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Mackinnon, Acheampong shine as Victoria Vikes claim Canada West pacific title over UBC Thunderbirds

Senior guard Ryan Mackinnon scored 20 of his 23 points in the second-half and drained a contested game winning three-pointer with 26 seconds remaining to break a 83-83 tie, and help Victoria Vikes defeat the UBC Thunderbirds 90-83 and claim the 2011-12 Canada West Pacific Title.

The victory avenges last week’s 68-52 loss and guarantees the Vikes (14-4) home-court advantage next week when it opens up its best-of-three Canada West Men’s Basketball quarter-final playoff series against the #4 seed and red hot (10-10) Calgary Dinos.

The Vikes jumped ahead to a 8-3 advantage in the early moments but the Thunderbirds behind Doug Plumb’s (10 points, 4/4 FG) hot-hand rolled off a nine straight points to grab control and take a 22-18 first-quarter lead.

UBC continued to execute their half-court offense to perfection by finding open shooters off of high-post feeds and scored the first-seven points of the second-quarter to opened up a game-high 11-point margin at 29-18 with 7:50 minutes remaining.

Victoria bounced back by getting more aggressive on the offensive glass and forced several turnovers and closed out the quarter by outscoring the Thunderbirds 19-10 and only trailing 41-40 at half-time.

Much like the second quarter, UBC started second-half by going on a another 7-0 run to increase the lead to 47-40. But Mackinnon, a hometown favorite playing potentially his last game on seniors night at Ken & Kathy Shields Court rose to the occasion.

The 6’4 Comox, BC sharphooter poured in 11 points the rest of the way including two-three points to help Victoria comeback and grab their first lead since the opening minutes of the first quarter at 60-59 and forcing a 64-64 tie heading into the final 10 minutes.

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The fourth quarter started with the home team scoring the first five points to pull ahead 69-64 as Mackinnon nailed another three. UBC’s Nathan Yu connected on back to back jumpers and Thunderbirds quickly found themselves up 6 points at 75-71.

From there Vikes transfer Michael Acheampong (Humber College, OCAA) took over the game by nailing two straight three-pointers, second being a rare four-point play, as the advantage swung back to Craig Beauchamp’s side at 80-79 with 4:00 on the clock.

The Toronto/Ghana native setup Mackinnon heroics when he connected on another jumper and free-throw to give Vikes a 83-81 lead and 13 points impressive fourth-quarter points.

Acheampong led all scores with 28 points on 9-of-13 shooting and 5-of-7 from deep and 5-of-6 from free-throws. Mackinnon also added five three-pointers and five assists and four rebounds. Zac Andrus had a game-high eight assists and was equally impressive with 18 points and three deep balls as the Vikes bombed away for 13 three-pointers.

The Thunderbirds saw had four players in double-figures, Tommy Nixon just missed out on a double-double with a team-high 21 points and 8 rebounds. Kamar Burke added another double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds but had a costly turnover to ice the Victoria ice game.

The Thunderbirds finishes the Canada West regular season in third-place with a record 13-5 and will travel to Alberta to open up their best-of-three quarter-finals series against the 14-6 Golden Bears.

Fraser Valley Cascades claimed the second spot via tie-breaker and the strength of their two victories over the Thunderbirds during their current six-game winning streak.

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