MBB: Bears overcome shaky start to earn eighth straight win

MBB: Bears overcome shaky start to earn eighth straight win

Connor Hood, Golden Bears and Pandas Athletics

EDMONTON - For the second-straight time in the series, the first-place University of Alberta Golden Bears overcame a poor start against the MacEwan Griffins, before rallying for a convincing win. On Saturday night, it was an incredibly strong second and third quarter that propelled the Bears to a 91-61 win over MacEwan at Saville Community Sports Centre. 

The win is the 17th on the season for Alberta, who improve their conference-best record to 17-1. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the loss official ends MacEwan's long odds at qualifying for the post-season, as their record falls to 4-14 in conference play. 

Fourth-year guard Austin Waddoups finished with a game-high 18 points, with all of them coming off the three pointer (6/10 from deep). Fifth-year Bear Lyndon Annetts, and third-year Brody Clarke also had strong performances in the final home conference game for Alberta, finishing with double-doubles. Clarke was very efficient, finishing 5/8 shooting with 11 points and 11 rebounds, while Annetts added 13 points on 10 rebounds. 

MacEwan, meanwhile, struggled mightily against the top-ranked Bears defence, finishing with a 28% shooting mark (20/71), including making just 10 of their 30 three-point shots. Lincoln Anderson paced the Griffins offence with 10 points off the bench, finishing as the only Griffin with a double-digit point performance. 

In an incredibly similar start to the series opener on Thursday, both teams struggled finding their offensive rhythm in the first quarter. MacEwan hit just on just 20% of their shots, while Alberta was only slightly better at 32%. The Bears, thanks to a 7-2 run late, took a slim 17-15 lead into the second quarter. 

Alberta completely turned the game around in the second, dominating on the glass, and outscoring MacEwan 23-10. MacEwan's offensive struggles continued, and plagued them throughout the second and third quarters. Another impressive quarter from Alberta in the third (28-14) gave them a commanding lead heading into the fourth. While relatively consistent from inside the three-point line all night, arguably the biggest transformation was the Bears shooting from beyond the arc. Alberta began the game 2/10 from three, finishing 15/37 (40.5%) from deep.

MacEwan, needing a win to keep their playoff hopes alive, came out in the fourth quarter red hot, opening on a 12-0 run. Their insane start, however, couldn't be maintained, as Alberta slowly worked their way back to even, before cruising to a 30-point win. 

With first place on the line for Alberta, they'll finish their conference series next weekend with a road series against the Lethbridge Pronghorns. MacEwan will finish their Canada West campaign with a home series against the Trinity Western Spartans.