By Ali Lee, Vikes Communications
February 16, 2013, Vancouver, BC (ISN) – The University of Victoria Vikes men’s basketball team silenced a 12-game win streak with a 91-86 win over the No. 2 UBC Thunderbirds at War Memorial Gym on Feb. 15.
With the win, the Vikes improve to 15-6, while the Birds are handed their first loss of 2013 and drop to 18-3. Both teams have already qualified to host the first round of the Canada West playoffs.
The Vikes impressed on the road with a quality scoring from the entire roster, highlighted by a 23-point performance from fifth-year Michael Acheampong (Toronto, Ont.). Chris McLaughlin (Oakville, ON) and Brandon Dunlop (Victoria, BC) also put on a scoring show with 13 and 11 points, respectively. The Vikes shot 50 per cent from distance in the opening half and were 51 per cent from the field all game.
For the home side, four T-Birds shot in double digits with second-year Tommy Nixon topping the stats with 23 points. Doug Plumb and O’Brian Wallace were the other big shooters of the night with 21 and 12 points, respectively. Brylle Kamenimpressed with a double-double of 12 points and 12 rebounds.
“It was just important to play good basketball again and tonight was the best that we’ve played in a while,” said Vikes head coachCraig Beaucamp. “We tried to get to the free throw line a few more times. That was one of our goals and we just competed the way that we need to against a quality team.”
UBC’s Wallace got the home fans on their feet opening the game with a shot from the top of the arc but Victoria’s Ted Neilson(Nanaimo) responded seconds later with a three of his own. The teams remained tied at five until Acheampong put up a jumper at the six-minute mark in a tight, defensive game. The fifth-year followed that play up with three-point silencer to give the Vikes a five-point lead at 10-5.
Second-year Vike Brin Taylor (Edmonton)scored the Vikes’ third three of the quarter, while Dunlop scored off a fast break at the buzzer to gain a 19-13 edge over the Birds entering the first break.
The Thunderbirds opened it up in the second, out-scoring the Vikes 10-2 in the first two minutes of play to tie the game at 23. Evans responded for the Vikes, with a quick break down the court, while Acheampong hit his second outside shot to lift the Vikes up by five. UBC’s David Wagner responded but in the other end, Victoria’s Taylor mirrored his first-quarter three to lift the Vikes 34-27.
Entering the half, the Vikes led 48-40 thanks to seven first-half three-point shots and 29 points from the bench. The Birds matched the Vikes in stats as Plumb drained the team’s sixth trey at the half-time buzzer.
In the second half, T-Birds Plumb and Wallace cut the Vikes’ lead to within three, while Reiner Theil (West Vancouver, B.C.)put up a bucket from the line and his first three of the night for the Vikes to respond. Dunlop showed ease in scoring his second outside shot of the night to lift the Vikes back up 57-48.
The Vikes’ bench added another 11 points in the third to out-score the Birds 20-14 and gain a 68-54 advantage entering the final quarter.
UBC’s Isaiah Solomon set War Memorial Gym in a cheering craze in the fourth as the six-foot rookie made a big steal on Victoria’sKyle Peterson (Edmonton). Solomon finished in the paint as the Birds trailed 69-67 withfive minutes left to play.
Following, Acheampong eased the tension with an important three, his third of the night, to lift the Vikes back up by five. Solomon played hero again, as his trey kept the Birds back within four. Dunlop made a crucial pass that sliced through the Birds’ defence, allowing six-foot-ten McLaughlin to score a crowd-silencing dunk and push the Vikes up 77-70.
Dunlop pushed the Vikes’ run to 8-0 after draining an impressive baseline three despite a responding bucket in the paint from UBC’s Nixon. The Vikes maintained their scoring momentum despite a resilient man-to-man defensive effort from the Thunderbirds.
With four seconds on the clock and UBC down by six, Plumb was fouled on a three-point play. Despite making all three attempts from the line, a careless UBC foul put Acheampong on the line in the other end on bonus. The senior made no mistake as the Vikes defeated the No. 2-ranked T-birds 91-86.
The Vikes will turn around to host the T-Birds at McKinnon gym tomorrow, Feb. 16, at 7 p.m. The evening will also feature the sixth-annual Shoot for the Cure event, which will raise awareness and support for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. To watch the game live http://UVic.canadawest.tv
SCORING BY QUARTER
UVIC: 21-27-20-23 : 91
UBC: 13-27-14-32 : 86
UVIC: Michael Acheampong (23), Chris McLaughlin (13)
UBC: Tommy Nixon (23), Doug Plumb (21)