EDMONTON - Ending a 16-game win streak, the No.4 University of Alberta Golden Bears defeat the No.2 University of Calgary Dinos 70-69 in game one of a home-and-home battle of Alberta, Thursday night at Saville Community Sports Centre.
In a game that found most of the Saville Centre fanbase sitting on the edge of their seats, Golden Bear second-year Adam Paige sunk both of his foul shots with 4.8 seconds left to secure the win and tie Calgary on top of the Canada West standings.
Leading the way in the win, alongside Paige, was senior guard Ivan Ikomey, both ending the night with 15 points. Meanwhile, the Dinos offence was generated largely by fourth-year Brett Layton, netting 21 points.
After a slow start to the game, the Dinos were able to drain the first bucket almost three minutes in, only draining three more from the charity stripe, as it was all Bears in the first.
In his first game back at home since returning from injury, senior forward Brody Clarke opened the scoring for the Bears, starting an 11-point run. However, that would not be the Bears largest run of the quarter, later going on a 12-point run to end the first, 24-5.
In a game that seemed to be all Golden Bears in the opening frame, the Dinos were not ready to be extinct, as they came roaring back in the second quarter, going on an eight-point run of their own, trailing by only eight points at half.
With the momentum swinging back-and-forth in the third, neither team was able to get a strong hold on the game, but the Bears managed an 11-point lead, heading into the fourth and final quarter.
As minutes ticked away in the final quarter, so did the Dinos chip away at the Alberta’s lead. With less than a minute left, third-year Ezeoha Santiago sunk a three, allowing Calgary to take their first lead of the game since the opening basket.
With only a single-point lead and 4.8 seconds left, fourth-year Dino Max Eisele committed a holding foul on Paige directly under the bucket, sending Paige to the line, sinking two shots (the first a bouncer off the rim and the second a straight swish) and taking the lead back for the Bears, 70-69.
In a last-chance effort, Santiago’s three-point shot with 1.0 seconds left fell short into Paige’s arms, leading to another foul, sending Paige back to the line and the Bears onto their 11th-straight win.
The two Canada West powerhouses will meet again on Saturday night in Calgary at approximately 7:00 p.m. MT, in what will be both a battle of Alberta and a battle for sole possession atop the conference standings.