The victory not only gave the Vikes the weekend sweep over the Bisons, but also ran their Canada West winning streak to six-straight games. The last time the team dropped a regular season game was all the way back on November 18, 2017.
That winning streak has vaulted the Vikes all the way into a tie for fourth in the conference with a record of 10-4 on the season. The Bisons meanwhile, drop to a record of 8-8 and are in a tie for eighth-place.
“The season is so long and the race in the middle of the pack is so tight that you can’t get too high or too low, you just have to try and find advantages against every team you play,” said Vikes head coach Dani Sinclair.
As is expected whenever a team hits 90 points, multiple players made large contributions in the victory.
Third-year forward Katie Langdon had her strongest offensive game of the season with 15 points and ten rebounds.
“Manitoba doesn’t have a true big and we wanted to get Katie going right off the bat,” said Sinclair. “She found a way inside and played an important role for us on the boards and defensively as well.”
Calli McMillan was also strong in the afternoon contest, recording eight points, seven assists and three rebounds.
“Calli found advantages against bigger players off the dribble and played a really nice role for us off the bench, especially with Kristy (Gallagher) being in foul trouble,” said Sinclair.
While the Bisons were able to keep the game close throughout, the Vikes largest lead was only 13 points, the outcome of the game was never really in doubt. Manitoba never held the lead after the closing moments of the first quarter and even in the few minutes that the Vikes did trail early, the lead was never larger than four points.
“There were a couple times in the second half where it got a little too tight, when they got it down to six, but we were able to make plays offensively to stretch out the lead,” said Sinclair. “We kept giving up too many easy scores. We built enough of a buffer that we were okay but we can’t trade baskets like that, we have to get more stops.”
The Vikes will now return to Victoria where they will play their next five games inside the friendly confines of the CARSA Performance Gym. First up on that home stand is a pair of games against the University of Northern British Columbia Timberwolves on Jan. 19 and 20.
“In UNBC we are going to have a real tough test against two players that are dominant in our league so you can’t be thinking about whether you’re hot or not, the only thing that matters is what you do in your next game and they’ll be a tough test for us,” said Sinclair.
VIC: 25-20-20-25: 90
MAN: 23-14-19-22: 78
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 today in Winnipeg.
“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