Victoria: Ryan McKinnon Pts: 22, Reb: 3, Ast: 1, Stl: 2, Min: 26
McGill: Simon Bibeau Pts: 17, Reb: 6, Ast: 2, Stl: 1, Min: 32
OTTAWA, ON—After each dropping the first game of the tournament, the McGill Redmen and the Victoria Vikes arrived in the Raven’s Nest with a new sense of stake. While the game was fairly close early on with both teams keeping pace, the Vikes slowly began to pull away and when forward Marco Dolcetti hit a three to distance the lead to 38 – 24, McGill looked to drag their heels a little.
McGill still stuck close throughout the end of the first half with a block from forward Michael White and a myriad of nice plays from Simon Bibeau. The Redmen’s #5 Bibeau seemed to take over his team with a deep three, a spinning two in the lane plus the foul and defensive efforts that lead to two straight steals. His efforts could not carry the team however and they trailed 50 – 39 at halftime.
Victoria’s Jeff Cullen opened the scoring with a smooth jumper and on defense the Vikes employed pressure system that continually resulted in steals that lead a fast break and odd-man drives to the hoop before McGill was able to set up their defense. Bibeau continued to make some tough buckets, but with the Victoria bench chanting “Defense,” Victoria centre (and Ontario native) Chris McLaughlin delivered a block on 5’10” point guard Oliver Bouchard to the delight of the crowd.
Victoria’s Ryan McKinnon continued to get wherever he wanted to go on the court including through the lane to fill up the scoring column with a game-high 22 points. Vikes guard Zac Andrus also hit a three at the end of the third quarter to lead 75 – 51. With solid fourth quarter play from team veterans Eric Casey and Jeff Spoor, and the continued efforts of Ryan McKinnon the Vikes lead by as much as 30 points ending the game up 91 – 64.
For the Vikes it was a statement game after losing to Windsor the previous game. Forward Marco Dolcetti said “we beat ourselves yesterday, handed them the game.” As the only team in the tournament from outside Ontario, the Vikes roster also consists of ten out of thirteen British Columbia natives with only one teammate from Ontario. Marco Dolcetti was fairly outward with his regional support describing “Oh for sure, there’s a lot of BC pride on this team, I think we’ve only got one guy from Ontario.” Head Coach Craig Beauchamp wasn’t so quick to attribute his teams image to a provincial pride, instead explaining “Yes we represent British Columbia, but I believe we moreso represent the University and the good name of our school than the province itself.”
The Vikes will take their newfound optimism with them when they run into the Carleton Ravens in the final game of the tournament while McGill hopes to steal a win from Windsor on Sunday’s matinee to avoid going home empty-handed.