“That’s what we have been about all season, different guys stepping up at different times,” said Vikes head coach Craig Beaucamp. “At times it’s hard to know which way to turn, because we do have a lot of guys stepping up and making shots. Definitely our depth showed tonight.”
The win is the first of 2018 for a Vikes team that improves to 7-6 on the season. The Bisons meanwhile, fall to 10-5 and are now in a tie for fourth-place in the Canada West conference, four spots ahead of the Vikes.
Hayden Lejeune led the way for the Vikes with 15 points, but it was truly a team effort that led to the victory. Jordan Charles scored 13, Scott Kellum and Jason Scully added 11 apiece, while Mason Loewen put up a double-double with ten points and 14 rebounds. Justin Kinnear and Taylor Montgomery-Stinson rounded out the scoring with ten and nine points respectively.
Up 59-55 after three quarters, the Vikes saw a fourth quarter advantage slip out of their hands for the third game in a row when a Kieran Zziwa three-pointer with 4:30 left to play gave the Bisons their first lead since the opening five minutes of play.
Unlike their last two games however, the Vikes found another gear and were able to come up with some key plays in clutch time.
“We talked about it in the timeouts during the fourth, how we had been in close situations last weekend and we let two games slip away from us, so we talked about being determined and not letting that happen again,” said Beaucamp. “The guys found some ways down the stretch this afternoon to make some plays, get some stops, and come out with a hard-fought road victory.”
A Charles three-pointer with 2:55 left on the clock gave the Vikes back the lead and they wouldn’t relinquish it the rest of the way, en route to the victory.
The Vikes defence, one of the top-five in the conference, was a key component in the victory, allowing just two Bisons players to hit double-digits in points.
“Defence is the thing that gives us a chance every night,” said Beaucamp. “Even last weekend, outside of the fourth quarter, we were pretty solid defensively which gave us an opportunity to win both those games. That’s the key cornerstone that gives you a chance night in and night out, especially when you are on the road.”
The Vikes will get the chance to climb their way further up the standings tomorrow when these two teams are back in action at 1 p.m. That game can be watched live on canadawest.tv
VIC: 20-17-22-22: 81
MAN: 11-21-23-21: 76