Huskies host Vikes in crucial Canada West clash

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The University of Saskatchewan Huskies men’s basketball team will look to continue their winning streak this weekend when they welcome the Victoria Vikes to town for a pair of conference clashes.

The Huskies remained steady in the rankings after a sweep in Langley this past weekend over the host Trinity Western Spartans. Saskatchewan enters the weekend as the number eight ranked program in the nation while slotting in as the third Canada West team on the Top Ten.

It was a balanced attack for the Huskies on Friday in the opening game of the weekend series as all five of the Saskatchewan starters hit double figures in scoring, with Alexander Dewar leading the way with 19 points. Dewar followed up the effort with 22 points the following night to seal the series sweep.

This weekend presents a measuring-stick matchup for the Huskies, as they welcome the Vikes to the PAC. The Huskies and Vikes both will take the court Friday night with matching 8-2 records this season, as each look gain separation from one another in the fight within the Canada West standings.

The Vikes last made the trek eastward to Saskatoon in regular-season play in the 2014-15 season, with the Huskies upstaging the visitors on back-to-back nights to record the series sweep. Saskatchewan’s last regular-season loss to Victoria at the PAC came back on Nov. 24, 2012.

5 Things

1: Saskatchewan is off to its best start to the season since the 2013-14 season, where the club also began the year with an 8-2 record. This is the fifth season in Huskies program history where the team has started with an 8-2 record, with the four previous occasions resulting in a national championship appearance. (2013-14, 2010-11, 2005-06 and 1987-88).

2: Second-year guard Alexander Dewar, who was named a Huskies Blue Cross Athlete of the Week thanks to his performance in Langley this past weekend, has been on a tear as of late. The Saskatoon native is averaging 22 points-per-game over his last four contests.

3: The Huskies will have the opportunity to prove their pedigree over the coming weeks. Their five remaining opponents hold a combined 37-15 record, as opposed to their previous five opponents who hold a record of 17-37.

4: Saskatchewan has been proficient offensively this season with the program sitting in the top three of the conference in points-per-game, field-goal percentage and three-point percentage.

5: The pair of contests will serve as Victoria’s first visit to the PAC since the Huskies thrilling 82-80 playoff victory over the visiting Vikes in the 2017-18 Canada West Play-In Game, which saw Saskatchewan advance to the conference quarter-finals.

Scouting the Vikes

Five-time Canada West Coach of the Year Craig Beaucamp is in his 16th season as the head coach of the Vikes. Beaucamp is no stranger to Saskatoon, as the Burnaby, B.C. native is a University of Saskatchewan graduate.

Beaucamp has helped lead a resurgent Vikes program to a tremendous start to the season. While Victoria has qualified for the conference playoffs in three consecutive seasons, they are on pace for their best regular-season campaign since the program won their 16th Canada West Championship in the 2014-15 season, which stands as the most in the conference.

A balanced attack has paved the way for the Vikes success this season with six players averaging double-digit scoring, despite none being higher than 13.7 points-per-game.

Matthew Ellis leads the way for the Vikes in scoring averaging 13.7 points-per-game this season. Ellis had his best game of the season last Friday night, going for 22 points on 10-12 shooting.