VICTORIA – Grant Sitton put on a show for the second straight day on Saturday, knocking down 31 points to help the Vikes down Mount Royal 77-75 at the CARSA Performance Gym.
Sitton had 24 points in Friday’s 80-72 victory over Mount Royal before outdoing himself on Saturday. He’s led the team in points in six of their nine exhibition games in 2016.
Third-year forward Justin Kinnear added 15 points in the win while Wayne Tucker Jr. followed with nine points and a six rebounds in UVic’s third straight win to close out the preseason. Brett Layton and Derek Wolf led Mount Royal with 19 and 17 points respectively.
The Cougars made things interesting after Victoria took a 44-30 lead into the second half, outscoring the Vikes 45-33 through the final two quarters. But UVic was able to pull of the win despite what head coach Craig Beaucamp admitted wasn’t their strongest all-around game.
“I didn’t think we played great but I thought we got some good three-point shooting,” said Beaucamp. “Grant obviously carried us and bailed us out. It wasn’t necessarily good offence but it was great shooting, which obviously is one of the key ingredients for great offence.”
Sitton finished five-for-seven from beyond the arc and hit 12 of 18 field goals on the night. The Vikes as a team shot 43.8% from three and 47% in total while Mount Royal shot made just 26% of their three-point attempts in the game.
“Obviously your go-to guys have to be good and obviously he’s a real big piece for us,” said Beaucamp of Sitton. “But right now what we’re looking for is a real consistent second and third man and right now we’re probably a bit too top heavy on one guy.”
The Cougars were able to exploit UVic’s defensive errors and small mistakes to put up better stats in the second half, but the Vikes managed to keep them from getting the most important basket in the dying seconds. Despite their struggles, the Vikes were able to squeeze out the win.
“It’s important that you find ways to win those games—sometimes you lose momentum and it’s a hard thing to get back,” said Beaucamp. “When you get teams in this league in situations where you’re in control of the game you’ve got to make sure you close it out. Hats off to them, they kept battling and we just couldn’t seem to get any consistent stops or consistent offence.”
The Vikes will get their regular season started on Friday, when they travel to Regina to face off with the other Cougars of Canada West. Victoria will play two games in the prairies before returning home to face Calgary at the CARSA Performance Gym on November 11-12.