Pacific, Prairie leaders square off as Vikes host undefeated Wesmen, Bisons

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By Ali Lee, Vikes Communications

November 19, 2013, VICTORIA (ISN) – It is a battle of the best this weekend as the No. 3 University of Victoria Vikes men’s basketball team will host the Manitoba Bisons and the undefeated but unranked Winnipeg Wesmen.

Vikes, the Pacific Division leaders, and Wesmen, co-leaders of the Prairie Division with Saskatchewan, boast perfect 6-0 records while the Bisons are 1-5.

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The undefeated Vikes currently set the bar with the conference’s top scoring defence, scoring margin, field goal percentage, defensive three-point percentage and defensive rebound percentage. In addition fifth-year forward Terrell Evans and fourth-year post Chris McLaughlin are sixth and seventh, respectively, in conference scoring. Evans currently averages 17.3 points-per-game, while McLaughlin is at 16.8. Winnipeg’s Steven Wesley leads all Canada West scorers averaging 21.8 points-per-game.

After their six opening games the Vikes boast the conference’s top scoring margin of +18.3 with wins over Brandon, Regina, Fraser Valley and most recently UBC Okanagan.  Last weekend the Vikes defeated the Heat on the road 62-46 on Nov. 15 and 79-60 on Nov. 16. In game one of the double header McLaughlin led with 13 points and five rebounds, while Evans and third-year guard Reiner Theil chipped in with 11 points. Evans had 16 points, while second year Kyle Peterson had 12 points, nine from three-pointers.

Despite being undefeated the Vikes will have lots of work to do with 17 games still to go in the Canada West regular season. Last season the Vikes overcame injury and illness early in the season only to bounce back and grab a spot to the CIS Final 8. This season the Vikes have yet again faced injury battles as third-year point guard Marcus Tibbs was forced to sit out the past four games. The do-it-by-committee mentality will prevail for the young Vikes team who have now seen value in the depth of their bench including rookie Mack Roth and guards Jordan Charles and Patrick Pilato.

Undisputedly the team relies on the scoring talents of McLaughlin and Evans, while the defensive duties of Theil cannot be overlooked. Combine the athleticism of Peterson and distance shooting of Roth and head coach Craig Beaucamp and the Vikes are starting to shape and show their well-rounded identity.

SCOUTING THE MANITOBA BISONS
2013-14 Current Record: 1-5
2012-13 conference record: 14-8 (3rd Prairie)
2013 playoffs: 0-2
Key additions: Andre Arruda, Justus Alleyn, Dan Penner, Mike Holloway
Key returnees: Stephan Walton, Yigit Ozsayiner, Wyatt Anders, Amir Ali
Key departures: Jonar Huertas, Kevin Oliver, Braedon Speer, Xavier Smith, Davidson Joseph, Caleb Noel
Last Meeting: Canada West Quarter-finals Feb. 22, 2013 (W 76-70), Feb. 23 (W 86-70)

This season Manitoba will be without six players that helped the Bisons qualify for the post-season in 2012-13. The Vikes hosted the Bisons in the quarter-finals, taking them in the opening two games, but Manitoba retain Canada West second team all-star and captain Stephan Walton. The point guard is complimented by the experience of of third-year forward Yigit Ozsayiner and fourth years Wyatt Anders and Amir Ali. Rookie Andre Arruda currently leads Manitoba with an average of 13.7 points-per-game, while Ozsayiner and second-year Amarjit Basi have combined for 138 of the Bisons’ 434 points to date. Manitoba’s lone win came on Nov. 2 iwt han 83-78 triumph over the Mount Royal Cougars.

SCOUTING THE WINNIPEG WESMEN
2013-14 Current Record: 6-0

2012-13 conference record: 14-8 (2nd Prairie)

2013 CW playoffs: 3-1 (CW bronze)
Key additions: Jelane Pryce, Ryan Oirbans, Tynan Reyes, Christopher Baxter, Kurtis Sansregret
Key returnees: Andrew Cunningham, Steven Wesley, Travis Krahn, Jordan Clennon, Jamar Farley, Sam Hattin
Key departures: Benny Iko, Nolan Gooding, Dominique Brown
Last Meeting: Jan. 11, 2013 (L 64-61)

The Wesmen are led by head coach Mike Raimbault in his fourth season and boast several returning players including seniors and co-captains Andrew Cunningham and Steven Wesley.  Wesley currently leads the team with an average of 21.8 points-per-game, while fourth-year guard Travis Krahn follows with an average of 10.8. Wesley also leads the team in three-point percentage (.500), and defensive rebounds and has logged 193 minutes of the available 240 in six games. Last weekend the Wesmen swept the Lethbridge Pronghorns in two close-margin victories, 83-81 on Nov. 16 and 78-74 on Nov. 17. 

Both games will be broadcast live at http://canadawest.tv

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