Bisons impressive run comes to an end at nationals in Halifax

Bison basketball team in action at U Sports nationals in HalifaxPhoto by Mike Still

This weekend the University of Manitoba men’s basketball team took part in the U Sports Final Eight Championships in Halifax. The Bisons dropped their opening game to the McGill Redmen 63-53 on Thursday, and were sent to the consolation bracket where they fell 92-84 in the semi-finals to the Calgary Dinos on Friday.



Justus Alleyn got the Bisons on the scoreboard early with a good layup and jumper to give his team an early 4-0 lead. The Redmen avoided being put in an early hole and answered with a 9-0 run, and didn’t give up the lead for the remainder of the game. Manitoba shot just 31 per cent from the field in the first frame, while McGill found twine on 42 per cent of their looks to give them an 18-10 first quarter lead.

After a difficult opening quarter, the herd came out and shot 57 per cent from the field to claw back into the game. The Bisons were able to spread the ball out more in the second quarter with AJ Basi, Brett Jewell, and Ilarion Bonhomme all scoring five points. McGill guard Jenning Leung put up six of his total 13 points in the second frame to help his team take a 35-30 heading into halftime.

The third was dominated by defensive play with the Redmen stealing four balls, the Bisons stealing three, and both sides forcing five turnovers. McGill shot a dismal 25 per cent in the quarter, while the Bisons shot the rock a little better at 33 per cent. McGill outscored Manitoba 11-8 in a quarter dominated in the defensive ends.

With McGill leading 56-49 midway through the final quarter, they were able to pull further away by going on a late 7-0 run. The Redmen held their strong lead and went on to win the game 63-53. Francois Bourque netted eight points in the second half for the Redmen and finished the game with a double-double of 13 points and 15 rebounds. Keith Omoerah scored nine points in the second half and finished with 13 points, which was tied with Basi for the team-high.



Manitoba came out firing on all cylinders and opened the consolation semi-final on an 11-0 run. With the score 17-6, Calgary strung together seven straight points to cut the Bison lead to four points, and clawed back within two points to end of the opening quarter. Alleyn knocked down seven of his team-high 17 points in the opening quarter.

Thomas Cooper converted an early second quarter layup to tie the game for the Dinos, but Manitoba went on a massive 15-0 run to take a 37-22 lead. Calgary responded with a 9-0 run of their own to get back into the game, and ended the half with a 12-2 run to put the Dinos on top 43-42 at the buzzer.

Omoerah and Basi each scored six points for the herd in the second frame, with Omoerah finishing the game with 15 points and Basi finishing with 13, while Jasdeep Gill put home all 10 of his points for Calgary in the frame.

Calgary went on an 8-0 run, and a 10-0 run within the first six minutes of the third to take a commanding 15-point lead. Manitoba didn’t go away and ended the quarter strong by going on a 9-2 run, which cut the Calgary lead to 69-66. Cooper scored 10 of his game-high 30 points in the third and came down with 11 rebounds for the Dinos to finish with a double-double.

Calgary scored the first six points of the fourth quarter to expand their lead to nine points early on. Bonhomme came up big, and netted nine points in the final quarter for Manitoba and finished with a total of 16 in the game. The Dinos grabbed the 92-84 win to end Manitoba’s impressive season.