MBB: Second half surge sends Bears over Griffins

MBB: Second half surge sends Bears over Griffins

Connor Hood, Golden Bears and Pandas Athletics

EDMONTON - Leading by just 10 after the first two quarters, a 42-point second half was enough for the host Golden Bears to capture their first win of the season, knocking off the MacEwan Griffins 85-56 Thursday night at Saville Community Sports Centre. 

First-year Bear Tyus Jefferson and fourth-year forward Brody Clarke paced the Alberta attack with 16 points each, with Clarke grabbing 10 boards to finish the the double-double. Jefferson, meanwhile, added a pair of assists to go along with two makes from deep in his first career start for Alberta. 

"The second quarter, MacEwan started to dictate the play, so credit to them for that. They out-rebounded us for a long stretch." said Golden Bears head coach Barnaby Craddock. "But our guys came out to play in the second half. I thought it was our tempo and style of play that pushed us past them tonight."

Jake Notice led MacEwan with a game-high 21, but his offensive numbers weren't matched by his teammates, the next highest being three players with six each. 

While neither team shot well, the Bears defence was the biggest factor in the game, holding the Griffins to just 20/58 shooting (34.5%). Alberta's turnaround on the glass, which saw them out-board MacEwan 25-14 in the second, paced their late dominance. 

MacEwan's shooting struggles was very evident in the opening quarter, as they made just three of their 12 shots. The Golden Bears took advantage, making seven of their 16, taking a 21-13 lead after one. 10 of those 21 points came off the hands of Jefferson, who made four shots in seven minutes for Alberta. 

"Tyus has been a great addition to our program. Knocked down some nice shots for us in big moments." continued Craddock. "I think he plays with passion from that point guard position, and that rubs off on the guys."

Notice found his shot in the second, as he dropped in 10 points in the second quarter alone to lead the Griffins. However, the Griffins weren't able to cut in to the Alberta lead whatsoever, as seven points from Andre Kelly off the bench extended Alberta's lead to 43-33. 

Alberta's dominant third quarter, which saw them outscore MacEwan 22-6, left little doubt about who was going to win the season opener. The Griffins once again struggle to penetrate the Bears defence, making just 25% of their shots in the quarter. Another well-rounded effort saw the Bears drop another 22, including four from Clarke, and five from Dwan Williams.

A collection of bench players, including four rookies for Alberta, closed out the 85-56 win. 

The Edmonton rivals will finish their home-and-home series on Saturday, as the Griffins host the Bears at noon at the David Atkinson Gym.