By Ardy Ramezani, Vikes Communications
(ISN) – VICTORIA, B.C. – It was the final regular season basketball game ever played on Ken and Kathy Shields Court in the University of Victoria’s McKinnon gymnasium and it was a win in more ways than just on the scoreboard. The Vikes men completed the weekend sweep over the Trinity Western Spartans winning 92-63 tonight, Feb. 14.
Both Vikes women and men didn’t disappoint in the night coined “I heart McKinnon” evening as a capacity crowd enjoyed two wins to close out four decades of Vikes excellence before the program relocates to the Centre for Athletics, Recreation and Special Abilities, CARSA, this Spring.
For the Vikes tonight, four players posted double digits on the score sheet. Fourth-year point guard Marcus Tibbs was the leading scorer, logging 20 points and senior Chris McLaughlin had 18 points and eight rebounds. Second years Jordan Charles and Junior Sesay were also heavy contributors, adding 14 and 11 points, respectively.
Spartans fifth-year seniors Denny McDonald and Justin Bakuteka ended their university careers with strong showings, both scoring double digits. Bakuteka logged 22 points, while McDonald had 14.
The Vikes bounced back from last night’s sleepy first half and were on top form from the opening tip off. Former Vikes greats Robbie Parris, Eli Pasquale and Gerald Kazanowski, whose jerseys hang in the rafters of McKinnon Gym, were all in the stands tonight. Feeding from their legendary predecessors all five Vikes starters put up early points in the first quarter to give the home team a commanding 28-11 lead after the first quarter.
In the second, the Spartans were able to log more points than the Vikes, out-scoring them 16-16, but it was not enough to play catch up. Six-foot-ten McLaughlin was key for the Vikes’ offence, posting 10 points and sinking a trey in the final minute of the half to leave the Vikes with a 14-point lead, up 44-30 entering the break.
A run of Vikes three pointers highlighted the early minutes of the third quarter as Tibbs nabbed two treys and Mack Roth shot another from behind the arc. Although the Vikes continued to lead, a back-and-forth affair was the theme for most of the quarter. In the final minute, third-year transfer Grant Sitton sank a jumper proceeded by a sizzling three to get the crowd on their feet. Naturally, Spartans veteran Bakuteka responded immediately in the other end with a three and a few from the line.
A dunk from McLaughlin started the last quarter and set the tone of the Vikes’ final tread to victory. First year Junior Sesay came off the bench to pace the Vikes with 11 of the Vikes’ 23 fourth-quarter points. The 92-63 final score line sealed the Vikes’ 2014-15 Canada West regular season. Victoria finish second in the Pioneers Division now, behind the Saskatchewan Huskies who swept both games this weekend.
This wraps up the year for the Trinity Western Spartans who finish 2-18. The CIS No. 7 Vikes will continue their trek towards qualifying for the CIS Final 8 but end their regular season with an 18-5 record.
The Vikes get a bye straight into the Canada West quarter-finals and will host the Alberta Golden Bears in a best-of-three series. Those games will take place on Feb. 27 (7 p.m.), Feb. 28 (7 p.m.), and, if needed, Mar. 1 (2 p.m.) at McKinnon Gym.
UVIC : 28-16-25-23: 92
TWU: 11-19-20-13: 63
UVIC: Marcus Tibbs (20), Chris McLaughlin (18), Jordan Charles (14), Junior Sesay (11)
TWU: Justin Bakuteka (22), Denny McDonald (14)