by Cameron Doherty, Vikes Communication
Photos by Christian J. Stewart, ISN
January 27, 2017, VICTORIA, BC (ISN) – The UVic Vikes men’s basketball team rode shutdown defence and a big fourth quarter from Grant Sitton to a 72-63 win over the Trinity Western Spartans on Friday night inside the CARSA Performance Gym in Victoria
The win was the Vikes first on home court this season, improving their record to 6-9 and keeping their slim Canada West playoff hopes alive.
“Tonight offensively we struggled to score early on, but we had a chance and got a result because defensively we were solid, holding their field goal percentage down and winning the rebounding battle,” said Vikes head coach Craig Beaucamp.
Fifth-year Vike Grant Sitton was dominant when his team needed him the most, scoring 17 points of his game-high 26 in the fourth quarter.
“I think we just didn’t play strong enough defence on Sitton down the stretch, he took over and we let him touch the ball way too much, and that was the ballgame,” said Spartans head coach Aaron Muhic. “It was a pretty competitive game up until then, but I was proud of our guys and the way we fought, we had a chance to compete and that’s all you can ask for.”
While Sitton dominated on the offensive end, it was the defence that allowed the Vikes to register their first home victory of the Canada West season.
“You have to win games when you don’t score or play particularly well and we’ve had games where we have scored but haven’t defended and we didn’t win,” said Beaucamp. “Shooting and offence is precarious, it’s up and down at every level, so the only thing that gave us a chance tonight was the defence.”
The Vikes limited the Spartans to just 34.8 per cent shooting from the floor in the game, while also picking up ten more rebounds than Trinity Western.
“If you eliminate transition points and offensive rebounds, because those are easy baskets, then you have a chance to win,” said Beaucamp.
Sitton picked up his 26 points on 10-for-19 shooting, Scott Kellum chipped in with 17 points while JJ Hamel-Carey added 15 points and two assists.
Patrick Vandervelden led the way for the Spartans, scoring 19 points in his 34 minutes on the court.
“He’s come a long way, he’s not the biggest or strongest guy but I really felt like he fought for 40 minutes,” said Muhic. “You could tell he was ready to play right from the start.”
Vartan Tanielian scored 12 points, as he made two clutch three-pointers to try and keep the Spartans in the game, Pogos Trunyan also scored 12 points and added three assists.
Shooting 66 per cent from the field in the fourth and deciding quarter, the Vikes were able to take what was a five point lead after three and come away with the win comfortably. That was the only quarter in which either team shot over 50 per cent in what was a defensive battle.
The win bumps the Vikes record to 6-9, and moves them into a tie for the twelfth and final playoff spot with the University of Regina Cougars.
The loss for the Spartans continues what has been a difficult season for a team that is now 2-13.
These same two teams will be back in action tomorrow, Janaury 28, in the CARSA Performance Gym with a scheduled start of 7 pm. That game can be watched live on canadawest.tv