Saturday, 26 February 2011

Golden Bears advance to Canada West Final Four

Alberta 86, Victoria 79  6'4" Daniel Ferguson had 21 of his game-high 34 points in the second half, making a momentum-changing shot late in the third to give the Bears a 7 point lead and Alberta held on to take an exciting Best-of-3 series over the Vikes.  Ferguson went 13 for 21 from the field including 4 for 8 from 3 but arguably his biggest make was off another of the several hustle, energy plays from 6'2" Kenny Otieno, who grabbed an offensive board and kicked it out to an open Ferguson who made no mistake in what up to that point had been a game in which no lead was greater than 5.  Although the Vikes got it to 3 early in the fourth, Alberta was able to grab double digit leads and coach Greg Francis was able to empty his bench in the final minute.  Otieno provided maybe his best all-round game as a Golden Bear with 14 points and 7 rebounds while 6'8" Jordan Baker came alive in the second half with 19 points.  It was raining 3's early as Ferguson hit two long 3's from about 7 feet behind the line but 6'1" Jeff Cullen, who led the Vikes with 16, was equal to it with a pair of threes of his own to keep the game to within 1 - Ferguson ended the first quarter with 10 points.  Later, the Vikes took a 4 point lead but Baker found Ferguson in transition with a slick look for an open 3, part of a 9-0 Alberta run that gave the Bears a 29-24 lead.  But Victoria finished the half on a 16-7 run to lead by 4 going into the break.  But Otieno was a demon on the offensive glass and in transition and Ferguson got to the rim a couple of times to get Alberta the lead back in what was anyone's game until Otieno's offensive rebound seemed to turn the momentum and the Bears never trailed thereafter.  Vikes star guard 6'4" Ryan Mackinnon was held to 9 points while 6'8" center Mike Berg again was a tough check inside, finishing with 14 for the Vikes.

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