Eoin Colquhoun, Pronghorn Athletics
LETHBRIDGE- While it wasn't as smooth as game one, the Lethbridge Pronghorns outlasted the Regina Cougars in overtime and punched their ticket to the Canada West semi-finals with a 105-98 win.
Scoring the first six points of overtime and with Regina in foul trouble, the Pronghorns wore the visitors down in overtime. Four Cougars fouled out and with Brian Ofori suspended for the game due to accumulation of technical fouls, Regina was down to their final five players for the final two minutes of overtime.
"Regina played great tonight and their veterans really battled to the end," said Pronghorn head coach Mike Hansen. "We had too many breakdowns but made played when we really needed to."
"Overwater and Peterson were brilliant tonight and Burdeaux gutted out an unbelievable defensive effort in his last home game."
"This is a special group, it's been 18 years since we last reached the Canada West Semi-finals. This team has placed itself in some elite company. I'm looking forward to continuing on with them."
Zac Overwater and Kyle Peterson did the bulk of the damage for Lethbridge, combining to score 74 points. Overwater recorded his second consecutive double-double with 43 points and 16 rebounds, while Peterson had 30 points and 12 assists to go along with seven rebounds.
Alex Igual recorded a double-double for Regina with 27 points and 13 rebounds. Shaquille Harris, who spurred the Cougars strong third quarter, registered 24 points, nine rebounds and four assists before fouling out.
In a carbon copy of game one, Lethbridge jumped out to an early lead, scoring the game's first 10 points but unlike last night, the Pronghorns weren't scorching hot from behind the arc and Regina had an answer at the offensive end. After the opening quarter the Pronghorns held a slim 24-23 lead.
A night ago, Lethbridge scored the first seven points and racked up 33 first quarter points en route to a 115-68 game one win.
In addition to keeping the Pronghorns more in check at the defensive end, Regina took better care of the ball and were far more aggressive at the offensive end getting the Pronghorns in early foul trouble. In the quarter Regina went to the foul line 13 times, hitting nine.
Early in the second, Regina took their first lead of the series on a Shaquille Harris jumper, 27-26 and sparked the Cougars offence early. After missing all 10 three-point attempts in the first quarter, the Cougars hit two from long range early and built a four point lead.
With the team's trading baskets for the remainder of the quarter Zac Overwater's conversion of a three-point play with a bucket and a foul locked the game at 45 at the half.
After hitting nearly everything they shot Thursday night, the Pronghorns hit for only 35.1% in the half and without the strong shooting of Kyle Peterson, the Pronghorns would have been only one-for-nine from behind the arc. Peterson hit five-of-nine from behind the arc and led all scorers with 19 points at the break.
Zac Overwater had another good opening half for the Pronghorns with 17 points and eight rebounds.
For the Cougars, Harris spearhead the offence with 16 points, while Alex Igual, Brandon Tull and Brayden Kurski each had seven points.
Back-to-back threes from Regina's Shawn Lathan set an early tone for the visitors in the second half and led to the Cougars taking advantage of the lack luster play from Lethbridge, building a 10 point lead into the final minutes of the third quarter.
Following their best quarter of the weekend, the Cougars held a 77-70 lead heading into the final quarter. Alex Igual and Lathan led the Cougars to a 32 point quarter, scoring10 and six points respectively.
Finally retuning to the defence witnessed a night ago, the Pronghorns stiffened up on the defensive end of the floor and produced the much needed defensive stops. Lethbridge cut the Cougars lead to just one with just over six minutes to play, setting up a tight final minutes.
Tied at 89 both team's with 32-seconds left, both team's had an empty possession each, forcing overtime. Pronghorn Kyle Peterson and Cougar Alex Igual missed three point attempts.
The Pronghorns will face the winner of the Alberta-UNBC quarter-final but the Alberta Golden Bears hold a 1-0 lead on the Timberwolves after a 98-64 win today. If the top seeded Golden Bears win the series, the Pronghorns will travel to Edmonton. Should the Timberwolves make an unlikely comeback, the Pronghorns would host the Timberwolves.