Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
October 2, 2015, Victoria, BC (ISN) – Brand new shiny, $77-million complex? Check. First class opponent for opening game in said complex? Check. Electric atmosphere and sold out crowd of cheering students and alumni? Check. First win for the University of Victoria Vikes of the 2015-2015 basketball season? Sadly, for the 2,183 fans in attendance, not so much.
UVic’s Mack Roth (6), who would finish with nine points, looks for a way past Carleton defender Connor Wood (10) during Friday’s action at CARSA (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The Carleton Ravens put a damper on the first ever Vikes basketball game in the brand new Centre for Athletics, Recreation and Special Abilities (CARSA) by thumping the Vikes 80- 47 in the opening game for both teams of the 2015 Guy Vetrie Memorial Tournament.
Featuring private suites, a lounge area, vastly improved lighting and bowl seating around the entire court, the new CARSA basketball facility at UVic is an impressive venue for the Vikes to perform in (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The atmosphere at the start of the game rivaled that of any NCAA Final Four match-up, with a lound and boistrous student body doing their best to raise the roof, as well as welcome both the Vikes Men’s and Women’s 2015-2016 teams to CARSA, both of which were introduced prior to the game. A number of Vikes alumni spanning five decades were also brought out to help christen the new facility and the Vikes Cheer Team and new-look mascot Thunder were also in perfect form.
UVic fans were out in full force Friday, 2183 of them, and provided an electric atmosphere at the start of the game (Photos: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Sadly for the Vikes and all their fans, things went downhill pretty fast from there against the Ravens, winners of five straight and 11 of the last 13 CIS National Championships. The Vikes did manage to stay even with the Ravens early, ekeing out a one-point lead with 7:48 to play in the first quarter. In that time, Grant Sitton had the honours of scoring the first opening basket at CARSA for the Vikes, while senior Mack Roth added the first three-pointer, but it was all Carleton after that and they used their size and skill to pull into an 18-11 lead at the end of the first quarter and then extended that to a 34-21 lead at the half.
With bowl seating and stands now behind the baskets, opposing teams may have a more difficult time converting their free throws when they travel to play the Vikes (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
To start the third, the Vikes pushed back with a back-to-back three-pointers from Sitton to close the gap to 39-29 with eight minutes to play in the frame, but the Ravens corrected themselves, outscoring the Vikes 25-15 in the quarter to hold a 59-36 lead heading into the fourth.
UVic’s Grant Sitton (10) would find the going tough all game against a solid Carleton defence, but would end up leading the Vikes in scoring with a 10 point night (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Another strong quarter by Carleton in the final frame saw them continue to extend their lead, by as much as 35 points toward the end of the game, outscoring the Vikes 21-11 and finishing with the 80-47 win.
UVic’s Reiner Theil leads the fast break up court during first half action Friday. Theil would finish with six points on the night (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The Ravens shot the lights out in the second half, hitting 19 of 34 field goals (55.9%) and four of eight (50%) three-pointers. For the game, the Ravens were 33-74 (44.6%) from the field and 5 for 19 from three point range (26.3%).
Fifth year player Brandon Dunlop (left) made his return to the Vikes Friday and tied for the lead in Vikes scoring with a 10-point night (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Conversely for the Vikes, they were a meager 15 of 58 (25.9%) from the field for the game and 6-22 (27.3%) from the three-point stripe, numbers that simply won’t cut it against a powerhouse like Carleton.
UVic’s Hassan Abdullahi (14) drives the lane against a pair of Raven defenders including Connor Wood and Mitchell Jackson (15) (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The Ravens also dominated the game in close, outscoring the Vikes 42-4 from the paint and 16-0 on second chance opportunities. The Ravens also out rebounded the Vikes 43-30.
The Vikes, includung guard Derrick Twiggs, found the Carleton defence, including Ryan Ejim (45) and Cameron Smythe (21), to be nearly impenetrable Friday, scoring just four points from in the paint (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
To the Vikes credit though, Head Coach Craig Beaucamp did spread out the playng time among his 12 dressed players, with only two seeing less than ten minutes of floor time. Returnees Sitton and fifth year player Brandon Dunlop led the Vikes in scoring with ten points each, while another fifth year player, Mack Roth chipped in with nine. On the boards, Reiner Thell led the Vikes with eight rebounds. Rookie Taylor Montgomery-Stinson put up a big three late in the game and finished the night with five points in his debut.
Another shot, another rebound for the Ravens, who out-rebounded Victoria 43-30 for the game and outscored the Vikes 16-0 on second chance opportunities (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
For Carleton, three players hit double figures, including fourth year player Kaza Kajami-Keane who led the way with 16 points, followed by Ryan Ejim with 15 and Marcus Anderson with 13, including going 3-4 from the three-point line. Cameron Smythe, with 11 and Ejim, with 10, led the Ravens in the rebound category.
UVics Brandon Dunlop drives the baseline against the Raven’s Cameron Smythe in a bid for two of his 10 points on Friday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Next up , the Vikes will battle the Saskatchewan Huskies at 7:00 pm on Saturday and the Fraser Valley Cascades at 2:00 pm Sunday. The Ravens play the Cascades at 3:00 pm Saturday and on Sunday, meet the Huskies at noon.
In earlier action Friday, the Huskies defeated the Cascades 91-82 (see article here).