By Ali Lee, Vikes Communications
November 12, 2013, VICTORIA (ISN) – The University of Victoria Vikes men’s basketball team retained their No. 4 ranking in the CIS polls this week after dominating the Fraser Valley Cascades last weekend, Nov. 8-9, to now post a 4-0 record in the Pacific Division of the Canada West.
This weekend the Vikes will travel to Kelowna, B.C. for a pocket of games against the winless UBC Okanagan Heat.
The Vikes currently post the conference’s top scoring defence, averaging 56 points-per-game thanks to quality contributions from fourth-year Chris McLaughlin. The six-foot-ten post has highlighted the stats sheet due to his efforts on both sides of the ball. This week McLaughlin was named the conference’s 2nd Star of the Week after a game-high 21 point-performance in the 70-65 win Nov. 8 and a 25-point performance the next night in the 74-55 win. In addition, on Nov. 9 McLaughlin was perfect in all field attempts and free throws the entire night.
Despite McLaughlin’s stellar start to the 2013-14 season, the Vikes have shown their depth and ability to lean on all members of the squad. Fifth-year forward Terrell Evans is no doubt the team’s most exciting player to watch. The Las Vegas native leads the team with an average of 19.3 points-per-game and has been one of the Vikes’ top-two scorers in all seven pre-season games, as well as all four regular season games.
“Terrell and Chris have definitely carried us in scoring but we still need to decrease the number of turnovers,” said Vikes head coach Craig Beaucamp. “It’s the Canada West and this weekend will be another gritty pair of games. It’s tough to win on the road in any games in this conference and we need to limit turnovers or that will catch up with us.”
Beaucamp’s squad will no doubt need to bring grit along side their already top-notch defence that has been largely led by third year Reiner Theil.
“Reiner is arguably the top defensive contributor in the conference,” added Beaucamp, whose team leads the Canada West with an offensive rebound percentage of 0.444. “Reiner draws the toughest defensive assignment every game and his efforts aren’t always reflected on the stats sheet but he has been a consistent performer for us.”
Outside of the trio of Evans, McLaughlin and Theil, the Vikes have rolled through that includes contributions of second year Kyle Peterson, senior John Woldu. Both Peterson and Woldu have picked up at the point after the sudden loss of rookie point guard Marcus Tibbs, who suffered an injury just before the Fraser Valley series.
“Injuries happen and it’s just part of the game,” mentioned Beaucamp following Tibbs’ injury. “Every night we have been pretty consistent defensively and doing a good job rebounding. Consistency gives us a good chance but we need to continue to keep finding our identity. It is a long season.”
The Vikes can also look to senior Ryan Erikson and rookies Jordan Charles and Patrick Pilato when needed.
UBC Okanagan have yet to find a win this season despite strong performances from Yassine Ghomari, who leads the squad with an average of 15.8 points-per-game. Ghomari led the Heat with 27 points in their 73-65 loss to Moutn Royal on Nov. 8. The Heat lost both games to the Cougars last weekend, Nov. 8-9, and also suffered losses at home to Alberta and Saskatchewan Nov. 1-2. UBC Okanagan also rely heavily on regular starters Landry Ndayitwayetko, Mitch Goodwin and Greet Gill.
The Vikes, also Pacific Division leaders, will continued to build on that identity this weekend when they travel to the interior for two games against UBC Okanagan, who are 0-4 in the Canada West. The Vikes will play at 8 p.m on Nov. 15 and 7 p.m. on Nov. 16. Both games will be broadcast live at http://canadawest.tv