by Elizabeth Chan, Vikes Communications
VICTORIA, B.C. – The CIS No.5-ranked University of Victoria Vikes men’s basketball team were dealt a painful blow after the unranked Winnipeg Wesmen dealt a 72-69 stinger on Jan. 16 at McKinnon Gym. This is the Vikes’ first loss of 2015 regular season play, which drops the Vikes to an 8-3 record in the Canada West. The Wesmen improve to 6-5.
Vikes captain and fifth-year Chris McLaughlin earned his sixth double-double of the season with 17 points and 14 rebounds. Jordan Charles also hit double-digit scoring with 16 points, while Kai Greene and Hassan Abdullahi both had 10 points. The Vikes out-scored the Wesmen in three of four quarters but conceded 24 points on turnovers, most of which came in the third frame.
Winnipeg’s experience gave them the upset they needed at a pivotal time in the season. Fourth year and six-foot-seven forward Jelane Pryce stole the show with
a game-high 21 points, while fifth year Travis Krahn contributed 13.
It was a fast-moving first quarter that saw second year Charles lead the Vikes with seven-straight points, setting the tone for UVic early on. The Vikes defence kept the Wesmen shooting just 35 per cent from the field, ultimately giving the home side a 20-14 edge entering the second quarter.
Both teams were able to successfully execute in the second but it was the Wesmen that started to pick up momentum. Krahn had two treys drop for Winnipeg, while Pryce’s dunk silenced the near-capacity crowd mid-way through the quarter.
Six-foot-ten McLaughlin responded with a huge hang off the rim of his own and continued to be a handful for six-foot-nine Ryan Oirbans, who was tasked with guarding the Vikes skipper. Intensity was palpable across the court as both teams traded buckets and it was the Vikes who outscored the Wesmen, 22-21, in the second. At halftime, Victoria was up 42-35 and out-rebounded Winnipeg 20-9.
A change in defensive energy sparked a refreshed looking Winnipeg squad that went on to out-score the Vikes 27-14 in the third quarter. Their second-quarter momentum propelled them to stun the Vikes with back-to-back threes and another big dunk for their first lead of the game. Those efforts earned Winnipeg a 62-56 cushion entering the final stretch
Turnovers and missed rebounds kept Victoria off the board in the fourth, mustering up only 13 points, while Winnipeg capitalized for 10. In the final 26 seconds of play Charles put up a crowd-roaring three pointer to cut Winnipeg’s lead to two at 71-69. The Vikes intentionally fouled Krahn, who went one-for-two from the line and the Vikes ran their last possession with intensity. Grant Sitton was set up for the three-point but the ball hit only glass. Greene scooped the rebound but his sprawling lay up hit the rim and bounced out leaving the game 72-69 in favour of the Wesmen.
Both teams clash again Jan. 17 at 7 p.m. at McKinnon. The game will be broadcast with live video and stats at uvic.canadawest.tv.
UVIC: 20-22-14-13: 69
WPG: 14-21-27-10: 72
UVIC: Chris McLaughlin (17), Jordan Charles (16)
WPG: Jelane Pryce (21), Travis Krahn (13)