Strength in numbers was once again the story for the UVic Vikes men’s basketball team, as their bench outscored the Manitoba Bisons by 30 points en route to an 86-76 victory in Winnipeg, MB on Jan. 14.
“We knew there would be some bounce back from Manitoba, they are a really good team and have a couple very strong players,” said Vikes head coach Craig Beaucamp. “It’s a tough place the play, we knew after last night they were going to come out hard today and they did.”
The two wins that the Vikes recorded at the expense of the Bisons over the weekend move the team to a record of 8-6, good enough to be tied for seventh-place in an extremely close Canada West playoff race. The Bisons meanwhile, fall to 10-6 and now sit fifth in the conference.
The Vikes out-rebounded the Bisons 40-30 in the game, including grabbing six more offensive boards than Manitoba.
“Close games are about possessions, we ended up with seven more field goal attempts and that’s always a good thing,” said Beaucamp. “If you can win the rebounding battle and limit your turnovers to get more possessions than they do, the math works in your favour.”
Second-year guard Scott Kellum was on fire all afternoon long. The native of Issaquah, WA shot 11-for-17 from the field and five-for-eight from beyond the arc, scoring 27 points in the game.
“He hit a couple big shots for us early and it seemed like whenever we needed a timely basket he was able to make one,” said Beaucamp.
Jordan Charles had one of his strongest outings of the season, scoring 19 points in his 31 minutes on the floor. Hayden Lejeune added eight points and ten rebounds, while Taylor Montgomery-Stinson and Mason Loewen each put up eight points of their own.
“We got some big contributions from other people as well, Hayden Lejeune had probably his best half as a Vike in the second,” said Beaucamp. “He got some big rebounds, made some big plays and changed the game a little bit by rebounding and defending.”
The Vikes will now get set to play their next five games in a row at home. They kick off that stretch next weekend with a pair of games against the 7-9 University of Northern British Columbia Timberwolves on Jan. 19 and 20.
“Obviously we were quite disappointed after last weekend, we dug ourselves into a little bit of a hole,” said Beaucamp. “We knew that they only people that were going to help us were the people in our locker room and we came out with two big road wins. This sets us up for some really important home games starting with UNBC next week.”
VIC: 24-22-20-20: 86
MAN: 23-19-19-15: 76