Isaiah James of the Brandon Bobcats is fouled by Mike Berg of the Victoria Vikes in CIS men's basketball action Saturday night at the BU gym. (COLIN CORNEAU/BRANDON SUN)
For the time being, perhaps its best the Brandon University Bobcats stop focusing on fading hopes of a playoff spot and just focus on getting back in the win column.
Ryan McKinnon scored a game-high 23 points and the Victoria Vikes handed the Bobcats men's basketball team its eighth straight loss, a 79-66 Canada West conference defeat on Saturday night at the BU Gymnasium.
The Bobcats, who haven't won a game since Nov. 27, fell 2 1/2 games back of Fraser Valley for the final post-season position, with the Cascades hosting the Regina Cougars in Abbotsford, B.C., late last night.
Even if the Bobcats should find enough victories in their final six games, it's hard to argue that they look like a team that belongs in the second season. The Bobcats were held to less than 80 points for the 11th straight game overall and once again watched a team pull away in the second half.
"They made great adjustments in the second half," Brandon head coach Gil Cheung said. "They really tried to take away penetration, they clogged up that paint and tried to make us make one more (dribble) every time. That was great strategy on their part and that's what they do well. We didn't execute, to be honest with you. Our guys they played as hard as they could, but mentally a couple times we broke down when we needed to execute hoops and defensively we broke down, too."
The Bobcats were outscored 27-15 in the third quarter as they watched a 35-33 halftime lead completely disintegrate with some lapses on the defensive end.
"At times (it was good), but at key times we broke down," Cheung said. "Early in that third quarter it's four guys on the right page, four guys doing the same thing, one mental breakdown. It's not physical. As university coaches we're not here to coach effort. It's one mental breakdown by one person and the whole thing falls apart."
Mike Berg added 15 points and nine rebounds for Victoria (13-7) and Wendell Thomas chipped in 10 and nine. For Brandon (4-14), O'Brian Wallace had 17 points and eight rebounds and Kyle Vince dropped 11 points.
It was also the third time in the past four games that Brandon was held to less than 70 points, a trend that underscores the Bobcats inability to consistently execute on the offensive end.
"I wish I had an answer for it," Cheung said. "It's evident that we're still trying to play point guard by committee. That's not one of our strengths right now. We're trying, but you can feel it as a fan, as a coach, you can feel that tide kinda turn. We just couldn't get a good look and then when we had good looks we couldn't capitalize. The guys are battling their butts off, but it's just not translating into a win."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition January 30, 2011 B1