ABBOTSFORD – Defensive lapses proved costly for the University of Victoria Vikes on Saturday night, as the UFV Cascades pulled away in the second half for an 89-79 victory.
What was a close game for the first half of play turned into a runaway win for the Cascades, who came back for a surprising win the night before. UFV outscored the Vikes 48-41 in the final half, with Denver Sparks-Guest (19 points) and Vijay Dhillon (17 points) leading the way on the night.
For the Vikes, Justin Kinnear led the way on offence with 24 points while Hassan Abdullahi added 10 rebounds for the road team. Kinnear went nine-for-15 from the field for his best offensive performance of the year, but it wasn’t the offence that head coach Craig Beaucamp was worried about.
“I didn’t think we played great tonight,” said Beaucamp. “We were chasing the game from the start and we didn’t seem to have any traction defensively.”
Defence was the word of the night for Victoria, who were outrebounded 50-39 on Saturday. Each team had nine steals, but UFV’s bench was allowed to pour in 35 points compared to UVic’s five.
For Beaucamp, it was clear what the Vikes need to focus on the rest of the season.
“Guarding and rebounding is a really kill easy for us right now,” said Beaucamp. “We can’t get consistent stops and we’re giving up too many points. It’s not really about offence for us right now.”
Despite the back-to-back losses, Victoria still has a chance to control their fate heading into the final weekend of the season. With the playoff-bound Winnipeg Wesmen coming to town, the Vikes can pump up their RPI by picking up points in what’s turning into a wild race to the finish.
“There’s no messaging besides get it done,” said Beaucamp. “Right now it’s about less talk and more action. We’re just going to have to find more was to get stops. We have to have a short memory.”
UVIC: 21-17-15-26: 79
UFV: 24-17-26-22: 89