KAMLOOPS – A 15 point first quarter deficit was too much for the UVic Vikes men’s basketball team to overcome as they lost 78-71 to the Thompson Rivers WolfPack on Saturday, January 7.

“The first quarter we didn’t show up and respond,” said Vikes head coach Craig Beaucamp. “The guys showed some resiliency but we didn’t deserve to win the game, we have to be better early on.”

First-year guard Scott Kellum led the way offensively, going six-for-14 from the field for 15 points and adding five assists. Grant Sitton wasn’t able to replicate his big 30-point performance from the previous night but still chipped in with 12 points and six rebounds. Third-year forward Justin Kinnear was a force down low, scoring 11 points in the loss.

It was a first quarter to forget for the Vikes. They were outscored 23-8 by TRU in the opening frame and missed the first five shots they took.

UVic came out shooting the ball much better in the second quarter and layup from JJ Hamel Carey right at the stroke of halftime sent them into the break down just ten points.

After the two teams traded buckets in the third quarter the Vikes stepped it up a notch in the fourth.

A 14-point run spanning five minutes from the Vikes was keyed by a high-pressure defence that forced TRU to make 10 of the 22 turnovers they committed in the final frame.

With the game tied at 65 with just over three minutes left to play it was the WolfPack’s turn to find another gear, as they stretched their lead back to seven points with just over one minute remaining in the game.

There was no quit in the Vikes though, they stormed right back and a three-pointer from Kellum cut the deficit to just three points with 20 seconds left to play.

Thompson Rivers kept their composure from the charity stripe however, and ended up walking away from the game with the victory.

The loss drops the Vikes to a record of 3-7 on the season. It’s not all bad news for the team however, as the important win they picked up on Friday means they are just two points out of a playoff spot in an extremely close Canada West conference.

“We got a win so we will take that with us,” said Beaucamp. “This conference is very close and we have to take each game one at a time.”

The Vikes will get the chance to make up some ground on the teams above them in the standings when they travel to Kelowna, B.C. for a pair of games against the UBCO Heat on January 13 and 14.

8-19-22-22: 71
TRU: 23-14-23-18: 78

: S. Kellum (15), G. Sitton (12), J. Kinnear (11)
TRU: V. Iegorov (20), J. Davis (19), D. Rhodes (17)