Jason Hills, Golden Bears and Pandas Athletics
EDMONTON - It may not have been a night where Oprah Winfrey was at the Saville Community Sports Centre, but the University of Alberta Golden Bears certainly used a page from one of the talk show hosts iconic moments.
Alberta had five players hit double digits, and each Golden Bear scored at least five points in the 98-55 blowout of the Manitoba Bison Saturday night.
Rookie guard Adam Paige led Alberta with 17 points, five rebounds and three assists and Brody Clarke had 15 points and four rebounds, while James Wagner and Rashawn Browne had 12 points each in the loss for the Bisons.
"It was nice to see us make shots on the offensive end, and every perimeter player made a three-pointer, and that was nice," said Bears head coach Barnaby Craddock.
"It started from our strong defence from the early timeout in the first quarter and it just continued from there and for the most part we really made their life difficult and I was really happy with how we defended."
Alberta improves to 9-3 and have won six straight, while Manitoba has dropped five straight games and falls to 3-9 in the Canada West standings.
Alberta jumped out to a 22-11 lead after the opening quarter and led 39-23 at the half, but they blew the doors open in the second half. They shot 60.9% in the third quarter going 14-for-23 from the field and 6-of-10 from beyond the arc and they continued their red-hot play in the fourth quarter shooting 66.7% with none of their starters on the court.
With the game well in-hand, it allowed Craddock to give some key minutes to his younger players and they stepped up.
"We started two rookies and Geoffrey James made some big plays for us, and Adam Paige was a big for us too. He's a big part of our program, and he's really starting to show that he's not a rookie in this league and he can contribute," said Craddock.
"I thought we struggled offensively last night, but tonight we got it going on both sides, and we need to build on this on our tough games coming up."
One night after the Bisons pushed Alberta to the limit in a crabby 75-70 loss for Manitoba, Nothing went right for the Bisons as the No.6 ranked Golden Bears sent a strong message.
They struggled to get any momentum going and in the second half, they went ice-cold offensively.
"They shot the ball so much better tonight and they had more flow offensively and they got good looks because of it," said Bisons head coach Kirby Schepp.
"Our poor offensive effort fed into their transition and we made it easier on them. We were solid defensively for a little bit, but our poor offence really fed into their offensive success."
The Golden Bears were relentless defensively and they shot the ball with confidence. They finished off every quarter strong and it was highlighted by a pair of buzzer-beater three-pointers from Paige and James to end the first and third quarter.
James hit his from the opposing three-point line to send the fans at the Saville Centre in a roar.
"Everything went right for them, especially in that second half, and that long three was emblematic of just how the game went for us," said Schepp.
"We just didn't have any flow."