Griffins' defence unable to slow down Vikes as they lose by 43 in second-last game of season

Dustin Gatzki puts up a shot over the Victoria defence on Friday night (Full Stroke Photography).
Dustin Gatzki puts up a shot over the Victoria defence on Friday night (Full Stroke Photography).

Victoria Athletics and MacEwan Athletics

VICTORIA – Outscored by 19 points in each of the first and third quarters, the MacEwan Griffins fell 107-64 to the University of Victoria Vikes in their second-last game of the Canada West men's basketball season on Friday night.

With five players in double digits, the homestanding Vikes moved to 10-10 in the standings, while the Griffins fall to 1-19.

"All credit goes to UVic tonight," said Griffins interim head coach Ken Schildroth. "We had some positive moments, but we just couldn't come up with enough stops on defence.

"It is our last game of the season tomorrow, so we will continue to focus on elevating our game to a level where we can compete with the best in the conference. We might not be there right now, but I am confident we are continuing to head in a positive direction."

The Vikes had a game-high performance from fifth year Jordan Charles who logged 23 points. Taylor Montgomery-Stinson logged 19 points and five assists, while Mason Loewen, recently returned from injury, came off the bench to add 17 points and seven rebounds. Jake Newman and Jason Scully were also in double digits with 12 and 10 points, respectively. The Vikes were 12-for-28 from distance.

"We just played and prepared the same we always do whether it's the first game or the last game of the year," said Craig Beaucamp, Vikes men's basketball head coach. "We never really talked about who we were playing and records or standings. It's never the same, though, and MacEwan played hard tonight. We made some shots early on and got ahead, and sometimes the games flows from there."

For the Griffins, Abdullah Shittu and Luke Harold each had 11 points, while Jake Notice had 10 points and six boards. The Griffins were held to a shooting percentage of 41 and struggled from beyond the arc going 3-for-17 (well below their season average of 28 per cent).

Schildroth continues to look at the bigger picture for a program that is transitioning to a new head coach.

"It is our goal as a University to be in the top five in Canada West," he said. "Right now, I believe we have the right pieces; it is just a matter of getting all the guys on the same page and to play together. Right now, we are focused on building a positive culture despite our record, so we can continue to grow looking ahead to next season."

Vikes guard Charles came out of the gate with a hot hand putting up six-straight points on route to three baskets from beyond the arc to finish the opening frame with 17 points. The Vikes out-shot the visitors 33-14 with Shittu leading his side with five points. 

In the second quarter, the outside shooting continued as Jake Newman dropped a trey to lift the Vikes 38-17. The fifth year followed that up with a second three-pointer to distance his side by 22, while a pair of baskets by Shittu allowed the Griffins to chip away. That chipping started a momentum swing as the home side edged the Griffins just 23-21 in second-quarter scoring. It was a team effort for the Griffins who had six different scorers contribute to their 21 points. The Vikes led 54-37 at half time.

Quality ball movement lifted the Vikes by 21, after Jason Scully drained back-to-back threes from the same baseline corner. The outside looks kept coming as Scott Kellum fed a long pass to Montgomery-Stinson for a three that lifted the Vikes by their largest lead at the time, up 28 points, 41-69.
The Griffins had lots of opportunities but the ball wouldn't drop as they had just a bucket each from Dustin Gatzki and Shittu through six minutes of play. Atlas St. Paul-Butler turned on Vike Jason Scully and had the third bucket drop for the Griffins with two minutes to go in the quarter but Victoria went on to out-pace MacEwan 30-11 to leave the game 84-48 heading in to the fourth.
Trent Monkman came off the bench in the fourth and put up an impressive eight points as the Vikes cruised to the 107-64 victory with their biggest scoring night of the season so far.
The Vikes and Griffins will meet again on Saturday (8 p.m. MT, Canada West TV).