Sunday, 3 February 2008

Canada West: Alberta, UBC grab wins in late games

Alberta (19-7, 14-6) 60, Victoria (14-13, 13-8) 58 Although the Vikes came back from a fourth-quarter ten point deficit to tie the game late and had a couple of chances to take the lead, missed free throws and a great performance by 6'2" Alex Steele allowed the Bears to hold on for a two point win and a road sweep of the top two teams in the Pacific Division. Alberta's victory clinches second place in the Central Divsion and the Bears will host Saskatchewan Huskies at home in Edmonton in a best-of-three Central Division semi-final in two weeks as the Canada West playoffs begin. Box Score Here is a report from Mike Tucker, UVic Sports Info... VICTORIA - Alex Steele scored 27 points, as the Alberta Golden Bears got the better of the UVic Vikes men's basketball team with a 60-58 victory. The loss seals the 13-8 Vikes fate as the no. 2 seed in the Pacific Division. Minus a brief instance in the second quarter, the Vikes never led but tied the game on four separate instances in the final minutes of regulation. However, Don Horwood's Golden Bears never conceded the lead and secured the weekend sweep. Friday, Alberta defeated UBC 75-70. Once again, it was a combination of poor first half shooting and missed opportunities at the free-throw line that hampered the Vikes. Shooting just 8-for-27 in the opening half, the Vikes faced at 32-24 deficit at the halftime break. That deficit grew to as large as 11 points in the third quarter, with the Vikes converting just 7 of 15 free-throw attempts. Since the holiday break, the Vikes are shooting just 58 percent from the foul line. The Vikes had two opportunities to take the lead at the free-throw line, during the final quarter, but failed to capitalize in both instances. Alberta led by 10 near the start of the fourth, but the Vikes fought their way back on three straight three-pointers. Senior Rob Kinnear capped off the long-range barrage, tying the game for the first of four instances over the final six minutes of play. Kinnear, who has honoured prior to the game for his five years of service in a Vikes uniform, totaled seven points. Fourth-year forward Tyler Hass held the Vikes scoring high with 14, also adding five assists. Mitch Gudgeon and Brandon Dunlop came off the bench to score 11 apiece. The Vikes shot 35.7 percent from the field. Steele finished the night for Alberta making 11-for-19 of his field goal attempts. Overall the Golden Bears shot 37.5 percent. Centre Richard Bates came off the bench to net 13, as the Golden Bears improve to 14-6 in the Central Division. At halftime, the Vikes recognized the 1957-58 Victoria College Vikings Canadian Junior Championship men's basketball team with a banner raising ceremony. The Vikes wrap up the Canada West regular season next weekend, when they face the Fraser Valley Cascades and Thomson Rivers WolfPack. Both CIS newcomers have never taken a win from the Vikes in 13 previous meetings. The road swing opens Thursday night against the Cascades.

UBC (18-5, 16-5) 90, Saskatchewan (17-11, 11-9) 78 The T-Birds overcame a rough start to bring the game back to a tie by halftime but then broke open a tight game midway through the third quarter to win comfortably. 6'3" Chris Dyck was the offensive hero with 26 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists for UBC while 6'7" Matt Rachar had 16, including several key baskets in the game-deciding run when the T-Birds broke open a 49-47 game. With the win, UBC clinches top spot in the Pacific Division and are likely to host UCFV in a Best-of-3 division semi-final series, with all games at the War Memorial Gym. Box Score also an article from UBC Sports Info

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