Tyler Crayston, Brandon University Athletics
BRANDON – The Manitoba Bisons opened the 2018-19 Canada West regular season at the Healthy Living Centre on Friday night with an 88-78 win over the host Bobcats.
Manitoba had balanced scoring with five players reaching double figures. Rashawn Browne was just shy of a triple-double, scoring 25 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.
James Wagner scored 16 points, Andre Arruda added 12, Keiran Zziwa recorded 11 and former Bobcat DJ Jordan Jr. rounded out the Bisons' offence with 10 points.
"We started off the game horribly, but we did a better job of turning up the intensity after that, both defensively and moving the ball offensively," said Browne.
Tyvon Cooper collected a game-high 26 points in a losing cause for the Bobcats, while teammate Troy Grant was next with 18 points.
BU had a big first quarter pouring in 25 points, which was built off six three pointers. The Bobcats' 9-0 run included back-to-back threes by veteran Josh Bell.
The Bisons equaled the Bobcats in the second with a 25-point quarter of their own. Manitoba's 6-0 run to start the second helped set the stage for their comeback as they led 39-36 at the break.
The third was an offensive track meet between the longtime provincial rivals with the Bobcats and Bisons exchanging baskets. Heading into the fourth, Brandon held a slim one-point advantage.
The biggest momentum swing went in favour of Manitoba. The game was deadlocked 62-62, before the Bisons recorded 10 straight points to cement their road victory.
"It came down to that fourth quarter and we just did not come together," said third-year Bobcat forward Kobyn Jopp. "As soon as they started scoring, we just went quiet."
Brandon and Manitoba meet in the rematch on Saturday night at the HLC.
(Photo courtesy Milana Paddock)