberwolves drop to 5-12 in the Canada West.
The Vikes were led in scoring by Terrell Evans (Las Vegas, NV), whose late surge tallied him a double-double of 23 points and 12 rebounds. Evans also added four steals and three assists, while Michael Acheampong (Toronto, Ont.) and Chris McLaughlin (Oakville, ON) both added 14 points and eight rebounds.
For the Timberwolves, Sam Raphael sunk three treys to finish with 19 points, as well as nine boards. Jose Araujo came off the bench to also hit three long-range shots and finish with 12 points, while Francis Rowe finished with 11 points.
“Any time you can’t shoot the ball you are in for a grind,” said Vikes assistant coach Craig Behan about the gritty game. “It’s just one of those games that sometimes you make shots and sometimes you don’t. They were in our faces and pressuring us but we’re going to see a lot of that in the playoffs so, we have to prep ourselves and understand that’s something we have to work on.”
Momentum edged in favour of UNBC in the opening quarter of play as both Raphael and Charles Barton drained a long range shot and jumper to kick start the visitors. The Timberwolves led 14-10 after the first quarter despite some tough work under the hoop by McLaughlin, who led the opening quarter with six points and three rebounds.
The Vikes chipped away at the Timberwolves’ lead in the second quarter. Evans drained an important bucket after being bodied by UNBC’s Joel Rybachuk and sealed it with the and-one point to tie the game at 19. UNBC stayed with it through most of the quarter with Rowe and Araujo each hitting a timely three.
The height of six-foot-ten McLaughlin and six foot-seven Pierce Anderson (Calgary, AB) seemed to be the key, as the Vikes had 23 rebounds in the second quarter to claw their way back to take a 36-33 lead in the final minutes of the first half. The Vikes had 12 second-chance points and 36 points off the bench entering the break.
It took 23 minutes of play but the familiar Acheampong-Evans showcase finally made an appearance in the third quarter. Evans made a key steal and sealed it with a dunk that got the crowd on their feet to tie it at 38, while the pair combined to help the Vikes go on an entertaining 10-0 run seconds later.
With both teams in bonus, UNBC’s Raphael scored a late free throw to get within one but Vikes’ Acheampong tore down the court off the inbound and put the jumper in to enter the final quarter with a 52-49 lead.
The Vikes hung on for the 72-61 win despite a tough, 40-minute effort from the Timberwolves. With a playoff spot already clinched, the Vikes, now 13-5, are a little closer to quarter-final hosting rights, while the Timberwolves drop to 5-13.
“Eventually we were able to defend and rebound, acutally winning the rebounding battle by 25 and all those little things helped us in the end,” said Behan.
Next weekend, Feb. 8-9, the Vikes will travel for a double header against Mount Royal, while UNBC will host the UBC Thunderbirds (16-2). The games will be broadcast live at http://canadawest.tv
SCORING BY SUMMARY
UVIC: 10-26-16-20 : 72
UNBC: 14-19-16-12 : 61
UVIC: Terrell Evans (23), Chris McLaughlin (14), Michael Acheampong (14)
UNBC: Sam Raphael (19), Jose Araujo (12), Francis Rowe (11)