Eoin Colquhoun, Pronghorn Athletics
Lethbridge – While it wasn't pretty at times, the Lethbridge Pronghorn men's basketball team completed a sweep of the UNBC Timberwolves to open 2017 with a 76-63 win.
The win improves the Pronghorns record to 8-4 and they remain in a fourth place tie with the Winnipeg Wesmen. The loss drops the Timberwolves to 4-8 on the season and they have now lost four straight games.
California native Dejon Burdeaux continued his strong play for the Pronghorns scoring a team high 21 points and was clutch from the charity stripe, hitting all eight of his free throw attempts. Elliot Sentence recorded his second consecutive double-double in the win with 15 points and 10 rebounds, while Mike Pierzchala came off the bench to score 14 points.
UNBC's Austin Chandler led all scorers, scoring 21 points, including a near perfect 4 for 5 from behind the arc. James Agyeman was the only other Timberwolves player to hit double digits with 11 points.
Out of the gates, the 'Horns jumped all over the Timberwolves, scoring the games first six points and pushing the lead to as many as 12 in the opening quarter before settling on a seven point lead at the first break, 22-15.
In the opening 10 minutes, the 'Horns hit on 52.9% of their shots and were 2 for 4 from behind the arc, but that hot start was short lived as in the second quarter, they only hit four field goals and were held to nine points. While the Timberwolves shot only marginally better than the Pronghorns in the second quarter (38.5%), another 15 point quarter only had them down 31-30 at the half.
The second started very similar to the opening half with the Pronghorns scoring the first seven points and eventually building another double digit lead but the pesky Timberwolves continued to hang around, with the lead fluctuating between 10 and six points for the remainder of the quarter. With 10 minutes remaining, the Pronghorns held a precarious 50-41 lead.
With the Timberwolves pushing to make a comeback, the fourth saw both offenses finding a better rhythm than either had seen throughout the game but the Timberwolves were never able to truly threaten the 'Horns lead. Down the stretch, with the Timberwolves looking to extend the game by fouling, the Pronghorns hit 10 of 12 free throws to put to rest any doubt of the outcome.
Statistically there was very little to distinguish between the two teams except for the 'Horns ability to get to the foul line in the second half. In the second half the 'Horns were a solid 17 for 20 from the foul line and 20 of 24 on the night. The Timberwolves were only able to get to the line nine times for the entire game but kept themselves in the game with the long ball, hitting eight treys.
Rebounds favored the Pronghorns 44-40 and the 'Horns only turned the ball over 12 times to UNBC's 14. Shooting the 'Horns were 40.6%, while the Timberwolves were 35.3% for the night.
The Pronghorns will be back on home court next weekend, hosting the Saskatchewan Huskies for a pair of games. The Timberwolves will return home to host the Mount Royal Cougars.