Big third quarter propels Vikes to first win of the season

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VICTORIA – A 35-8 advantage in the third quarter of play powered the UVic Vikes men’s basketball team to a dominant 81-52 victory over the visiting UBCO Heat inside the CARSA Performance Gym on Oct. 28.

“In the first half we were still kind of fighting ourselves in the sense that we were just grinding, because we didn’t have our best effort last night I think tonight we felt a little bit of pressure to get a result,” said Vikes head coach Craig Beaucamp. “When we hit a couple shots in the third quarter we started to play the way that we have been playing throughout most of the pre-season.”

Eight players scored at least eight points in the game for the Vikes as the team’s depth shone in the victory.

“Guys came in and played well, which gave us more of an opportunity to get people into the game,” said Beaucamp. “Today everybody came in, contributed and built on the lead that we had.”

Fourth-year forward Justin Kinnear led the way for the Vikes with 17 points and four rebounds. Mason Loewen added 11 points of his own while Jordan Charles finished with nine points, six assists and seven boards on the night.

Some fresh legs off the bench led the way for the Heat as the team struggled to find their rhythm offensively, shooting just 30. 9 per cent as a team.

Owen Keyes led the team with 11 points and four assists, Justin Melynchuk added 10 points and four assists while Triston Matthews rounded out the scoring with nine points and seven rebounds.

“It’s a bit bittersweet right now,” said Heat head coach Pete Guarasci of his team’s weekend. “I’m sure Monday morning that I’ll feel better about the weekend but right now it’s a tough one to swallow.”

The two teams played to each other to a stalemate throughout the first half, ending the opening frame tied at 15 and the Vikes up just 34-30 after the opening two quarters.

“I thought we did okay in the first half but in the third quarter we got outscored 35-8 and a lot of those points were on uncontested layups,” said Guarasci. “We didn’t take care of the ball and weren’t ready to play in the third quarter.”

Everything started to click for the Vikes in the third.

The team played stifling defence to force the Heat into multiple turnovers while making almost every shot they took on the offensive end.

With the lead at 31 points after that dominant display in the third quarter the fourth was mostly academic as the Heat tried to will their way back into the game but could only get as close as the eventual 29 point deficit that the game ended at.

Both of these teams are 1-1 after their first weekend of play and will be back in action next week.

The Heat return to Kelowna where they will play a pair of games against their rivals from Thompson Rivers on Nov. 4 and 5.

The Vikes meanwhile will hit the road for back-to-back games against the Brandon Bobcats on Nov. 3 and 4.

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