Amber Doyle, Bison Sports
WINNIPEG – The University of Manitoba Bisons men's basketball team advanced to the Canada West Quarter-finals after topping the Brandon University Bobcats 82-76 in a play-in game at Investors Group Athletic Centre on Friday, Feb. 9.
"(Brandon) was really prepared and energized," said Bisons Head Coach Kirby Schepp.
With a tight score at half, a 20-point third quarter from Bisons fifth-year guard Justus Alleyn swung the momentum in the host's favour.
"Justus was Justus," said Schepp. "He's one of the greatest scorers in the history of our program."
Both teams showed up with their A-game as the lead teeter-tottered back and forth throughout the first half. It was 24-24 after the opening quarter, and 40-35 for the Bobcats after the second.
"I was kind of flat in the first half," said Alleyn. "We regrouped at halftime, came out really aggressive, and it worked for us."
It was in the third when the Bisons ignited the spark. Alleyn led the way with his 20 points, but the Bisons collectively outscored the Bobcats 27-13 in the quarter.
The Bobcats effort was led by fourth-year guard Tyvon Cooper. He put up 21 points. His teammate, third-year Jonathan Range, added another 18.
"Brandon gave us a great fight," said Alleyn. "They hit some tough shots, but I think the better team came out on top."
Bisons first-year forward Cameron O'Hara had a double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds.
"That's a phenomenal performance from a first-year kid that really needs to be recognized," said Schepp.
O'Hara's performance earned him player-of-the-game honours.
The Bisons finished the regular season with a 12-8 record, while Brandon had 9-11.
The Bisons will head to UBC on to take on the Thunderbirds in the best-of-three Canada West Quarter Finals starting on Thursday, Feb. 15.