Bisons lock down playoffs in set against University of Brandon Bobcats

Men lock down bye, women clinch spot in basketball finale

Manitoba Bisons guard Rashawn Browne against the UBC Okanagan Heat at Investors Group Athletic Centre on Friday, November 1, 2019 (Dave Mahussier, Bison Sports)

There were playoff implications abounding over the weekend for the U of M Bisons basketball teams.

While the men looked to lock down a bye to the second round, the women had to win to clinch a spot in the dance. After the Bisons took three of four from the Brandon University Bobcats, both were were playoff implications abounding over the weekend for the U of M Bisons basketball teams.

Men’s basketball

When you’re fighting for your playoff life, you’ve got to play desperate.

Such was the case Friday as the Bobcats edged out the Bisons 90-87 to get into playoff position.

The game was all U of M in the first half, as the herd shot above 50 per cent from the field and was lights-out from range. Heading into halftime the Bisons had a commanding 49-36 lead.

After a tight third quarter where the Bobcats kept the U of M at bay, BU started the comeback in the fourth.

With 3:17 to go, down 85-80, Shun Williams went 2-for-2 from the free-throw line kicking off an eight-point run to give Brandon an 88-85 lead.

Cameron O’Hara briefly got the herd within one, but a pair of Dominique Dennis free throws closed out the win for Brandon.

The loss seemed to wake up the herd, as it closed out the regular season with a dominant 78-58 win.

Things got going early for the U of M, as the club outscored the visiting Bobcats 24-14 in the opening quarter.

Joel Adu-Quaye kicked off an 11-point run for the Bisons to start the second quarter, and the herd closed it with a 10-point run to build a 49-20 lead at the half.

The Bisons kept the Bobcats at arm’s length the rest of the way to finish the season with a win.

The U of M finishes the regular season at 16-4 but falls to fourth in the conference based on RPI. With a bye to the second round, the herd will await the winner of the competition between Brandon University and the University of Victoria Vikes.

Women’s basketball

All it needed was a win, and the Bisons women’s basketball team decided to grab two just in case with a season-ending sweep of the Bobcats.

The action got started Friday with a big 84-72 win by the U of M to clinch a playoff spot.

A huge 31-point first quarter set the tone for the herd, but it only held a 43-31 lead heading into the half.

Both sides traded baskets the rest of the way, with identical 15-15 and 26-26 scores to close out the game.

Emma Thompson led the herd with 18 points on the night, while Lauren Bartlett held things down below the basket with a game-high seven rebounds.

With the playoffs locked down, the Bobcats looked to catch the Bisons sleeping Saturday, but despite a lead at the half, the Bisons rallied to an 86-76 win and weekend sweep.

Coming out of halftime, the Bisons faced a 51-44 deficit, but the club was undeterred.

An Addison Martin layup kicked off a 19-point run for the herd, who added seven more points in the quarter, outscoring BU 26-8.

The U of M held on to the lead in the fourth to complete the sweep.

With both wins, the U of M finishes the year at 9-11, good for 10th in the conference. Its playoff journey will begin against the seventh-place University of Victoria Vikes.