VICTORIA, B.C. - There will be no shortage of motivation for this weekend's games that pit the CIS No. 8-ranked University of Victoria Vikes men's basketball team against the visiting Alberta Golden Bears, Nov. 28-29, at McKinnon Gym. Alberta edged Victoria in both the Canada West Final and the CIS bronze-medal game in the 2013-14 season. Friday's match up will also be part of the 8th Annual Shoot for the Cure event in support of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.
The Vikes and Golden Bears have already met once this year in the pre-season Guy Vetrie Memorial tournament on Oct. 3. Alberta crushed Victoria 80-65 in the tournament opener but four weeks into the 2014-15 Canada West season and it is Alberta who are currently unranked in the CIS top-10 polls.
A veteran trio continue to lead Victoria including lone fifth-year forward Chris McLaughlin, currently averaging 19.8 points per game, as well as fourth-year point guard Marcus Tibbs, averaging 15.7 points and 3.7 assists per game. Reiner Theil, in addition to his relied upon defensive efforts, has averaged 15.7 points per game so far. Mack Roth and Patrick Pilato have rounded out the starting five for the Vikes, while Jeremy Leonard-Smith and Jordan Charles have been key coming off the bench.
Alberta, the reigning Canada West champions, returned this season without graduate Jordan Baker, who recently signed a one-year professional contract in the German Pro B League. Baker was a two-time CIS First Team All-Canadian and a former Canada West Player of the Year. There is still not lack of talent on the squad though, as Baker's two-way efforts have been picked up by sophomore forward Mamadou Gueye, who was the Canada West Rookie of the Year last season, and third-year guard Youssef Ouahrig as well as fifth-year guards Kenny Otieno, Joel Friesen, and Czar Robotham. Both Friesen and Otieno are former Canada West All-Stars, while Ouarhig was the conference Rookie of the Year in 2013.
Friesen, Gueye, Otieno and Ouahrig are all averaging double digits each game, with Friesen averaging 21.5 and Gueye averaging 18.7.
The Vikes men will have their work cut out for them if they hope to enter the December break with some comfort. These are the final two games of the opening half of the Canada West season.
The Vikes will host their Shoot for the Cure match up on Nov. 28 at 6 p.m. (women) and 8 p.m. (men) against Alberta. The event is held in partnership with local partners CTV Vancouver Island, KOOL FM, and CFAX 1070. At the Nov. 28 game, the Vikes will be donating a portion of ticket sales to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (CBCF).More on Shoot for the Cure
The Vikes and Pandas will clash again, Nov. 29, at 7 p.m. All games will be available with live video and stats at canadawest.tv.