Eoin Colquhoun, Pronghorn Athletics
Lethbridge – While it was ugly at times, the Lethbridge Pronghorns rebounded from a rough start to open the 2017 Canada West season with a hotly contested 94-89 win over the Brandon Bobcats.
Dejon Burdeaux, beginning his final season as a Pronghorn, led all scorers with 26 points to go along with nine rebounds and five assists. Both playing their first games as Pronghorns, Kyle Peterson and Saren Westrop each dropped 14 points for the Pronghorns.
Tyvon Cooper led all Bobcats in scoring with 25 points but was held with out a point in the fourth quarter. He also had nine rebounds and five assists. Jonathon Range gave Brandon 24 points off the bench and Jaleel Webb chipped in with 15 points.
"It was a rough start as the guys were really nervous but I thought we settled down and made plays when we need to," said head coach Mike Hansen.
The Pronghorns jumped out to an early 6-0 lead but then went ice cold and the Bobcats outscored the Pronghorns 20-6 in the rest of the quarter.
The ebbs and flows continued in a high paced second quarter, that saw the two teams combine to score 54 points but the Pronghorns were able to cut the deficit to only two at the break (44-42).
Statistically, Bobcats held a slight edge at the half, shooting 48.5% compared to the Pronghorns 42.9% but after 6-for-21 opening quarter, the Pronghorns were happy with their rebound in the second quarter that saw them shoot 57.1%.
In the third, the Pronghorns controlled the majority of the play, building a lead to as many as eight points, only to see the Bobcats close out the third with a 13-6 run to enter the fourth deadlocked at 65, setting up a wild fourth quarter.
Brandon carried the momentum of the third into the fourth quarter, opening with another run to take an early seven point lead but the Pronghorns wouldn't go allow the game to slip away. Burdeaux hit the first of two free throws to tie the game for the 10th time and the Pronghorns didn't look back, holding the lead for the final four minutes.
Westrop hit three of four free throws to seal the tight victory and make a impact in his first game with the Pronghorns.
On the night, not much separated the two teams. Brandon shot the ball marginally better, 46.3% to 44.6% but the Pronghorns hit 23 of 31 free throws compared to the Bobcats 19 of 33. Brandon outrebounded the Pronghorns 39-34.
The Pronghorns and Bobcats will be back on the hardwood at the 1st Choice Savings Centre tomorrow night at 7:00pm to wrap up the weekend set and the game will be streamed live on www.canadawest.tv.