– From UVic Vikes’ Andy Watson
The UVic Vikes men’s basketball team opened the Canada West final tournament with heartbreak of the worst kind on Friday and never did recover.
The Fraser Valley Cascades were up 25 points over the Vikes in second half of Friday’s semifinal when the Vikes rallied all the way back, only to fall 63-62. The win earned the Cascades a berth in the Canada West final on Saturday and the CIS Final 8 in Halifax, March 9-11.
The Vikes still have an outside chance at an at-large wild-card berth to the CIS finals. But as of Sunday, that spot looked to belong to either the CIS ranked No. 2 Lakehead Thunderwolves or No. 3 Huskies.
The Huskies beat the Vikes 90-85 in the Canada West third-place game.
MacKinnon nearly won the semifinal for the Vikes on Friday when he stole the ball in the final 10 seconds and ran down the court. But the Cascades swarmed him before he could get a shot off, forcing the jump-ball call with the possession arrow favouring Fraser Valley.
MacKinnon led the Vikes in scoring in that game with 15 points.
Coach of the year
Vikes men’s basketball coach Craig Beaucamp was named the 2011-12 Canada West coach of the year for the third time in his career.
The Canada West men’s basketball awards were announced on the weekend.
Beaucamp previously won the Canada West coach of the year award in 2003-04 and 2004-05. This year Beaucamp led the Vikes to a first-place finish in the Pacific Division, and helped them maintain a top-10 national rank all season.
MacKinnon was also honoured as a first team all-star, the only Vike on the all-star team.
MacKinnon, an education student, started in all 21 regular-season and playoff games to date, and led the Vikes in scoring in 16 of those games.