By Paul Cartledge
EDMONTON – The No.3 University of Alberta Golden Bears never let up on the visiting University of Saskatchewan Huskies, leading to a decisive 100-54 victory to remain undefeated on the season, Saturday night at Saville Community Sports Centre.
Six different Bears cracked the double-digit barrier on the scoreboard, fourth-year guard Austin Waddoups netting a game-high 15 points and four three-balls while third-year guard Nolan Woodward came off the bench to add 14 points. Starter Lyndon Annetts put up 13 points in the win while Mamadou Gueye and Brody Clarke, also starters, tallied 12 points apiece.
Fourth-year point guard Lawrence Moore and sophomore guard Emmanuel Akintunde scored 13 points each for the Huskies, Akintunde adding eight rebounds while fourth-year forward Joseph Barker also fell short of a double-double with nine points and nine boards.
The Bears got to work early by earning the first two buckets though the Huskies were able to keep pace. The deciding moment in the opening quarter came soon after, however, team-leading scorer Gueye stealing the ball from Barker at mid-court before going up for a one-handed dunk to the elation of the hometown fans.
The Quebec City, Que. native then made a huge block on Akintunde to fully push the momentum to the Alberta side and the hosts went on a roll from there, making an 11-2 run to put their lead into double digits.
Already shooting above 55% in the first frame, both in the paint and beyond the arc, the Bears got even hotter in the second, clicking at 75% from inside the key as well as from long-distance, draining a total of six treys in the quarter for a total of 10 in the first half.
Senior guard Geoff Pippus put his mark on the game by driving down the baseline and finishing with an epic dunk with 90 seconds left in the first half, Alberta taking a 50-27 lead into the locker room.
The Huskies came into the third quarter with a bit of vigour, notching the first five points of the second half to decrease the deficit to under 20 but the unstoppable Bears responded with a massive 21-5 run to remove any hope of victory for the visiting Saskatchewan squad.
With head coach Barnaby Craddock deciding to give more time to his bench players, sophomore guard Sam Newman added another moment to the highlight reel midway through the fourth quarter when the Ipswich, England native stole the ball from Savion Tyson at the top of the Huskie arc before going in for a one-handed layup.
Third-year guard Ivan Ikomey became the sixth Alberta player to hit double digit points on the night with two treys in the final minutes before Woodward used the charity stripe to get the Bears to the century mark on the scoreboard with just over one minute left.
The 8-0 Golden Bears will stay at home to host the Victoria Vikes in the final weekend of the 2017 half of the regular season while the 2-6 Huskies return home to host the Calgary Dinos.