REGINA - The Victoria Vikes pulled away in the second half for a 95-77 road win over the Regina Cougars on Friday night at the Centre for Kinesiology, Health & Sport.
Victoria had a slim three-point lead at the half, but a quick 11-1 run in just over two minutes midway through the third gave the Vikes a double-digit lead. The Cougars briefly brought the deficit back down to five on a Brandon Tulltriple late in the third quarter, but that was as close as they'd come the rest of the night. Victoria simply ran away with it in the fourth, scoring 22 of the first 31 points in the quarter to seal the win.
Grant Sitton led Victoria (1-0) in scoring for the sixth consecutive game, finishing with 23 points to lead all players. Hassan Abdullahi was a perfect 6-for-6 from the field and scored 16, while Wayne Tucker, Jr. matched him with 16 points and Jake Newman came off the bench to collect a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
Rookie guard Johneil Johnson didn't start for the Cougars, but was second on the team with 23 minutes played and led the U of R with 15 points. Brandon Tull added 13 points with Travis Sylvestre also hitting double figures in scoring with 12.
While rebounds and turnovers were about equal in the contest, Victoria was the superior shooting team in the win. The Vikes were 33-for-65 from the field to finish a shade under 51% for the game, while the Cougars shot 39% including just 5-for-21 (24%) from three-point range. Regina also struggled at the free-throw line, hitting only 20 of 36 attempts (56%).
The Cougars will get a chance to square up the weekend series on Saturday night at the CKHS. Game time is again set for 8 p.m.