Cameron Doherty, Vikes Communications
VICTORIA – It wasn't always pretty but the UVic Vikes men's basketball team did enough to pick up an 83-76 victory over the visiting Saskatchewan Huskies inside the CARSA Performance Gym on Nov. 18.
"It was a grind, we used our bench in the first half and knew that Saskatchewan would be a little fatigued in the second," said Vikes head coach Craig Beaucamp.
The Vikes bench outscored the Huskies reserves 35-2 in the contest and four members of an injury-plagued Huskies roster – Emmanuel Akintunde, Lawrence Moore, Addison Dewar and Alex Unruh – played over 36 minutes in the game.
"They have a couple pretty good players that can create on their own and Unruh, Barker and Moore played awesome," said Beaucamp.
The win was the fourth in a row for a Vikes team that is now 5-3 on the season, while the Huskies fall to 2-4.
Scott Kellum scored a game-high 27 points in the win and the 2016-17 Canada West Rookie of the Year was on fire from the field, shooting six-for-11 and going 13-for-14 from the free-throw line.
Mason Loewen had another solid all-around effort, ending the night with 16 points, nine rebounds and four assists. Jordan Charles and Justin Kinnear rounded out the scoring for the Vikes with 12 points apiece.
Moore finished with 21 points in his 39 minutes of action on the night, Barker added 20 points and 12 rebounds, while Akintunde played all 40 minutes in the contest and finished the game with 14 points and rebounds.
The game was a tale of two halves, with both teams struggling to find an offensive groove in the first before exploding for 99 points combined in the second.
A defensive first half saw the Vikes hit just 36 per cent of their shots as a team while the Huskies were good on 35 per cent of their attempts from the floor for just 26 points.
"It was a clunky game, neither team shot the ball very well and both showed some fatigue from the night before," said Beaucamp. "Anytime you hold them to 26 points it's a good thing."
A tip-in by Barker as time expired sent the teams into the fourth quarter with the Vikes leading by just four points, but just like one night ago the Vikes were able to find an extra gear in the final frame that the Huskies couldn't match.
"When it came down to it, we seemed to have a little bit more punch," said Beaucamp. "We hit a couple shots in the fourth and came up with some stops."
A free-throw from Kellum gave the Vikes a double-digit lead with less than four minutes left and after a late Huskies push, Jordan Charles recorded an important and-one play in the final minute to put the game out of reach.
The bye week might not have come at the best time for the Vikes as the team will have next week off while they are currently on a four-game winning streak. They are back in action on Dec. 1 against the Alberta Golden Bears in Edmonton.
The Huskies also have a trip to Alberta up next on their schedule; they will take on the Golden Bears on November 24.
All of those games can be watched live on Canadawest.tv
UVIC: 17-17-20-26: 83
SASK: 13-13-24-29: 76
UVIC: Scott Kellum (27), Mason Loewen (16), Justin Kinnear (12)
SASK: Lawrence Moore (21), Joseph Barker (20), Emmanuel Akintunde (14)