By Ali Baggott, Vikes Communications
Photos: Christian J. Stewart, ISN
September 29, VICTORIA, BC (ISN) – It was a combination of fresh faces and the energy in the gym that powered the University of Victoria Vikes to an 87-63 win over the visiting Guelph Gryphons on Day 1 of the Guy Vetrie Memorial Tournament held at the CARSA Performance Gym in Victoria.
A boisterous 1,737 fans rallied behind their Vikes for Game 2 of the tournament that earlier saw seven-time defending U SPORTS national champions, the Carleton Ravens, come back to edge the Concordia Stingers 82-79.
The Vikes were 11-for-28 from distance and shot 75 per cent from the line on 16 attempts, while Mason Loewen had a game-high 18 points. Justin Kinnear logged 13 points and four rebounds, while Jason Scully and Hayden Lejeune each had 10 points.
“I thought we did a good job in transition and capitalizing on some turnovers and getting out and getting some easy baskets,” said Craig Beaucamp, Vikes men’s basketball head coach. “The game ebbed and flowed a bit. At times we were happy with the three and maybe didn’t attack the basket as much as we want. Overall we got up and down and put a few points up.”
Guelph were led in scoring by Banky Alade who had 14 points and six rebounds, while Tommy Yanchus had 12 points. Daniel Dooley had a team-high seven rebounds to go along with his seven points as the Gryphons were held to a shooting percentage of 35 and were 8-for-22 from the three-point line.
Fourth years Lejeune and Loewen carried the Vikes for the team’s opening nine points including a 5-0 run to start the game. Loewen’s huge three in the sixth minute of play sent the home side up 12-5, in response to Dooley’s shot from beyond the arc. The Vikes continued to run the ball well and were able to create room on the periphery. Alade did most of the damage for the visitors, while back-to-back threes from Jordan Charles and Taylor Montgomery-Stinson sent the crowd into fits as Victoria doubled their opponents, up 18-9. Alade finished the quarter with eight points, while the Vikes were led by Loewen, with seven points as Victoriaentered the first break leading 24-15.
In the second, Loewen’s craftiness in tight set up Graeme Hyde-Lay on the baseline and the second-year guard delivered with a three pointer to extend UVic’s lead 29-15. After that though, the Vikes had a cold spell, allowing for some momentum for the Gryphons as Andrew Grant’s three-pointer silenced the crowd and cut Victoria’s lead to 31-18. Hyde-Lay had an eight-point quarter going two-for-two from three-point land while it was Kinnear’s outside shot with six seconds to go that gave the Vikes the 48-34 lead at half time. The Vikes out-shot the Gryphons 24-19.
Fifth-year Gryphon Taylor Boers added a three pointer to soften the blow in the third, down 57-41, but a follow three from Loewen put the Vikes back up by 19. Alade continued to dominate for Guelph as his six-foot-six stature gave him an easy bucket in the paint but the Gryphons could only chip away at Victoria’s lead as seconds later Jason Scully put up the Vikes’ tenth three-pointer of the night to lift the Vikes 65-47. Lejeune combined well with Kinnear to lead some quick transitions on Guelph’s miss shots as the Vikes dominated with a 73-49 lead at the end of the third.
Despite some quick ball movement the Gryphons seemed to lack a little luck seeing the ball drop. Aaron Nugent went for a huge dunk with lots of time but his ball kicked off the inside of the rim as Guelph continued to trail 80-51 in the fourth quarter. Guelph finally had a shot drop as Yanchus hit from the perimeter to cut UVic’s lead to 26, but the Vikes were still in cruise control. Yanchus made another quick cut on a sideline inbound to put up a nice hook shot and Guelph trailed 82-56. Victoria’s Jaamel Slack had a huge dunk with less than three minutes to go kept the Vikes firing, up 86-61.
Victoria reached through their bench including the all-anticipated appearance for first year six-foot-11 center Eric Hegadoren, a former Victoria Harbourcats baseball player. The pre-season match up allowed both teams to test out their entire bench as both teams were equal in scoring, 14-14, in the fourth, while UVic came away with the eventual victory 87-63.
“Defensive transition we struggled getting matched up a bit overall we were passing pretty great for tonight,” added Beaucamp, whose team has the Ravens up next. “We want to get exposed often and early. We will see a very good team tomorrow night but its one game at a time and we will just have to see what happens tomorrow.”
Day 2 tomorrow, Sept. 30, of the Guy Vetrie Tournament in Victoria will put Guelph against Concordia at 5:00 p.m. and Victoria will host the Carleton Ravens at 7:00 p.m. The final day of the tournament is Oct. 1 and will have games at 12:00 p.m. (Carleton vs. Guelph) and 2:00 p.m. (Victoria vs. Concordia).
“I’m coming back after a year and a half of not playing and honestly the whole team aspect really got me going,” added senior Vike Charles, who took last year off from the Vikes due to injury. “This is a really fun team and we are all giving each other confidence the whole time…My role is being a leader as much as I can and I truly believe actions are bigger than words. I’m going to try and have my body language out in every game and I’m needed to take over at some point I’m going to try my best to do that to put my team in the best situation.”
Tickets for the Guy Vetrie Tournament are available at the door or online at govikesgo.com/tickets. Pay-per-view live video is available at canadawest.tv while live stats are available on the pre-season men’s basketball schedule at canadawest.org.
GUE: 15-19-15-14 : 63
VIC: 24-24-25-14 : 87
GUE: Banky Alade (14), Tommy Yanchus (12), Daniel Dooley (7)
VIC: Mason Loewen (18), Justin Kinnear (13), Hayden Lejeune (10), Jason Scully (10)