The University of Manitoba Bison basketball teams hosted provincial rivals the Brandon University Bobcats this weekend. The women split their series after an 84-77 loss on Friday and a 90-74 win on Saturday. The men also earned a split, losing 88-85 in overtime on Friday, and winning 85-84 on Saturday.
In the loss on Friday, Emma Thompson of the Bisons scored 29 points and five rebounds, with teammate Taylor Randall putting up 16 and four rebounds and three assists. Brandon’s depth came in big for them, scoring 33 points from players off the bench.
On Saturday, the Bisons scored the second most points they have all season in the 90-74 win. Randall led the way for Manitoba, scoring 25 points, two rebounds, and six assists. Thompson was close behind her, notching 23 points, four rebounds, and two assists.
“I would’ve liked to use a bit more in terms of our bench but we made an adjustment at half to shorten it,” said Bison head coach Michele Sung. “I felt the girls who did play in the second half really mentally focused on what we needed to do and what the game plan was.”
The Bisons have now won four out of their last five games to move their record to 4-6, matching their win total from last year.
“When we play well it surprises everyone else but me, I’ve said that since the beginning when we play to our potential,” Sung said.
“Learning how to win takes time and we’re finally starting to click in that category and I would love it to be more consistent throughout 40 minutes but we’re looking for another two next weekend.”
The Bisons lost a heartbreaker on Friday night after Rashawn Browne hit a three-point shot to tie the game at 76 with no time on the clock. Brandon had the last laugh however, as a last second three pointer from Tyvon Cooper sealed the victory for the visitors.
Fifth-year guard Justus Alleyn had 25 points, four rebounds, and one assist in the loss. James Wagner had a double-double, with 19 points and 11 rebounds.
On Saturday, the Bisons came out and won a close game, snapping a three-game losing streak and moving their record to 6-4.
An explosive third quarter for the Bisons had them outscore the Bobcats 25-11, with Alleyn scoring nine of his 33 points in the quarter. Wagner finished with another double-double, scoring 19 points and 16 rebounds.
“I’m proud of the guys because we’ve lost a few real close games,” said Bison head coach Kirby Schepp.
“We really stayed together and we played team ball instead of getting selfish late, we moved it and moved it and I think the basketball gods were shining on us because we’re playing the right way.”
The Bisons were a bit banged up heading into Saturday’s game, missing starters Browne and Joey Nitychoruk, but Cameron O’Hara came in and finished with nine rebounds.
“Cam was phenomenal, that was probably the best game of his career,” Schepp said. “We really played well off the bench and [Cam] was a big part of our rebound effort, we dominated the game on the glass.”
The Bison basketball teams head to Kelowna to play the UBC Okanagan Heat on Dec. 1-2 to wrap up the first half of the season.