Lethbridge – Despite scoring the game's first basket and leading from start to finish, the Lethbridge Pronghorns were never in a comfortable spot all night but did open the second semester of Canada West play grinding out an 82-71 win over the UNBC Timberwolves.
The win improves the Pronghorns record to 7-4 and they keep pace with the Winnipeg Wesman for fourth spot in the standings. The win is also the 'Horns third in a row after closing out the first semester with a road sweep over the Trinity Western Spartans.
With the loss, the Timberwolves fall to the 4-7 and have now lost three games in a row and sit 11th in Canada West.
Pronghorn leading scorer Elliott Sentance led the way in the win scoring 25 points and completing the double-double with 11 rebounds. Point guard Dejon Burdeaux was clutch down the stretch and finished one point behind Sentance with 24 points.
Marcus MacKay matched Sentance's 25 points to lead the Timberwolves and was deadly from behind the arc, hitting five of six three balls. Rhys Elliott chipped in with 17 points, while Austin Chandler had 13 points to round out Timberwolves in double digits.
Sentance hit the game's first shot to the give the 'Horns a lead they would never relinquish and finished with 11 of his game high 25 points in the opening quarter to pace the 'Horns to 20-14 lead at the first break. In the quarter, the 'Horns shot an even 50% but turned the ball over five times and saw the Timberwolves grab six offensive rebounds to give the visitors extra possessions. However, the Timberwolves were unable to capitalize on the extra chances, only shooting 23.8%.
Both teams improved their shooting in the second and the 'Horns extended their lead to as many as 19 points before a late Timberwolves run cut the lead to 40-30 at the half. Three consecutive three pointers to close the half, two by Tyrell Laing and the other by MacKay, swung the momentum heading to the locker room in UNBC's favor.
Coming out the locker room, it looked as if the 'Horns were going to put the visitors away early, scoring the first six points in the third, but the Timberwolves were not going to go away quietly. Rhys Elliot brought his team within one point on two separate occasions in the third but the Pronghorns were able to weather the storm and go into the fourth quarter with a 62-55 lead.
Again, the Pronghorns looked to put the Timberwolves away, pushing the lead back up to double digits early but UNBC continued to fight back and it wasn't until Sentance hit two free throws with just over a minute to play, were the 'Horns able to exhale.
The 'Horns and Timberwolves are back on the 1st Choice Savings Centre court tomorrow night to wrap up the weekend set. Tip-off is set for 7:00pm.