Braedan Willis, Vikes Communications
VICTORIA- The University of Victoria Vikes men's basketball team dropped their first game of 2019 in dramatic fashion to the Regina Cougars on Jan.4 at the CARSA Performance Gym in Victoria by a score of 82-79.
With eight seconds remaining in the game and the Vikes down 79-76, Scott Kellum drained a three point shot for Victoria to tie the game at 79. Moments later, with no time left on the clock Ben Hillis dropped a three point shot of his own to give the Cougars the walk off victory and was ambushed by his teammates in celebration.
"I felt we had that game in control heading into the final stretch but we didn't do a good enough job to close the game out and gave them a chance to win," commented Cougars head coach Steve Burrows, whose team held multiple double digit leads in the fourth quarter. "We definitely trust Ben and his decision making in that scenario. He didn't have much choice on that play but he fired it and he sunk it."
The loss drops the Vikes record to 4-7 on the season as they continue to fight for a spot in the Canada West playoffs. Jordan Charles scored a game high 18 points for Victoria.
"It was a very competitive game and we dug ourselves a bit of a hole. I guess it was good that we battled back but we kind of just have to forget just like a win or a loss and come out ready to battle tomorrow," said Vikes head coach Craig Beaucamp.
Greishe Clerjuste was the Cougars leader in points, dropping 21 on the night. The win improves Regina's record to 8-3 in the Canada West standings.
"The game had a bit of a weird flow today," added Burrows. "They established the lead earlier and forced us to battle back before that crazy ending."
Led by fifth-year Jake Newman and third-year Jason Scully, the Vikes jumped out to a 20-15 lead at the end of the opening quarter. Scully and Newman each dropped five points for Victoria while Myles Hamilton scored seven for the Cougars. An 11-0 run in the second quarter helped Regina wrestle the lead away from the Vikes to go up 30-29 just passed the mid way mark. From there, the Vikes and Cougars traded baskets but a last second three point shot from Regina's Brayden Kuski gave Regina a 41-37 lead at the break. Neither team had a player hit double digits in points before half. Carter Millar posted eight for the Cougars while Scully put up nine.
Regina extended their lead to nine over the Vikes half way through the third quarter. Hamilton sank back-to-back free throws and combined with an easy lay up from Millar the Cougars went up 55-46. With less than two minutes to go in the third, Kuski sank another three pointer for Regina, this time with just one second left on the shot clock. Kuski's clutch shooting helped the Cougars go up 64-52. Taylor Montgomery-Stinson answered with a three pointer of his own for the Vikes before time was up but Regina led by nine heading into the final frame.
Down by as much as 12 in the fourth quarter, the Vikes battled back to tie the game late off of Kellum's three pointer but the last second trey from Hillis gave Regina the victory.
The two teams will be back in action again tomorrow night in the CARSA Performance Gym at 7:00 p.m. local time. All games can be watched live on at https://cw.yaretv.com.
1 2 3 4: F
VIC: 20 17 18 24: 79
REG: 15 26 23 18: 82
VIC: Jordan Charles (22), Mason Loewen (12), Scott Kellum (10)
REG: Greishe Clerjuste (21), Myles Hamilton (17), Benjamin Hillis (10)