By Andy Watson, Vikes Communications
February 24, 2013, Victoria, BC (ISN) – Senior Terrell Evans (Las Vegas, NV) inspired the University of Victoria Vikes men’s basketball team with a team-high 21 points, including 12 of their first 16 and adding eight rebounds in a dominant 86-70 win over the Manitoba Bisons on Saturday night.
With the win, the Vikes advance to the Canada West Final 4 next weekend and sweep the best-of-three Canada West quarter-final series 2-0.
“We knew they would be hungry, probably desperate, coming off a loss last night,” said Evans, a dynamic forward from Las Vegas. “We just wanted to match their intensity and energy and focus on our game. We didn’t give up and we pushed through.”
“I thought we played a great game and to be two and done and have a day without a game tomorrow, at this time of year, it’s important. We’ll have a battle on our hands next weekend no matter what team we play.”
The Vikes, 12-1 at home in conference play, had four players in double-digit scoring and led by as much as 23 points late in the third quarter at Ken & Kathy Shields Court at McKinnon Gymnasium with about 700 fans looking on.
For the third-straight year, the Vikes advance to the Canada West Final 4, likely to be hosted by UBC in Vancouver or Saskatcehwan in Saskatoon. If the Thunderbirds and Huskies lose their respective series, the Vikes would host. UBC is up 1-0 against Alberta with Game 2 in progress, while Saskatchewan is tied with Fraser Valley 1-1 in the other affected conference quarter-final. Winnipeg is also tied with Trinity Western with third and deciding games on Sunday.
Chris McLaughlin of Oakville was also terrific for UVic, exploiting a size advantage in the paint. The post was especially effective on the offensive glass where he pulled down seven rebounds for 13 on the night, adding 15 points and a pair of assists. Vijay Dhillon of Richmond and Brandon Dunlop of Victoria added 15 and 11 points respectively as the Vikes were 9-for-21 shooting from beyond the arc. UVic’s bench outduelled the Bisons with a 31-11 edge
For the Bisons, flashy guard Stephan Walton of Atlanta posted a game-high 26 points but committed six turnovers on the night. Jonar Huertas of Winnipeg added 19 points in the loss. The Vikes dominated on the boards with a 52-32 edge.
Despite giving up the early lead, UVic dominated the boards and outscored the Bisons 8-0 in points from the bench early. But it was Evans who carried the hosts, netting 12 of UVic’s first 16 points on five-for-seven shooting to give UVic the 24-19 lead after 10 minutes.
The Vikes opened up the second quarter on an 8-0 run and continued to lead by 19 points at the half, outrebounding the smaller Bisons 28-13. McLaughlin had 10 rebounds in the first half alone, with Evans adding five boards along with a team-high 18 points through 20 minutes.
In the third quarter, both teams exhibited some sloppy play, but UVic closed out the quarter scoring their final 12 points on three-pointers from Dhillon (2), Theil and Peterson. The Vikes led 73-50 entering the final quarter.
Carrying a 23-point lead into the fourth quarter, UVic rotated its lineup to give its bench some more post-season experience. However, after a few turnovers, the starters returned but fared no better as Manitoba played with desperation. The Vikes showed some lazy play and a lack of discipline and focus, allowing the Bisons to close within 12 points in the late stages.
Manitoba outscored UVic 20-13 in the final frame.
“We had a relapse and lost our focus. We cannot afford to do that again or it could be our last game,” Evans said. “Coach was on us about it and like he said, we have to concentrate and not give up and really focus on playing our game, a complete game.”
NOTES: UVic is looking for its first appearance at the CIS National Final 8 tournament since 2006 when they were national finalists… The CIS nationals are in Ottawa March 8-10… If UVic does not host the Canada West Final 4, slated for March 1-2, it was the final home game for Michael Acheampong of Toronto, Pierce Anderson of Calgary and Dunlop… A trio of Bisons and Winnipeg natives Huertas, Xavier Smith and Kevin Oliver likely played their final career CIS games, with a wildcard berth at nationals a long-shot… Manitoba enjoyed 14 wins in 2012-13, their most in a season since 1978 when they went 16-0… The Bisons have only qualified for the post-season three times in the past 12 seasons, twice in their last three…
SCORING BY QUARTER
UVIC: 24-26-23-13: 86
MAN: 19-12-19-20: 70
UVIC: Terrell Evans (21), Vijay Dhillon (15)
MAN: Stephan Walton (26), Jonar Huertas (19)