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Vikes tune up for home stretch
UVic hoops teams work on game in post-Christmas tournament play
Fresh off some tough tournament outings against eastern opponents, the University of Victoria Vikes basketball teams get back to the business of of league play this weekend at McKinnon Gym.
The Vikes men, 10-1 in Canada West action yet still a game behind the undefeated UBC Thunderbirds in the Pacific division, take on the Trinity Western Spartans (7-5) at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
The Vikes women, 7-4 and in third spot, take on the 4-8 Spartans at 6 p.m. both nights.
Last weekends Guy Vetrie Memorial Invitational mens tournament saw the Vikes lose 58-50 to the Concordia Stingers at McKinnon on Saturday, two nights after UVic edged the Queens Golden Gaels 73-72 on a buzzer-beating three-pointer by Brandon Ellis.
Nationally No. 6-ranked Concordia, which upset No. 2 UBC 84-70 the night before, left the No. 4 Vikes with their hands full.
Concordia never trailed and lunged ahead by as many as 11 points in the first half, but saw their lead dwindle to 31-25 by halftime.
Led by the hot-shooting tandem of Dwayne and Damian Buckley, who finished with 17 and 11 points, respectively, the Stingers held the Vikes to just three points by the 6:55 mark of the second half and built a 40-28 lead.
Vikes guard Steve Moore drained a pair of threes and hit another jumper in a eight-and-a-half minute span to help narrow the gap, but the Vikes never got closer than seven points. Moore led the Vikes with 12 points, followed by Josh Whyte with nine.
In the Dec. 28 game, Queens clung to a slim lead for much of the second half, before Ellis hit a three to pull the Vikes ahead 70-67 with 1:39 left. Queens forward Michel Leger took matters into his own hands as the clock wound down, hitting a jump shot for two then a three-pointer with seven seconds left to give his team a 72-70 advantage.
Following a UVic timeout with three seconds remaining, Whyte fed the ball to Ellis who launched a perfect shot from outside the arc to send the packed house into a frenzy.
Graeme Bollinger led the Vikes with 19 points and nine rebounds, followed by Ellis with 18 and Whyte with 15 points each. Rob Kinnear pulled down nine boards as well.
Women go 1-2 at Concordia
A few hours after the Stingers men handed the Vikes a home court loss, the women Stingers downed UVic 64-52 at the Concordia-Reebok Invitational in Montreal.
The Vikes were coming off a narrow 59-58 loss to the Ottawa Gee Gees Saturday, having opened the tournament with a 54-38 win over St. Marys Huskies of Halifax.
Vikes forward Janet Hatfield was named to the tournament all-star team.