Nicole Betker, University of Saskatchewan
SASKATOON – With an 80-67 victory over the No. 9 ranked University of Saskatchewan Huskies Friday night at the PAC in Saskatoon, the visiting No. 7 ranked University of Alberta Golden Bears won the battle of U SPORTS Top 10 teams.
Alberta opened the game with an eight-point lead, at 20-12, in the first quarter and didn't relinquish it. The Golden Bears led 35-26 at halftime and 53-47 entering the final 10 minutes.
In the third quarter, Saskatchewan had its best chance to take the lead pulling within three points of the Bears. Mack Burns hit a three-point shot at 50-47. But Alberta scored the next three points for the six-point lead at the end of the third. The Huskies kept the game within six points to start the fourth quarter, but five straight points from the Golden Bears helped extend the margin out of the Huskies' reach.
Turnovers were a problem in the game for Saskatchewan. Alberta capitalized on the mistakes scoring 21 points from the Huskies 14 errors.
With the win, Alberta improves to 13-4. Saskatchewan drops to 11-6. Both the Huskies and Golden Bears have secured one of 12 spots granted in the Canada West men's basketball playoffs. The playoff teams are then seeded based on RPI to determine playoff matchups.
Austin Waddoups led the Golden Bears with 22 points, while Mamadou Gueye added another 21. Lyndon Annetts also scored 10. Gueye and Dwan Williams each recorded five rebounds.
Shane Osayande recorded a double-double for Saskatchewan with 12 points and 13 rebounds. Matt Forbes led the Huskies in scoring with 16 points, while Jaylan Morgan added another 14 points and Lawrence Moore 10.
Alberta shot at 41.3% in the game, while the Huskies shot at 37.9%. Saskatchewan won the battle on the boards outrebounding the Golden Bears 41-23.
The two teams will battle again Saturday night on Ron & Jane Graham Court at the PAC. Tipoff is slated for 8 p.m. in the final regular season home game in 2016-17.