Written by: Kellen Taniguchi
Winnipeg, MB – The University of Manitoba Bisons men's basketball team defeated the UNBC Timberwolves 77-68 on Saturday, January 28 at the Investors Group Athletic Centre.
With the win, the Bisons improve to 10-6, and the Timberwolves fall to 4-12 in conference play. The victory is Manitoba's eighth consecutive in conference (11th straight overall).
Manitoba's defensive play improved significantly from last night's win over these same Timberwolves.
"Certainly the first half, I think we really defended well" said Bisons head coach Kirby Schepp. "We need to play better offensively, I thought we weren't really cohesive as a unit. That's probably the next piece for us we need to get better and better at."
Justus Alleyn led the Bisons in scoring with 19 points, while AJ Basi netted another 12, and Keith Omoerah came up big on the boards with 11 rebounds. The Timberwolves were led by Rhys Elliot's 19 points, and Vaggelis Loukas's double-double of 12 points, and 11 rebounds.
The first quarter featured good defense from both sides, with the Bisons holding UNBC to just one three-pointer in the half, and UNBC is known for their shots from outside. Manitoba also held the Timberwolves to just 13 points in the quarter, while scoring 17 of their own. The home side was able to score six points off of turnovers, taking advantage of the extra possessions their defense gave them in the frame.
Things picked up where they left off in the second quarter, strong defensive play, including a massive block by Keith Omoerah that got the crowd roaring. Manitoba shot 41.2 percent from the field, and held UNBC to just 31.6 percent. The home side once again held the Timberwolves to just 13 points, and took a 34-26 lead into halftime. Justus Alleyn's seven points led the way for Manitoba in the first half, while Austin Chandler and Rhys Elliot each netted eight for UNBC.
The offense came out to begin the second half, with both teams shooting 50 percent or higher in the third quarter. The teams exchanged looks, and AJ Basi led the Bisons with two three-pointers in the quarter, and Rhys Elliot scored eight points for the Timberwolves. The Bisons held a 13-point lead, but the visitors ended the frame on a 9-0 run, with Elliot Rowe scoring the last five points.
The teams remained competitive in the fourth, and Rowe opened the quarter with another three-pointer, to cut the lead to just one. However, the home side would respond and extend their lead to as many as eight points with just under two minutes to play. The visitors didn't stop battling, but each time they scored to bring the score closer, the Bisons would make a must needed basket. Keith Omoerah and Jonathon Alexander made clutch baskets late to keep the score in check. Manitoba would roll on to win their eighth straight conference game, by a score of 77-68.
Both teams return to the court during the February 3-4 weekend. Manitoba is back on the road to take on the Brandon Bobcats, while the Timberwolves are off to UBC to face the Thunderbirds.
MAN: Justus Alleyn (19)
UNBC: Rhys Elliot (19)
MAN: AJ Basi and Justus Alleyn (4)
UNBC: Vaggelis Loukas (3)
MAN: Keith Omoerah (11)
UNBC: Vaggelis Loukas (11)