The Saint Mary’s Huskies got an inspired performance from guard Marquis Clayton, helping them top the Alberta Golden Bears 98-93 in overtime.
After being held to just three first-half points, Clayton came alive in the final 23 minutes, including sinking the game-tying shot in regulation as well as six in the extra session.
“Marquis was terrific in the second half,” said Huskies head coach Jonah Taussig. “He knocked down a lot of big shots for us and defended pretty well as well.”
Huskies guard Theon Reefer established his presence inside early, getting to the line four times, while leading all scorers with seven points after the first quarter. Alberta countered with 7-foot-2 post Brett Roughead, who got the start in place of Brody Clarke. He went 2-for-3 from the field and had six points.
Neither team shot particularly well in the opening 10 minutes, as both sides were below 40 per cent. The biggest factor for the Huskies was their ability to defend Alberta from the perimeter, as they held the Canada West conference’s best team from three-point range to just two treys and led by five after one.
Forward Mamadou Gueye brought his team back in the second quarter, thanks to his mid-range game. He would record 11 points, as the Golden Bears shot 61.1 per cent from the field and led by one at halftime.
The Huskies began to get comfortable from the perimeter in the third, going 4-of-6. Clayton led the way with eight points – including two treys – as Saint Mary’s led by four entering the fourth.
The Golden Bears would keep pace from three-point range, sinking three treys – matching their combined first half total. Guard Geoff Pippus was the catalyst with nine points, six of which came from the perimeter.
Clayton and Alberta’s Lyndon Annetts provided critical baskets for their team down the stretch in what was a very exciting fourth quarter.
Annetts would sink five-straight points to give his team a three-point lead late, but Clayton would send the game to overtime, cashing a game-tying three with just one second to play in regulation.
Clayton kept his hot streak going in the extra session. With the game tied at 89, he would sink two straight treys, which was enough to secure the win for Saint Mary’s.
Despite the loss, Alberta head coach Barnaby Craddock was pleased with the way his team responded after suffering a heartbreaking loss the night before.
“It was a difficult loss for us to take (last night), but that’s the character of our guys to come back and bounce back and put their best foot forward and play hard and represent the program,” he said. “I thought they did that, and unfortunately we weren’t successful, but I definitely thought we competed with heart.”
Saint Mary’s now advances to the consolation final at 8 p.m. AT tomorrow, while Alberta’s tournament is over.