KELOWNA, B.C. – The University of Victoria Vikes men’s basketball team made it two wins in a row over the UBC Okanagan Heat with a 82-61 victory on Saturday night in Kelowna. The Vikes defeated the same Heat squad the night before on Jan. 25, 91-75.
Victoria used another outstanding shooting performance from distance to build a 10 point lead at halftime and never let the home team back into it in the second half. The visitors controlled the glass all night long, as they had 51 boards compared to just 40 for the Heat with 10 of those rebounds coming on the offensive glass.
Victoria improves to 8-10 and their postseason aspirations will come down to a two-game set with the MacEwan Griffins (1-17) next weekend on their home floor.
Four of the Vikes’ five starters finished in double-figures in terms of points, led by Scott Kellum who had 17 points while Jake Newman had a double-double with 14 points and 12 boards. Taylor Montgomery-Stinson (14 points) and Jason Scully (12 points) also did their fair share of work on the offensive end.
For the hosts, Aldrich Berrios finishes his career as the leading scorer in UBC Okanagan Heat program history and the second best three-point shooter in Canada West history in terms with 256 made. Following the game, the senior reflected on what his time with the program means to him.
The Heat closes out their Canada West season with a record of 7-13 as they will miss out on the postseason as they have a bye in the final weekend of play.
The Vikes started off hot from behind the arc once again on Saturday night as they hit seven triples in the first 10 minutes on 14 attempts to go up 28-21 after the opening quarter. The offence didn’t slow down for the visitors in the second as they continued to find quality looks both from the perimeter and in the paint and would build their lead to 46-36 at halftime. In the opening 20 minutes, the Vikes were 11-of-25 from deep as over 70% of their points in the first half came from the three ball.
Hafith Moallin made a driving layup early in the third to cut the deficit to just eight at 46-38 but this would be as close as the home team would get for the remainder of the evening. The Heat struggled for the majority of the third frame to find open looks as they scored just 11 points in the quarter to dig themselves an even bigger hole going into the fourth. The final score line read 82-61 in favour of the Vikes.
With one weekend of Canada West regular season play remaining, 10 of the playoff 12 spots have been decided, with Victoria in the mix as one of three teams vying for the final two postseason berths with Mount Royal and Thompson Rivers the other two teams. If Victoria wins either one of their games this weekend against MacEwan they will enter the round of 12. Mount Royal needs to win both of their games against Brandon to make their way to the postseason party. If Thompson Rivers loses just once in Calgary to the undefeated Dinos, their season will end and both UVic and MRU advance.
The Vikes will look to clinch a playoff spot next weekend when they welcome the MacEwan Griffins to the CARSA Performance Gym in Victoria for a pair of games on Feb.1-2.