By Ali Lee – Vikes Communications
March 4, 2013, Victoria, BC (ISN) – The University of Victoria Vikes men’s basketball team were forced to settle for second in the Canada West as the UBC Thunderbirds hung on for a 72-69 victory in the conference finals at War Memorial Gym on March 2.
Senior Brandon Dunlop (Victoria, BC) had a buzzer three-pointer that failed to drop leaving the Vikes at a deficit of three despite both team’s having already cashed in for a trip to the CIS Final 8 with last night’s semifinal wins.
Third-year center Chris McLaughlin (Oakville, ON) had a sensational start earning the Vikes’ first nine points but two quick fouls had the six-foot-ten Vike sidelined for the majority of the first half. Despite the time on the floor, McLaughlin led the charge with a team-high 21 points and six rebounds. Second-team all-star Terrell Evans (Las Vegas, NV) and Dunlop were next on the charts with 12 points each. The Vikes picked up 35 points from the bench but were held to 46 percent from the field.
For the Birds, fifth-year standout Doug Plumb was incredible in his final home game, dropping a game-high 22 points and nine rebounds for the night. Adding to the win was Tommy Nixon with 13 points and Jordan Jensen-Whyte with 10.
In the opening quarter, McLaughlin put up all nine of the Vikes’ first points to lead the Birds 21-17 entering the second. In the nine-point performance, McLaughlin demonstrated his variety in skill dropping two from the line, a nifty layup from the paint, a dunk and a clutch perimeter shot.
Trailing by four, the Birds stepped it up, forcing the Vikes to foul on several occasions. The home team earned eight points from the line and combined with a three from each of Plumb and Nixon, edged the Vikes 22-8 in second-quarter scoring. Evans and Dunlop took credit for the little damage Victoria did in the second, as the Vikes trailed 39-29 at the half.
The Birds showed why they were ranked No. 2 in the country only two weeks ago, as UBC shot 46 percent from the field and 67 percent from the free-throw line in the second half. The Vikes trailed by as much of 12 points in the third quarter but Evans helped play catch up as UBC led only 57-50 entering the fourth.
As most finals go down, the action was saved for the final quarter, and in this game, the final seconds. The Vikes trailed by a large margin until the two-minute mark, when Reiner Theil (West Vancouver, B.C.) drained a huge trey after a Dunlop layup to get the visitors within five. McLaughlin put in two from the line to cut the lead to two but consecutive fouls put Plumb at the line, for the Birds to go back up by three.
With 17 seconds left on the clock, McLaughlin fouled O’Brian Wallace who made good on both free-throw attempts. Without batting an eye, McLaughlin hit a timely shot from beyond the arc to tighten the game back to two points. Then, Evans took his third foul of the night to send Wallace back to the line. Wallace drained only the first, allowing the Vikes to capitalize on the rebound.
Racing to the other end, the Vikes were able to free up Dunlop, whose potential buzzer-beating three to tie the game bounced off the rim, leaving the Vikes down 72-69. The win gives the Thunderbirds their 17th Canada West title, while the Vikes pick up their 10th Canada West silver medal.
Both teams advance to the CIS national Final 8 championship, hosted by the University of Carleton in Ottawa, Mar. 8-10. Games will be available live at http://cis-sic.tv
SCORING BY QUARTER:
VIC: 21-8-21-19 : 69
UBC: 17- 22-18-16 : 72
VIC: Chris McLaughlin (21), Terrell Evans (12), Brandon Dunlop (12)
UBC: Doug Plumb (22), Tommy Nixon (13)