Buzzer-beater lifts 'Horns over Cougars

Buzzer-beater lifts 'Horns over Cougars

Lethbridge - A fast-paced back-and-forth affair ended in dramatic fashion as the Lethbridge Pronghorns came away with a 96-93 win over the Mount Royal Cougars.

With the game tied in the dying seconds Colton Gibb stole the ball and Dejon Burdeaux hit a three with 0.1 seconds left to win it for the 'Horns.

With the win, the Pronghorns remain perfect on the season at 5-0, while the loss drops Mount Royal's record to 2-3.

The Pronghorns ability to get to the free throw line proved to be the difference on this night, as the 'Horns made 34 of 47 free throws, while the Cougars only attempted 19 on the night.

All five starters hit for double digits for the Pronghorns, but Burdeaux led the way with 28 points and completed the double-double with 10 rebounds. Kyle Pederson chipped in the 18 points and Gibb picked up 15 points to go along with seven rebounds.

Josh Ross and John Hegwood were the offensive catalysts for Mount Royal as Ross scored a game high 32 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for a double-double of his own. Hegwood picked up 26 points, seven rebounds and four assists in the loss.

"Our defence was horrible tonight, but we came up with a big stop at the end and Dejon made a heck of a shot to bail us out," said Pronghorn had coach Mike Hansen. "We have to start getting a consistent effort on the defensive end if we are going to continue to be successful."

Both teams opened the game looking to run and make the contest a track meet, when the dust settled at the end of the opening quarter the Pronghorns carried a 30-25 advantage. However, the Pronghorn lead could have been far bigger if not for the play of Mount Royal guard John Hegwood, who had 16 of his team's 25 first quarter points and was all over the floor.

The Pronghorns had an exceptional opening 10 minutes shooting the ball, hitting on 10 of 15 shots for 66.6%.

The fast and furious pace continued in the second quarter and the two teams combined for 105 first half points, leaving the Cougars in the lead at the break, 53-52.

After shooting the ball so well in the opening quarter, the Pronghorns cooled off during the second quarter, hitting only 5 of 18, but were able to keep the game close with solid free throw shooting. In the half the Pronghorns hit 21 of 23 free throws.

The Cougars were far more consistent in their offence, hitting exactly 50% in the half and were able to get 40 shots up in the first 20 minutes thanks to 10 offensive rebounds and 11 Pronghorn turnovers.

Out of the break, Mount Royal scored the first five points to build their biggest lead of the game and the teams went back and forth for the entire third quarter. While both teams struggled with their consistency at the offensive end of the floor, the Cougars held a slim 76-74 lead with one quarter to play.

Finally finding the touch they had in the opening quarter, the Pronghorns opened the fourth with the first eight points to take back the lead, 82-76 but Mount Royal would not go away quietly and the result was in doubt until the final seconds.

On the night, the Pronghorns finished 43.9% from the floor but only hit 4 of 18 from behind the arc. The Cougars hit for 45.3% that included 11 from long range. Rebounds and turnovers were nearly identical with Mount Royal outrebounding Lethbridge 42-41 but turning the ball over 21 times compared to the Pronghorns 19.

Game two of the home-and-home series will go Saturday night at Kenyon Court in Calgary, tip-off is scheduled for 8:00pm and the game will be streamed live on www.canadawest.tv