Curtis Miller -Bison Sports

SASKATOON – The University of Manitoba Bisons opened up the 2017-18 Canada West men’s basketball season with an 86-78 win over the University of Saskatchewan Huskies Friday night on Ron & Jane Graham Court at the PAC.

The Huskies found themselves trailing throughout the majority of the first game of the year. Besides a slim lead at the start of the game, Saskatchewan wouldn’t lead again until the third quarter.

The Bisons would protect a comfortable lead that reached as much as eight in the third frame  until the Huskies offence started to come together. Trailing 50-42 midway through the third, the Huskies would put together an 8-0 run, six of those points coming from fourth-year forward Joseph Barker.

Fifth-year Bison Justus Alleyn would provide a response for his team. His three-pointer would give the Bisons back lead before the Huskies struck back. Another scoring run, this time 7-0, gave the Huskies their largest lead of the game at 57-53.

Manitoba wouldn’t let the Huskies go into the fourth with the lead. Back-to-back Bisons’ three-pointers restored a Manitoba lead at 59-57 heading into the final quarter.

In the fourth, a couple of Wagner James jump shots would spark a 14-4 run by the Bisons to grow the lead to as much as 12. Despite a couple of Barker layups to bring the lead back down to single digits, the Huskies couldn’t complete the comeback.

Barker recorded a double-double with 22 points and 16 rebounds, while adding two assists. Fifth-year guard Alex Unruh added 20 points with five rebounds and seven assists for the Huskies.

Alleyn led the way for the Bisons with a game-high 33 points, while adding three assists and two rebounds. Rashawn Browne also added 19 points, seven rebounds and five assists for Manitoba.

Manitoba shot at 50% in the game, while the Huskies shot at 39%.

The teams will meet again Saturday night at the PAC. Tipoff is at 8 p.m.