Cameron Doherty, Huskie Athletics
SASKATOON – A combination of clutch shots and timely defence allowed the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns men's basketball team to ride out a back-and-forth game for the 97-89 win over the Saskatchewan Huskies inside the PAC on Friday, January 4.
In a game that was always destined to be high-scoring, with both teams entering the game in the top three in conference scoring, it was a defensive play from Lethbridge that put the game away late in the fourth.
With the score 93-89 in favour of the Pronghorns and the Huskies doing all they could to get it to within one possession, Lethbridge was able to smother all passing options from a Saskatchewan side inbounds play, forcing a turnover and ending any chance of a late Huskies comeback.
Zac Overwater was outstanding for the visitors, tallying 32 points and ten rebounds in his 36 minutes on the floor. Kyle Peterson added 27 points and seven assists for Lethbridge while Colton Gibb rounded out the top scorers with 18 points and six rebounds.
For the Huskies Maxwell Amoafo was dominant down low, recording 22 points, 17 rebounds and two blocks while playing all but two minutes in the game. Chan De Ciman went six-for-eight from beyond-the-arc en route to scoring 22 points and added five assists in the losing effort.
The result tightens the gap between the two teams in an extremely close Canada West standings table.
Saskatchewan is now 7-6 on the season, while the victory snapped a six-game skid for Lethbridge and moves them to 5-6.
Entering the fourth quarter with the Pronghorns leading 67-60, a 17-10 run for Saskatchewan during which Amoafo and De Ciman combined for ten points tied the game up with just under five minutes remaining. The teams traded buckets for much of the remainder of the fourth, with Overwater and Brett Warren providing much of the offence for Lethbridge before a three-pointer from JT Robinson tied the game up at 88-88 with 1:07 on the clock.
The visitors found an answer however and a clutch three from Mike Pierzchala and six-straight points from Peterson allowed them to emerge victorious.
Much like the scoreboard, the box score was incredibly close at the end of the game. Saskatchewan out-rebounded Lethbridge 42-37 but the visitors held a 46.1-40.2 advantage in shooting percentage.
These two squads will be back in action tomorrow night in what is sure to be another exciting contest with the action getting underway on Ron & Jane Graham Centre Court at 8 p.m.