by Ali Lee
January 8, 2014, VICTORIA (ISN) – The second chapter of the Canada West season continues this weekend, January 10-11 at McKinnon Gym, as the University of Victoria Vikes men’s basketball team hosts Saskatchewan and Alberta. All three teams are currently ranked in the CIS top 10 with the Golden Bears at No. 3, the Vikes at No. 5 and Huskies at No. 7.
Valuable points will be on the line this weekend as all three teams currently boast a 9-1 record and sit atop their respective divisions. The Vikes have a six-point advantage over the 6-5 Thompson Rivers Wolfpack who are in second in the Pacific Division, while Saskatchewan and Alberta are four up on Lethbridge who have a 7-3 record. The as-always competitive nature of the Canada West will continue to unfold as teams have just six weekends left before the first round of playoffs and a chance to qualify for the CIS Final 8, hosted in Ottawa March 13-16.
The Vikes ended their fall season with a split weekend with Trinity Western after a narrow 60-57 loss on November 29. The island squad bounced back Nov. 30 to dominate 85-59 against the Spartans to close out their 2013 campaign. Senior Terrell Evans has continued to prove his worth; leading the Vikes in five of their opening 10 games, while postChris McLaughlin has been a dominant force under boards, hitting double digits in several games.
Over the holidays, head coach Craig Beaucamp took the Vikes south of the border for two exhibition games just before the New Year. Despite conceding two losses in their series against Biola University and Concordia University, the Vikes game away with valuable experience. In the 69-61 loss to the Biola Eagles, McLaughlin put up 22 points, while Evans led with 18 in the 72-60 loss to the Concordia Eagles.
The Huskies are led by fourth-year guard Stephon Lamar, currently second in the conference for scoring, averaging 20.1 points per game. For the Golden Bears, senior and six-foot-seven forward Jordan Baker is the man to watch. The former CIS First Team All-Canadian is fifth in the conference for scoring with an average of 18.8 points per game. The Vikes’ Evans is sixth with an average of 18.1 points per game.
The Huskies and Vikes will tip off this Friday at 8:00 p.m. at McKinnon Gym, while the Golden Bears will visit on Saturday, January 11 at 7:00 p.m. Both games will be streamed with live video and stats at canadawest.tv
The 2014 Vikes basketball openers will be hosted in conjunction with the first-ever Vikes Nation launch. Vikes Nation is the community of active people who enjoy healthy living and who pursue excellence in sport. A special pre-launch party, featuring Olympian Simon Whitfield, will take place on January 9 at 5:30 p.m. at the UVic Bookstore, while a variety of activity is planned for the official launch on January 10. At half-time of the men’s basketball game, the three finalists for the Vikes Rally Song contest will perform, with the winner also being announced. Several prices and activations will be happening and all Vikes Nation members can show up, swipe and win.
For more information on Vikes Nation and the launch party visit vikesnation.com.