Eoin Colquhoun, Pronghorn Athletics
LETHBRIDGE – Four quarters weren't enough to determine a winner but the Lethbridge Pronghorns were able to get a defensive stand when they needed it most and held on for a 91-89 win over the U SPORTS fourth ranked Calgary Dinos.
Up one point and after forcing a Dinos turnover, Colton Gibb hit one of two free throws with six seconds remaining in overtime to put the 'Horns up two however the Dinos did get the look they wanted but Lars Schlueter's three-pointer for the win rattled out.
The win improves the Pronghorns to 12-5 on the season, one game back of both the Dinos and UBC Thunderbirds in a battle for playoff positioning. The Dinos fall to 13-4.
Despite fouling out in overtime, Pronghorn Zac Overwater led all scorers with 29 points. Forward Saren Westrop also had a strong performance for the Pronghorns picking up a double-double with 23 points and 12 rebounds.
For the Dinos, David Kapinga scored a team high 20 points to go along with eight assists and three steals. Schlueter also picked up a double-double on the night with 16 points and 13 rebounds.
From the get go, both teams wanted to play fast, which led to some chaotic action early and despite the high tempo, baskets were hard to come by in the opening quarter. Tight throughout, the Dinos held a slim 16-15 lead after the first 10 minutes.
Both teams struggled from behind the arc, with both teams only hitting once from long range but the Dinos shot the ball slightly better in the opening quarter, 41% to 33% to hold the early lead.
The tightly contested game continued in the second but unlike the opening 10 minutes, the offensive flow improved and after trading two-for-one on three's early the Pronghorns took a 24-20 lead and retained the lead through the quarter.
Zac Overwater and Colton Gibb sandwiched a Mambi Diawara three-pointer, with threes' of their own, sparking a Pronghorns run and an eight point lead, the largest of either team to that point but the Dinos stayed with the Pronghorns and Andrew Milner's buzzer beating lay-up cut the Pronghorns lead to only three at the half, 41-38.
Both team's improved their shooting percentage in the second, with the Dinos moving up to 48.5% on the night, while the Pronghorns jumped to 45.7% from 33%. The Pronghorns turned the ball over 12 times to the Dinos nine but held the advantage on the glass, 16-11.
Overwater led all scorers in the first half despite foul trouble, scoring 11 points in only nine minutes of action. David Kapinga was the top scoring Dino with eight points.
Out of the break, Dino Lars Schlueter opened the third with a three, spearheading a swing in momentum for his squad and a run for the Dinos to turn a three point deficit to an eight point lead. With a 23-16 quarter, the Dinos lead 61-57, setting up an exciting fourth quarter.
Like he did at the start of the third, Schlueter hit another long bomb to start the quarter and the visitors built an early nine point lead but the Pronghorns showed some resiliency clawing themselves back. A 9-0 run brought the game back level at 66 with six minutes to play.
Having to foul late, the Pronghorns benefited from two Dino free throw misses and guard Brett Warren laid the ball in to tie the game with 12 seconds to play to force overtime.
On the night, statistically like the score not much separated the two teams. The Pronghorns finished shooting just over 45%, compared to the Dinos 44.9%, the Dinos had a one rebound advantage 38-37 and both teams turned the ball over 26 times.
One area that both teams will look to improve before Saturday night will the free throws as both teams could have sealed the game in regulation time with better free throw shooting. The Dinos missed 10, while the Pronghorns missed eight.
Game two of the home-and-home set will go Saturday night in Calgary, tip-off is set for 7:00pm. Catch all the action on www.canadawest.tv.