Ali Baggott, Vikes Communications
VICTORIA – The University of Victoria Vikes men's basketball team overcame what was once a 19-point deficit in the first quarter to take it to just a one-point difference with 11 seconds to go in the game. The Fraser Valley Cascades held on for the 98-94 victory to improve to an 11-4 record on the season, while the Vikes fall to 5-8 on Shoot for the Cure night.
The Cascades enjoyed an impressive double-double from point guard and second-year Vick Toor who finished with 21 points, 14 rebounds five assists and three steals. Parm Bains put up 20 pointes, while Andrew Morris had 19. NCAA Div. 1 transfer Sukhjot Bains had 15 points but got in to foul trouble mid-way through the game. Fraser Valley led for just over 37 minutes of the game and saw 10 threes drop.
"This was a strange game for us because we aren't a very high scoring team," said Cascades head coach Adam Friesen in his seventh season. "All the years I have faced Victoria they have always had a strong defensive game and you never expect to score in the nineties like we did tonight. Both teams seemed to have a rhythm tonight and were tough to defend."
Following a forgettable first quarter, the Vikes were sparked by some outside shooting from Aaron Tesfagiorgis who came off the bench to add 16 points. Fifth year Jordan Charles and third year Scott Kellum dominated the Vikes score sheet. Charles had five threes to finish with 31 points and seven rebounds while going 10-for-12 from the line. Kellum had 25 points, four assists, four steals and was eight-for-nine from the line. The Vikes finished with 13 threes.
"We just have to start better in our own gym," stated Craig Beaucamp, head coach of the Vikes. "It's a big game and we came out tentative and didn't play very confidently early on. We can't dig ourselves that kind of hole."
There was just over five minutes between the Vikes' first and second baskets of the game as it was evident early that the six-foot-six stature of the visiting Bains brothers could be trouble. Fraser Valley busted out to a 13-2 lead thanks to two three pointers from Sukhjot Bains. Cascades fifth year Mark Johnson drained a long three to push the Cascades' lead to 18-4. It seemed like Taylor Montgomery-Stinson and Tesfagiorgis were going to be the only Vikes to get on the board as Parm Bains watched his three fall to push the lead to 23-4 with less than three minutes to go in the first quarter. The visitors put on a show to seal a 26-11 first quarter score.
It was a different Vikes team that walked on to Ken and Kathy Shields court in the second quarter as the home side shot their way back in to the game out-scoring the Cascades 32-20 with seven three pointers. Tesfagiorgis came out of the break hitting two treys to start the momentum swing. Charles followed suit to get the Vikes down by 34-22. Tesfagiorgis dropped his third three after a sly ball fake that freed him up and had the Vikes down by nine, 34-25. Kellum and Charles continued to add to the trey parade and it was Kellum's second three of the night that tied the game at 41-41 with 1:15 left in the half.
Cascades forward Johnson put in two from the line but a clever bucket from Graeme Hyde-Lay had the Vikes even again at 43-43. The Cascades edged the Vikes 46-43 at half time with the Vikes enjoying a three-pointer shooting percentage of 70 per cent.
Toor was quietly keeping the Cascades in check as he had back-to-back hoops to get the visitors up 57-50 in the third. Toor's point guard counter-part Kellum put in a left-hand layup after driving up against six-foot-six Sukhjot Bains and on the next offensive play Kellum unleashed another three to get the Vikes back within two, down 57-55. The teams were even in scoring with 24 points each in the third quarter with the Cascades edging the Vikes 70-67 despite a Charles three at the buzzer.
In the second quarter Jake Newman fed Kellum a slick back door pass as the former Canada West Rookie of the Year put in the lay-up and drained the and-one free throw. Morris was rewarded for his efforts in the key to keep the Cascades up 72-70. Charles and Sukhjot Bains then traded threes to keep the scoring pace high. Parm Bains then had two three pointers fall as the Casacdes enjoyed a 6-0 run and an 81-73 lead with just over seven minutes to go in the frame.
Parm Bains stepped up strong in the fourth, with Sukhjot Bains parked on the bench with four fouls, lifting the Cascades 95-90 late in the game. With 47 seconds on the clock, Kellum went to the line in bonus and continued his solid scoring from the stripe to leave the Vikes down just 95-92. Morris shot the ball too late and the Cascades' shot clock violation left the Vikes in possession with 19 seconds and it was Kellum under the hoop that drained the clutch layup to get within one.
The final seconds were momentous as Cascades senior Johnson was one-for-two from the line and the rebound went in the Vikes' favour with as ideal a situation as it could get. The resulting Jake Newman pass to Jason Scully didn't connect and Daniel Adediran tore down the court and ended up sealing the game with two free throws for a 98-94 Cascades win.
"Whenever you come to Victoria you know it is going to be a tight one," commented Friesen on the final moments of the game. "We are very pleased to be able to pull out a win here tonight. They are well coached ball club and we will have to work even harder tomorrow if we want to get another win."
The Vikes and Cascades will rematch tomorrow, Jan. 12, at the CARSA Performance Gym with tipoff at 7:00 p.m. The game will be webcast live at canadawest.tv and tickets are available online at govikesgo.com/tickets. The Vikes will host their final home games, Feb. 1-2, against the MacEwan Griffins.
"We can't think about tonight's game just like last week. It's the next game and a big game. Win or lose it doesn't change anything for tomorrow. It's just as big a game as it was tonight and we have to be ready."
UFV: 26-20-24-28 : 98
VIC: 11-32-24-27 : 94
UFV: Vick Toor (21), Parm Bains (20), Andrew Morris (19)
VIC: Jordan Charles (31), Scott Kellum (25), Aaron Tesfagiorgis (16)