Images by Erich Eichhorn (ISN) / Story Ali Lee, Vikes Communications
February 19, 2016 Victoria, BC – The University of Victoria Vikes snapped their six-game losing streak after a 68-55 victory over the Brandon Bobcats on Feb. 19 at Victoria’s CARSA Performance Gym. The win improves the Vikes’ record to 8-11, while Brandon fall to 1-18 in the final weekend play for both teams.
Vikes Kai Greene is turned back after trying to go baseline with the ball – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
The Vikes were led in scoring by six-foot-nine Grant Sitton who drained three from beyond the arc to end the game with 22 points and eight rebounds. Jordan Charles stepped up to contribute 14 points, while Mack Roth had eight points and fellow senior Reiner Theil had eight rebounds. The Vikes were 9-for-25 from distance and had 37 points come from their bench.
Grant Sitton puts up a shot from downtown, scoring nine of his 33 points from beyond the arc – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
Brandon’s offensive success was led by the double-digit performances of Earl Thompson Jr, who had 19 points, as well as D. J. Jordan who logged 18 points. Thompson also had a game-high 13 rebounds.”I’m just happy that we got a win on the board,” said Vikes men’s basketball head coach Craig Beaucamp. “It’s been awhile so right now we will take it and hopefully we can finish it off on a positive note tomorrow. Defensively we were probably a little better than we have been and that gave us a good chance when we weren’t very good in the first half.”
Bobcat’s Earl Thompson Jr. gets behind the Vikes defense for two points – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
Jordan put up two-straight jumpers to get the visitors on the board first but back-to-back threes from Vikes Justin Kinnear and Charles got Victoria in front 6-4. Roth extended the home side’s lead to four but Brandon was able to respond through Thompson Jr. The fourth-year guard unleashed six points in an 8-0 run that left the Vikes trailing 14-10 entering the second quarter.
Rookie Tyus Barfoot showed some brightness for the Vikes as the six-foot-five guard put in a three to cut the Bobcats’ lead to 16-15, while he answered Chris Stanhope’s ensuing bucket to again keep the Vikes within one, trailing 18-17. Brandon’s Jordan drove the hoop and successfully completed an and-one play as Brandon had a 7-0 run to lead 25-17. Brandon continued to hit from the charity stripe, up 27-21, despite four points coming from Victoria’s Sitton. A huge rebound and layup from Brandon’s John Paul was countered on the next possession as Sitton stepped back to drain his first three of the night to cut the Bobcats’ lead to 29-24.
Mack Roth, playing in his second to last game as a Vike, looks for three points jumping over the outstretched arm of Earl Thompson Jr. – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
Jordan closed out the half with two successful free throws and then a big dunk to propel the Bobcats to a 34-26 lead at half time.
Brandon struggled to get on the board in the third, while the opposite was true for the Vikes veterans. Fourth year Sitton unleashed nine points as the Vikes went on an 18-4 run. Roth and Charles also hit from distance as Brandon struggled to penetrate the Vikes’ defence. Sitton finished the quarter with nine points as the Vikes out-scored the Bobcats 21-7 to grab a 47-41 margin entering the final stretch.
Fifth-year Vike Brandon Dunlop, playing in his final weekend of games, opened the fourth quarter with a three pointer to send the Vikes up 52-41. It didn’t stop there as Sitton had his third trey drop to lift the Vikes 55-43 with seven minutes to play. Thompson continued to be the most offensive threat for Brandon, while six-foot-eleven Paul was critical for the Bobcats to minimize Victoria’s chances in the key. Jordan hit nncontested three to get the Bobcats within 13, trailing 66-53, but their efforts would not prevail as Victoria took the game 68-55.
Vike’s Grant Sitton is challenged on his way to the net by Esmat Atem (11) and Pookie Sanders (5) – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
Young fans weren’t disappointed in their Vikes team, as they cheer their team to victory – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
The Vikes improve to an 8-11 record, while Brandon fall 1-18. Both teams will face each other again tomorrow, Feb. 20, with tip-off set for 7:00 p.m. Vikes graduating athletes Dunlop, Roth and Theil will be honoured just before their last game in the blue and gold.”We want to finish it off for the whole group,” added Beaucamp about tonight being the last game for three of his players. “This whole group will never be together again. It’s always like that when you finish a year. You always have guys graduate and move on so, we want to come out tomorrow and play hard for senior night and send those guys out the proper way.”