by Ardy Ramezani, Vikes Communications
(ISN) – VICTORIA, B.C. – The University of Victoria Vikes men’s basketball team captured a 91-80 victory over the Lethbridge Pronghorns despite trailing much of the first half of the game. The CIS No. 7-ranked Vikes improve to an 11-4 record while the Pronghorns drop to 6-9.
The Vikes were led by fifth-year Chris McLaughlin who posted 28 points, scoring 26 of those in the second-half of play. Also scoring double digits were second-year Jordan Charles and Seattle-nativeMarcus Tibbs, logging 16 and 13 points, respectively.
The visiting Pronghorns had the home team on edge for the early parts of the game, resulting in double-digit performances from four players. Brandon Brine led the Pronghorns in scoring early as he posted 10 points in the early stretches but struggled to continue his strong start. However, much like the Vikes’ McLaughlin, the Pronghorns’ game-leading scorer, Rob Olsen, posted the majority of his total 22 points in the second half. Brent Watkins and Brine followed with 17 and 13 points, respectively.
The game opened with both teams coming out strong as the Lethbridge Pronghorns’ Brine drained a crowd-silencing three-pointer which was too quickly responded by Charles in the other end. That first quarter continued to display looks from outside as Lethbridge drained four baskets from behind the arc, while the Vikes hit five of their own. Brine led the Pronghorns with 10 points in the first quarter, not allowing the Vikes to come on top as Lethbridge grabbed a 27-19 edge going into the second.
Playing tough defence in the second quarter, the Vikes only allowed the Pronghorns to score 11 points. Back-to-back three-pointers by fifth-year Bishop’s transfer Jeremy Leonard-Smith and fourth year Tibbs brought the Vikes on top for the first time. Not to be out done, Pronghorns’ six-foot-ten centre Watkins made good on a timely bucket to get both sides even just before the half-time whistle.
Vikes point guard Tibbs led the Vikes with 13 first-half points while fellow fourth-year Theil had six rebounds in the opening half. For the Pronghorns, Watkins and Brine each logged 12 points.
After early foul trouble, six-foot-ten McLaughlin was able to return to the floor to give the Vikes the energy boost they needed in the third quarter. Despite scoring just two points in the first quarter, the senior captain put up 11-straight points as the Vikes out-scored Lethbridge 28-21 in the third. McLaughlin was attributed 18 of the team’s 28 third-quarter points. Victoria held a 66-59 lead going into the final stretch as foul trouble allowed the Horns to get back in it.
In the final quarter of play, the Vikes held their lead despite a strong showing by Pronghorns fourth-year guard Olsen, who put up 10 points in the final frame. His efforts were not enough as fourth-yearMack Roth peaked late to earn an important six points. Adding Roth’s points to Charles’ three treys and McLaughlin’s 10 points gave the Vikes the fourth-quarter performance they needed to seal the victory 91-80.
The Vikes and Pronghorns are back at it again tomorrow night in McKinnon Gym at 7 p.m. The game will be streamed with live video with stats at canadawest.tv.
UVIC: 19-19-28-25 : 91
LETH: 27-11-21-21 : 80
UVIC: Chris McLaughlin (28), Jordan Charles (16), Marcus Tibbs (13)
LETH: Rob Olsen (22), Brent Watkins (17), Brandon Brine (13), Jared Baker (11)