LETHBRIDGE – Leading from the opening tip to the final buzzer, the Lethbridge Pronghorn men's basketball team opened the 2018-19 season with a convincing 92-54 win over the visiting MacEwan Griffins.
After having to watch the rest of the conference open the new season last weekend, the Pronghorns were lead by Mike Pierzchala, who made a splash in his return to the team after sitting out last season, with a game high 23 points. Colton Gibb finished the night with 18 points after scoring 10 in the opening quarter and Zac Overwater chipped in with 15 points. Guard Kyle Peterson had a great night distributing the ball in the Pronghorn win finishing with 11 assists.
The Griffins, who saw their record fall to 0-3, were led by Jake Notice and Liban Yousef with 10 points apiece.
Pronghorn head coach Mike Hansen who earned his 60th conference win and 100th overall as Pronghorn coach commented "It was nice to get the first game out of the way, I thought the guys played with great enthusiasm and fed off the crowds' energy."
"At times we did some nice things out there but we have to clean up a lot of mistakes as we move forward."
"I was happiest with our leadership, and how we reigned thinks in when we started getting a little too loose with the ball; it was a good starting point."
Out of the gate, Lethbridge opened on a 7-0 run and held leads of 21-15 after the first and 44-16 at the half. Through out the opening half, the Pronghorns were effective at the offensive end, hitting on 48.5% from the floor.
Conversely, the Griffins had a tough shooting half, making only 10 of 42 field goals for a cool 23.8%, but 10 offensive rebounds in the half led to some quality extra looks that would just not fall for the Griffins.
Continuing to pour it on offensively, Pierzchala hit three consecutive long balls to start the second half, pushing the lead to 25 points and put any end to any doubt of the end result of the Pronghorn home opener would be.
In the final two quarters Lethbridge outscored MacEwan 20 to 15 and 28 to 13, holding a 23 point lead the end of the third quarter and cruising to a 38 point margin at the final buzzer.
On the night, the Pronghorns were a solid 46.3% from the field, while hitting on 8 of 25 from behind the arc and making 22 of 28 shots from the charity stripe. The Pronghorns won the battle of the glass, 48-41 but MacEwan was able to snag 14 offensive rebounds to plenty of extra possessions for the visitors.
The tough shooting night continued into the second half for the Griffins, finishing the night hitting only 21 of 81 shot attempts for a 25.9 shooting percentage. They were only able to hit four of 36 three point attempts and where 8 for 14 from the free throw line.
The Pronghorns will go for the weekend sweep tomorrow night, hosting the Griffins at the 1st Choice Savings Centre at 7:00 p.m. Catch all the action on www.canadawest.tv.
Photo by: MPP Photography