VICTORIA – The University of Alberta Golden Bears led for all but 16 seconds, as they downed the University of Victoria Vikes 69-50 in the Vikes Canada West home opener on Friday night at the CARSA Performance Gym.
With the win, the Golden Bears improved to 5-0, while the Vikes fell to 1-2.
Both teams matched each other’s energy in the first quarter. The Golden Bears picked up five points on the fast break and the Vikes bench produced five points of their own, as the Golden Bears led 16-13 after the opening frame.
Led by Hayden Lejeune, the Vikes began banging away in the paint. The fifth-year forward used a few power dribbles to set up the soft scoop in the second quarter for two of his six points. He also splashed a long two from the top of the arc midway through the quarter.
Lejeune and Dominick Oliveri were the two strongest Vikes on the glass. They combined to earn 18 rebounds. Eleven for Oliveri and seven for the fifth year from Chilliwack.
Turnovers cost the Vikes in the second quarter, as the quick hands by Andre Kelly allowed him to drop a pair of dimes in transition to Cole Knudsen. The Golden Bears grew their lead to 13 with 10 points coming off turnovers in the first 20. Kelly turned into more of a scorer in the second half and finished with a game-high 17 points.
The Vikes captain Scott Kellum began to bring his team back in with a better shooting second quarter.
After missing a three at the top of the arc. The next trip down the floor, he drained one from the exact same spot. He also knocked in a baseline jumper and made his way to the charity stripe, as the Vikes cut the Golden Bears big first half lead to five points by the time the teams switched sides.
Tyus Jefferson did a little bit of everything for the Golden Bears. He was on pace for a triple-double at halftime, but finished with eight points, eight assists and six rebounds.
Dwan Williams opened the second half with back-to-back three pointers for the Golden Bears and finished with seven points.
The Bears defence did a solid job contesting shots. They held the Vikes to 30.6 percent from the floor, while they knocked down 40.6 percent of their shots on the other end.
The three-pointer wasn’t there for the Vikes, as they shot an icy 4-for-22 from the land beyond. The Golden Bears were more efficient from deep, as they connected on 34.7 percent of their three balls.
Two of those threes came from Ivan Ikomey in the second half, as he ended up with 12 points.
The two teams will tango one more time tomorrow night to wrap up the weekend set. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. back inside CARSA. Catch all the action on CanadaWest.tv, presented by CO-OP.