VICTORIA – A strong, athletic McMaster team was too much to handle for a young UVic team on Saturday night, as the Marauders rode strong shooting to a 76-65 victory over the Vikes at the CARSA Performance Gym.
The win ensured that McMaster would finish the tournament undefeated, the clear winner in a tough field that included the Vikes, McGill and Regina. The Vikes finished 1-2, finishing with two straight losses, but head coach Craig Beaucamp saw some positives in Saturday’s game.
“I saw considerable growth over the weekend,” said Beaucamp. “I thought today was an important day for us to come out and have a bit of a bounce-back and it sounds kind of odd when you don’t win a game but we did have a bounce-back today. I thought we showed a lot of energy and we showed a lot of fight and we’ve got to have an open mindset and understand that there’s going to be some bumps along the way.”
The Marauders were lethal from beyond the arc on the day, led by third year Connor Gilmore and fifth year Lazar Kojovic. Gilmore, who finished with a game-high 28 points, connected on seven of 10 three-point attempts while Kojovic was five-for-six from the deep end and checked out with 18 points.
“Gilmore doesn’t need much space, he’s playing like a five-man for them at times so he’s a real difficult matchup,” said Beaucamp. “Just a hand in the face isn’t good enough – you’ve really got to run him right off the three-point line. It was only late in the game where we finally got that in and we actually got up and contested.”
But it was the play of the youngsters that got the attention of Beaucamp.
“Well I think the future’s quite promising,” he said when asked about the play of some of UVic’s newest additions. “We’ve got guys coming in and doing some pretty good things. When you think about it we only have one fifth year in the whole lineup and after that I think we’ve only got a few fourths and everybody else is three years and younger. So there’s lots of promise there and lots of fight.
“For us it’s a matter of figuring out what can this group do what can’t they do. We obviously have to add some things and keep building.”
It may just be preseason, but UVic kept the foot on the pedal until the end, outscoring the Marauders in the fourth after trailing in every other quarter. That was a positive for the Vikes on a night that saw them put themselves in a hole with some careless mistakes.
“We had a lot of really silly breakdowns. It wasn’t about guarding in action it was just about losing our guy,” said Beaucamp. “But we kept grinding away. It’s a process.”
Next up for the Vikes is the House Laughton Tournament, hosted by Carleton from October 14-16. The Vikes will then play a pair of games against Mount Royal before kicking off the season against Regina on November 4.
MAC: 25-24-20-7: 76
UVIC: 15-16-19-15: 65
MAC: C. Gilmore (28), L. Kojovic (18), D. McCulloch (16)
UVIC: J. Newman (18), G. Sitton (14), W. Tucker Jr. (11)