MacEwan Athletics and Victoria Athletics
VICTORIA – The MacEwan Griffins' men's basketball season came to an end with an 84-60 defeat to the Victoria Vikes on Saturday night.
Although they won't head into the off-season on a winning note, the Griffins (1-19) have some building blocks in place for the next head coach of the program as interim bench boss Ken Schildroth prepares to pass the torch.
"With this young group of men, I was really proud of the effort that they put in, understanding that this is our last game," said Schildroth. "For one of our seniors (Harrison Lane) it was a really important game. The overall effort was really positive, and the execution was much better. We still have room to grow, but the steps that we're taking are in the right direction.
"UVic kicked it up to another level, as they should because they're headed off to the playoffs," he added.
The Vikes conclude their regular season schedule with a record of 9-11 and will play in the single game play-in round of the Canada West playoffs next weekend.
"We still have a job ahead of us," said fifth-year Vike Jordan Charles. "I have been lucky to be part of such an historic program here at UVic, play with so many great players and just to grow so much as a person, but we still have a big push coming up for the team next week."
Charles and Mason Loewen had 18 points each for Victoria, while Scott Kellum bucketed 17 and Taylor Montgomery-Stinson chipped in 12.
Jake Notice and Abdullah Shittu scored 11 points each to pace MacEwan, while Lane scored seven in the final game of his six-year university career. Despite the result, the Griffins remained positive on the bench.
"They're very supportive of one another and that's part of the culture that we're trying to build," said Schildroth.
Despite not recording any blocks in either game at Victoria, Shittu finishes with 38 on the season, second-best in Canada West behind Mount Royal University's Patrick Vandervelden (47). Shittu's mark is a MacEwan University record for most in a Canada West campaign.
For the second-straight night, the Vikes came storming out of the gate. Led by Kellum who posted 10 points, Victoria finished the first quarter leading the Griffins by a score of 27-15.
Tight defensive play from Victoria held MacEwan to just six points in the second quarter giving the Vikes a 43-21 lead at the halftime break. Shittu and Alex Jap were tied for the Griffins lead in scoring through two quarters, each posting six points.
Despite being down 22 points heading into the third quarter, the Griffins didn't stop pushing the pace. Led by the third-year Notice, MacEwan outscored the Vikes in the third frame 22-20 but still trailed in 63-43 heading into the final quarter. The game finished with the final score reading 84-60 in favour of the Vikes.
The Vikes will travel to Lethbridge next week for the single game play-in round of the Canada West play offs against the Pronghorns on Friday, Feb. 8.