The University of Victoria men’s basketball team leapt back into the top spot nationwide thanks to a sweep of the Thompson Rivers University Wolfpack on the weekend.
The Vikes owned the number-one seed as U SPORTS updated its men’s basketball national rankings on Tuesday. After floating around the top three to start the season, UVic steadily rose the ranks after the Christmas break to earn the first-overall ranking earlier in January.
Even though the local team hasn’t lost since November, they were then dethroned in the rankings by the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees.
But two wins against Thompson Rivers on Jan. 27 and 28 were enough for the Vikes to climb back atop the table after Ottawa’s recent loss to Queen’s University. The Vikes breezed by TRU on Friday with a 96-59 win before the Wolfpack put up a greater fight the next night.
Saturday’s score was tight through two quarters before the Vikes started to slowly break away in the third. The Wolfpack proved to be the better team down the stretch, outscoring UVic 21-15 in the final frame, but the Vikes were able to hang on thanks to a 15-point cushion they had going into the fourth.
Diego Maffia was a big part of the victory with 18 points, while also adding nine rebounds and four assists. The Oak Bay Secondary alum scored the Canada West and U SPORTS basketball player of the week on the men’s side earlier in January.
The Vikes have four regular season games remaining over the next two weeks as they close the season against the University of British Columbia Okanagan Heat and the ninth-ranked UBC Thunderbirds.
While they don’t enjoy a top-10 ranking like their counterparts, the University of Victoria’s women’s basketball team also swept Thompson Rivers on the weekend. The Vikes’ wins against the Wolfpack helped them improve to 3-3 in January and 7-9 on the season.
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