“We couldn’t guard all night, we couldn’t get a stop from the first quarter on,” said Vikes head coach Craig Beaucamp. “We did some things offensively but we couldn’t get stops with any consistency.”
Grant Sitton put together yet another double-double as the fifth-year forward scored a season-high 32 points and picked up 10 rebounds. Justin Kinnear had a strong outing in the post for the Vikes, scoring 15 points from down low, while Hassan Abdullahi and Taylor Mongtomery-Stinson added nine points apiece.
Dejon Burdeaux scored 25 points while shooting 13-for-14 from the charity stripe to lead the Pronghorns.
“Burdeaux was in foul trouble again but he’s such a special player, and I just think he took over that second half,” said Pronghorns head coach Mike Hansen.
Elliot Sentance provided the Pronghorns with a dangerous outside threat, scoring 15 points while going four-for-four from beyond the arc. Mike Pierzchala rounded out the scoring for the ‘Horns with 13 points and six rebounds.
Grant Sitton was the story of the first half, as the Vikes swing-man had 21 points at the break.
“You have to give credit Grant, he was just trying to will them through,” said Hansen. “He brought great energy and compete, his energy permeated through his team and all of a sudden they were knocking down shots with confidence.”
A five point Vikes lead at the half was stretched out to as many as 12, before the Pronghorns found another gear halfway through the third.
“Offensively we had some moments here and there, but that’s not really our problem right now,” said Beaucamp. “To be a good team at any level you have to be able to defend and right now we have a real tough time guarding.”
A 14-point Lethbridge run erased the Vikes lead and gave the Pronghorns an advantage that they wouldn’t surrender for the rest of the night.
“Brett Warren doesn’t play much because he’s behind Burdeaux but he came in and pushed the tempo up for us,” said Hansen. “Once we got the tempo up in the third it changed the whole momentum of the game because we are an up and down team that needs to keep the tempo up.”
A late push from the Vikes got them to within five points halfway through the fourth quarter, but that’s as close as they could get, with the Pronghorns having an answer every time the Vikes started to threaten their lead.
The Pronghorns return to Alberta next weekend to take on the UBC Okanagan Heat on January 27 and 28.
The Vikes will remain in Victoria to take on the Trinity Western Spartans inside the CARSA Performance Gym on the 27 and 28.
UVIC: 24-21-21-15: 81
LETH: 23-17-32-22: 94