Cameron Doherty, Vikes Communications
VICTORIA – For the second night in a row the Thompson Rivers WolfPack used some late game heroics to stun the UVic Vikes men's basketball team and the hometown fans inside the CARSA Performance Centre. Joe Davis scored 18 points in the fourth quarter to lead the 'Pack to an 81-77 victory and the weekend sweep on Jan. 6.
"Obviously it was hard fought battle just like last night but at the end of the day the team that won both games deserved to win," said Vikes head coach Craig Beaucamp. "They got stops when they needed stops and scored when they needed to score and we couldn't string those combinations together. It's about executing the little things that get magnified in the fourth quarter and we got outplayed in the two fourth quarters."
The result moves both teams' records to the .500 mark on the season. The WolfPack improve to 7-7 to sit seventh in the conference, while the Vikes are now 6-6 and are just one spot back of the 'Pack.
The story of the game was a fourth quarter that saw the WolfPack turn a five-point deficit into their eventual four-point victory. A combination of some tight defence and clutch scoring led the 'Pack to their second straight come from behind win.
"It was a tight game, they went out on us a couple times there and we just stayed with the process. If that game went a little bit longer it could have been tied again, basically the clock ran out and we just happened to be up by four," said WolfPack head coach Scott Clark. "Hats off to Victoria, they are a quality basketball team with a quality coaching staff and we were very fortunate to come away with a win."
Davis scored a game-high 29 points in his 31 minutes on the floor and was the focal of point of the WolfPack comeback.
"He is a guy that can score," said Clark. "He made big plays when they were needed and that's what great competitors do; they like the opportunity to play in this type of atmosphere and those situations so I am happy for Joe."
Luke Morris added 19 points for the visitors and Mike Rouault rounded out the scoring with 11 points and six rebounds.
Jordan Charles was the standout for the Vikes as the fourth-year guard scored 18 points, going 7-for-14 from the floor. Justin Kinnear banged down low for 14 points and Scott Kellum shot 50 per cent from beyond the arc in back-to-back games en route to 11 points.
The night was full of wild swings in momentum, whenever either team looked to have an advantage, the opposition would answer before they could build an insurmountable lead.
A three-point Vikes advantage after two quarters was extended to 11 halfway through the third, before the WolfPack responded with a run of their own to send the two teams into the fourth quarter with the Vikes leading by just five.
After the WolfPack whittled away at the Vikes lead, back-to-back jumpers from Davis gave the visitors their first lead of the second half with just under four minutes left to play. The teams traded baskets through the next three minutes to leave the Vikes trailing by three with 30 seconds to go. The potential game tying shot from Kellum danced all the way around the rim before eventually falling out and allowing the WolfPack to secure the victory.
"Those things are going to happen, you just can't get in a situation where you are relying on that type of thing," said Beaucamp. "I've been doing this long enough that those kinds of things tend to even out, sometimes your shot falls and sometimes theirs do. Tonight they seemed to have the midas touch and made some big plays when they needed to."
Things don't get any easier for the Vikes after this difficult weekend. They are back in action on Jan. 13 and 14 for a pair of games against the 10-4 Manitoba Bisons in Winnipeg.
"We know that we can't feel sorry for ourselves, the season moves on. We have eight games left and are in the thick of a battle in a very close Canada West," said Beaucamp on how his team can regroup. "We know that the only people that are going to help us out of this are the people in the locker room."
VIC: 15-22-21-19: 77
TRU: 20-14-19-28: 81
VIC: Jordan Charles (18), Justin Kinnear (14), Scott Kellum (11)
TRU: Joe Davis (29), Luke Morris (19), Mike Rouault (11)