On the strength of their opening 10 minutes, the University of Alberta Golden Bears men’s basketball team propelled themselves back to .500 with a 71-51 win over the Victoria Vikes, Friday night, Jan. 15, at Saville Community Sports Centre.
Team-leading scorer Mamadou Gueye continued his prolific scoring with 18 points tonight, netting his 700th career conference point in the process to go with five rebounds. Freshmen Colby Jackson and Brody Clarke added 13 and 11 points, respectively.
It was a tale of two teams in the opening quarter, the Bears shooting at a 43% clip in the field, and nailing four of nine shots from beyond the arc, while the defending Canada West champion Vikes struggled at 23% inside the key and netting nothing out of seven attempts from long-distance.
Alberta also shot at 100% at the charity stripe while the Vikes didn’t even get a chance to shoot a free throw.
Gueye, getting five points in an early 7-0 run for the Bears, added a trey with three minutes left to push the Alberta lead to double digits, a difference that unfortunately for the visitors, the home team would never relinquish.
Yet Victoria improved their shooting in the second quarter to a much healthier 46%, but the Bears maintained their output to keep pace and continued to succeed from long-distance, taking a 37-22 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Former Canada West Rookie of the Year Gueye got it even higher to start the second half, scoring on a dunk play seconds into the third quarter before nailing a jumper 30 seconds after that. The Quebec City native added another four points for a total of eight in the quarter before sharing the spotlight with fourth-year forward Rav Dhaliwal, the Surrey, B.C. native sending up a soft finger roll layup before extending the Alberta lead to 20 to finish a 7-0 Bears run.
Though the Vikes fought hard to start the final quarter and potentially turn the game around, the Bears kept up their three-ball and killed all of Victoria’s momentum with two treys, leaving Alberta to reclaim an even record for the fourth time this season.
The two teams, 5-5 Alberta and 6-5 Victoria, meet again on Saturday, tip-off at 7:00 p.m. MT at Saville Community Sports Centre.