By Ardy Ramezani, Vikes Communications
VICTORIA, B.C. – The University of Victoria men’s basketball team was fell in a tight affair to the Manitoba Bisons 65-59 at the CARSA Performance Gym on Jan. 9. The split-series drops the Vikes to a 6-4 record while Manitoba improves to 7-3.
The Bisons out-rebounded the Vikes 56-39, including 30-15 in the fourth quarter, to allow themselves to hold on to a slim margin for victory in the final frame. Manitoba also had three players contribute double-digits to the scoreboard. Fourth-year guard AJ Basi and third year Justus Alleyn led the team for the second straight night with 17 points each. Fifth-year senior Wyatt Anders also displayed his presence on the court with a double-double of 10 points and 15 rebounds. The Bisons shot a low total of 17-for-34 from the foul line, including nine-straight missed free throws in the final minute of play.
The Vikes scored only two points in eight minutes of basketball in the fourth quarter, helping the Bisons carry a nine-point lead with two minutes left in the game. Three Vikes logged double-digits with fifth-year forward Mack Roth leading the Vikes with 18 points. Fifth year Brandon Dunlop and fourth year Grant Sitton and rounded out the scoring with 14 and 10 points, respectively.
“(Manitoba) picked up on the second chances and were quicker to the punch than us, especially in the fourth quarter,” said Vikes head coach Craig Beaucamp of his team’s opponents. “We struggled to get our feet under us and looked unsettled at times, but full credit to (Manitoba).”
Unlike the previous night, both teams spent the early minutes of first quarter on par with each other. Although halfway through the quarter, Dunlop pushed the Vikes ahead with his third basket from behind the arc, After a string of unsuccessful shots from the Vikes, Manitoba used it to their advantage to go on a seven-point run to overtake the Vikes 22-18 just before the second quarter.
The second quarter was offensively slower for both teams. Manitoba was able to maintain their lead over the Vikes for the majority of the time but a late offensive run by the Vikes gave the home team a two-point lead at half-time.
With only a few points separating both sides, the Bisons stepped up their pressure in the second quarter to outscore the Vikes. Manitoba’s Basi was the standout player as he logged 10 points against the Vikes’ defense to give the visitors a three-point advantage going into the final quarter.
In the fourth quarter, a huge drunk by Sitton early in the first minute seemed to spark the Vikes offense but Basi used his quickness to respond for the Bisons on the other side of the court. With few points separating the sides, the physicality on the court intensified as both teams fought for victory. Despite Sittons dunk early in the quarter, the Vikes were unable to successfully put up baskets, allowing for Manitoba to go on an eight-point run.
With less than two minutes remaining, Dunlop ended the run with a three-pointer to give the Vikes a hope of a late comeback. Despite nine missed free throws in the last minute from the Bisons, the Vikes were unable to capitalize on rebounds, allowing the Bisons to hold on to their lead to seal the victory 65-59.
Next weekend, the Vikes travel to Edmonton to face the Alberta Pandas on Jan.15-16 while the Bisons return home to meet the UBC Thunderbirds. Both games will be available for live streaming on pay-per-view at canadawest.tv.
SCORING BY QUARTER
UVIC: 18-11-15-9: 59
MAN: 22-17-20-12: 65