Written by Gee-ef Nkwonta
Winnipeg, MB – After a convincing victory last night, the University of Manitoba Bison men's basketball team fall to the Thompson River University Wolfpack 72-77 giving the WolfPack their first win of the conference season on Saturday, November 12.
With the loss, the Bisons fall to 2-2 and the WolfPack improve to 1-3.
Lead scorers for Thompson Rivers was Joe David with 22 points and Volodymyr Iegorov with a double-double of 22 points and 17 rebounds.
Lead scorers for the Bisons were Keith Omoerah with 26 points and five rebounds followed by AJ Basi with 16 points and six rebounds.
Thompson Rivers University got out to a blazing start in the game led by their big man in the middle Volodymyr Iegorov with six points contributing to the 14-6 run for the WolfPack. Keith Omoerah led the way for the Bisons with seven points in the opening quarter but the zone defense from the WolfPack was a problem for the Bisons early on. TRU held the home side to 33% shooting from the field and helped them command a 22-13 lead going into the second quarter.
"Thompson Rivers came out much harder and were much more disciplined defensively," said Bisons head coach Kirby Schepp. "We got a lot of the shots we wanted to get and a fair number of open looks, they just didn't go down."
Manitoba started to find their groove as they started the second quarter with a 7-2 run capped by a three pointer from co-captain AJ Basi to cut the lead to four points. Quick movement and backdoor cuts helped the balanced attack of TRU to stop the run but costly turnovers helped the Bison's answer with back to back buckets from Ilarion Bonhomme and James Wagner. The WolfPack came out of a timeout late in the second quarter with full court pressure defense but it backfired as the Bison's could push the pace and find holes in the defense. Another three pointer from Basi capped off a great second for the Bison's who trailed 29-32 at halftime.
The third quarter started with baskets being traded between Bison co-captain Justus Alleyn and Luke Morris (a baseline jumper and three pointer for Alleyn, two turn around jumpers for Morris). Manitoba gained the lead for the first time after two after back to back mid range jumpers from Basi and a couple free throws from Omoerah halfway through the third. The momentum continued with another three from Basi but was stopped by a goaltending call on a foul that helped TRU's Joe Davis capitalize on a three point play. The WolfPack were able to stretch the lead from the free throw line but were quickly answered by a three point play from Omoerah and a backdoor pass leading to a dunk for Jonathan Alexander late in the third quarter. A late isolation bucket at the buzzer by Iegorov gave the visitors the two point lead heading into the fourth quarter.
In the fourth, two quick fouls on Alexander led to a shot from Jeff Tubbs and a three point play from Iegorov to add to the 59-52 lead for the WolfPack. TRU continued with a basket off an offensive rebound and a mid range jumper from Tubbs forcing the Bisons to call a timeout halfway through the fourth. Back to back offensive fouls on Tubbs and Alleyn stopped any sort of momentum either team tried to gain in the last minutes.
Missed opportunities for Manitoba and made free throws for the WolfPack helped increase the lead to 12 with three minutes left in the fourth. The Herd looked to push the pace which led to another dunk for Alexander and a floater in the key for Basi cutting the deficit to eight. TRU hit some key free throws and after a Omoerah three cut the lead to six, the WolfPack immediately responded with a three point play by Derrick Rhodes.
Another Omoerah three cut the lead to five with 35 seconds left in the game. A costly turnover for the WolfPack led to an Alexander lay up cutting the lead to three with only 18 seconds left. A quick foul put Iegorov on the line where he hit two free throws to put the lead back to five and the hosts would not be able to respond.
On Nov. 18-19 weekend, TRU will go back on the road and play at Alberta while Manitoba travels to play at UBC.
MB: Keith Omoerah (26)
TR: Joe Davis (22), Volodymyr Iegorov (22)
MB: Justus Alleyn (5)
TR: Luke Morris (3), Jeff Tubbs (3)
MB: AJ Basi (6)
TR: Volodymyr Iegorov (17)