by James Nielsen, Vikes Communications
February 23, 2014, VICTORIA (ISN) – After a convincing victory in game two of their Canada West quarterfinal series, the University of Victoria Vikes men’s squad returned to action February 23 at McKinnon Gymnasium in a do-or-die game three against the Winnipeg Wesmen. The Vikes picked up on offence where they left off the night previous, posting a 76-63 win to complete the series comeback.
Fifth-year Vike Terrell Evans led his squad with 23 points and nine rebounds, while teammate Chris McLaughlin picked up his second double-double of the weekend with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Vike Marcus Tibbs put up 13 points in the contest.
Winnipeg’s Steven Wesley also collected a double-double after a 17-point game where he also collected 10 rebounds. Wesmen guard Andrew Cunningham posted 15 points while Jordan Clennon rounded out the top-3 Winnipeg scorers with eight points.
The first quarter saw the Vikes continuing their strong play from the night previous, spreading out offence among six different players. Third-year transfer Tibbs opened the quarter up with seven points and added three assists in the form of no-look passes to teammates.
The Vikes began to build their lead midway through the quarter, going on an 8-0 run that forced Winnipeg head coach Mike Raimbault to call a timeout. Both sides would exchange baskets in the remaining four minutes of play.
Fourth-year forward McLaughlin was strong again in the paint for the Vikes, contributing seven of the Vikes 16 first-quarter points from inside the key.
Winnipeg struggled in the opening quarter, shooting just 20-percent from the field, while regular season leading scorer Wesley put up just three points for the Wesmen despite leading all players in floor time with 10 minutes.
A pair of layups to open the second quarter saw the Vikes building their biggest lead of the game to that point at 32-12. The teams exchanged baskets, with Evans posting eight points that included a pretty play off an Andrew Cunningham turnover that Evans neatly placed into the basket. The teams headed into the break with the Vikes holding a 46-31 lead.
After shooting 55-percent in the first half, the Vikes offence came to a halt in third quarter, with Winnipeg stringing together an 11-0 run that cut the Vikes lead to just nine points after holding a 24 point lead in the second quarter. The run forced Vikes head coach Craig Beaucamp to call a timeout of his own.
Victoria’s accuracy from the field dropped to 45-percent following the third, with the home side posting just 11 points to Winnipeg’s 17. The two teams would head into the final frame with the Vikes leading 58-48.
Victoria’s Tibbs set the tone early in the fourth with back-to-back baskets for the Vikes. Despite answering back with scores of their own, Winnipeg was unable put a stop on leading scorers Evans and McLaughlin, who rebounded with strong fourth quarter performances.
The Vikes put up a total of 18 points in the final frame of play, completing the series comeback with a 76-63 game three win. The series victory qualifies the Vikes for a spot in the Canada West Final Four, Feb. 28 – Mar. 2.