LETHBRIDGE – Rallying from a seven point deficit to start the final quarter, the Lethbridge Pronghorns completed the series sweep of the Victoria Vikes with a 94-85 come from behind victory. The Pronghorns will head to Edmonton next weekend to face the Alberta Golden Bears in a best of three quarter-final series while the Vikes are eliminated.
Down 68-59 with 3.5 seconds left in the third quarter, freshman Brett Warren’s hit a buzzer beater to kick-start the Pronghorns comeback. The momentum carried into the fourth where the ‘Horns erased the seven point deficit in the first three and a half minutes and continued on a 14-2 run take a lead that they would never relinquish.
“Early foul trouble, some fatigue and injuries really slowed us down in the first half,” said head coach Mike Hansen. “We did a better job of taking away good looks but kept putting Vic on the line.”
“In the fourth quarter we mixed up our coverages and our defense really tightened up and allowed us to get out and run.”
“Gibby (Colton Gibb) was fantastic defensively and Dejon exerted his will on that game and refused to allow us to lose.”
Point guard Dejon Burdeaux was once again the engine that makes the Pronghorns go, scoring a game high 34 points, while picking up a double-double with 12 boards. He also had six steals and two assists to lead the way. Elliott Sentance scored 14 points and Zac Overwater chipped in with 13.
Hassan Abdullahi and Grant Sitton each had 23 points in a losing cause, each contributing in a different fashion. Abdullahi almost single handedly willed his team to a game three with lights out shooting, missing just one shot and going perfect from behind the arc. Sitton, on the other hand, struggled from the field but made 11 of 13 of his free throws.
The Vikes overcame a shaky start to the game that saw them miss their first seven shot attempts, but only trailed by one after the first and were able to keep the Pronghorns attack off balance for much of the opening half.
After keeping the game with in a single possession for much of the second quarter, the Vikes closed the opening half on a 11-4 run to take a 46-39 lead into the recess. Scott Kellum capped the run with a three in the dying seconds of the half.
While the third quarter was a saw-off at 22 points, Abdullahi was a one man show for the Vikes scoring 15 of his team’s 22 points on a perfect six for six from the floor, with three long balls. For the Pronghorns Burdeaux did his best to keep pace with nine points, while freshman Scott Mazutinec had five his eight points on the night in the third.
On the night, the Pronghorns hit on 40.6% from the field and after dropping 16 three pointers in game one, were on 9 for 21 from long range tonight. The Vikes finished the night with a better shooting percentage at 43.5% but were out rebounded 47-29 and 13 Pronghorn offensive rebounds to the Vikes four gave the Pronghorns the extra looks they would need to complete the sweep.
The Canada West Quarter-Final between the Pronghorns and Golden Bears will start Thursday night in Edmonton, tip-off is slated for 8:00pm.
UVIC: 20-26-22-17: 85
LETH: 21-18-22-33: 94