Campus Life

Horns hit the road for basketball playoffs

The University of Lethbridge Pronghorns men’s basketball team returns to the playoffs this weekend under first-year head coach Mike Hansen. The club heads out on the road to face the University of Fraser Valley Cascades, ironically the team the Horns faced the last time they were in the playoffs, two seasons ago.

The best-of-three quarter-final series begins in Abbotsford, B.C. Thursday night, with game two Friday night and an if necessary game three on Saturday night. The start time for all three games is 8 p.m. (MST) and all three games will be streamed live on Canada West TV.

After the Horns finished the season with a 15-7 record, the most wins for the program since the 1999-2000 season, the program has drawn the hottest team in the conference in UFV. The Cascades have won 14 straight conference games, last losing November 23 in Saskatoon versus the University of Saskatchewan Huskies. The Cascades were also 10-1 at home this season with their only loss coming against the Mount Royal Cougars.

In their only match-up this season, the Cascades beat the Horns 79-69 during the first weekend of the conference schedule in Abbotsford. Two years ago in the playoffs, the Horns lost the third and deciding game of their opening round series on a buzzer beating three pointer.

The series will be one of two contrasting styles, offence versus defence. The Horns finished the regular season with the top ranked offence in Canada West, while the Cascades bring the second ranked defensive team to the series.

The Pronghorns averaged 84.3 points per game to lead the conference and rank sixth in the country. They also lead the conference in free throw percentage (75.2%) and assists (17.8). On the other side of the ball, the Horns were the 15th ranked defensive team in Canada West, allowing 83.3 points per game during the conference schedule.

With a quartet of players finishing with double-digits in points, the conference’s most potent offence was propelled by a balanced attack. Fifth-year guard Logan Reiter finished fifth in the conference to lead the ‘Horns in scoring, averaging 17.6 points per game. Brandon Brine was 9th in Canada West with 16.2 points, while Alex Fletcher and Morgan Duce rounded out the group averaging 12.7 and 12.2 points per game respectively.

Fraser Valley is at the polar opposite of the Horns in style of play. The Cascades allowed only 66.1 points per game, which ranks them second in the conference and fourth in the CIS. They led the conference in field goal defence percentage, holding their opponents to only 36.9% from the floor.  At the offensive end, the Cascades were ranked 12th in Canada West, scoring 72.3 points per contest.

The Cascades do have a foursome averaging double digits per game in points, with Kevon Parchment leading the team with 17.2 points per game. Jasper Moedt sits second on the team with 14.4 points per game but also finished second in the conference in rebounding, averaging 9.1 rebounds per game.

The winner of the series will advance to the Canada West final four, hosted by the highest ranked remaining team.