Zac Andrus– Pts: 14, Reb: 6, Ast: 2, Stl: 1, Min: 30
Kareem Malcolm– Pts: 14, Reb: 6, Ast: 1, Stl: 0, Min: 25
OTTAWA,ON-In the first game of the of the House-Laughton tournament, the University of Victoria Vikes used a strong third quarter to defeat the Guelph University Gryphons by a final score of 77-56.
Sophomore guard, Kareem Malcolm led the way for Guelph in his return to the hardwood after injuring his elbow last season.
The first quarter opened with a 3-pointer by Guelph’s Dan McCarthy, who was an All-First team selection in the OUA West last year, but the lead didn’t last long. A Michael Achaempong three-pointer gave the Vikes the 8-7 lead that they would only briefly relinquish the rest of the game.
Victoria looked like they were a team just starting to come together. This season the Vikes are attempting to incorporate nine new players, which Victoria Head Coach Craig Beauchamp says “our focus is not so much on the other teams, it’s more just trying to get ourselves sorted out… we’ve only been together for five weeks, so we’re just trying to get these guys playing together.”
In the meantime there were a few miscommunications, but it didn’t prevent the Vikes from surging ahead.
Vikes rookie Reiner Theil hits a three-pointer for Victoria to make the score 17-12, but Guelph regained some momentum. By the time Dan McCarthy takes it inside with an underhanded scoop layup across the lane, the Vikes lead is down to one; 22-21. Guelph #31 Jack Beatty then #5 Zack Angus hit consecutive threes for a 27-26 lead for the Gryphons.
But it was the last lead the Gryphons would see. 5’9″ Vikes point guard Zac Andrus continued to be successful by getting penetration for effective shots and offensive opportunities for his team.
the score was 32-29, but throughout the game the Gryphons shot 19-64 and could not overcome the poor shooting performance.
Victoria was also able to play big with a strong performance from 6’7″ Michael Berg, and 6’10” Chris McLaughlin who had a solid 9 points, 6 rebounds, one big block and shot perfect from the field (4-4 FG, 1-1 FT).
While the bigs locked down on defense, the guards were putting the game away with distance shooting by Michael Achaempong and Ryan MacKinnon to build the lead to 54-37 at the end of three quarters.
To start the fourth quarter, Guelph started playing a gritty comeback game but it was too little, too late and they could not shrink the lead. Kareem Malcolm scores, plus the foul, and hits a three-pointer to cap off a twelve-point second half, after notching just two points in the first half.
Ottawa native Thomas Armstrong of Guelph gets a cheer when he checks in, but the score is already 66-49 for the Vikes. Chris McLaughlin puts the exclamation point on the win with a put-back jam in the dying minutes of a strong tournament start for Victoria.
The Vikes will continue to use this tournament to “establish identity, both as a team and as individuals within that team just finding their roles and how to play best together,” according to coach Craig Beuachamp.
While these tournament games don’t affect the team’s record they are clearly important for chemistry building early in the season.
Guelph will play Bishop’s tomorrow, at 6pm in the Raven’s Nest, and Victoria will play the host Ravens immediately following the game at 8pm.