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Ooks End Lions Winning StreaK

Ooks End Lions Winning StreaK

The NAIT Ooks came into Ambrose Friday night to take on the undefeated Lions Friday night coming off winning their last two in a matchup between the second seeds of the ACAC North and South.

            Kicking off the first quarter the Ooks jumped out on a 10-0 run thanks to 7 straight points from #22 Nhiall Kuech which forced an early Lions timeout. The Lions were able to respond, closing the gap to 14-11, but they quickly followed that up with another cold streak. The Ooks finished the first with a 21-13 lead, holding Ambrose to 21% shooting in the opening frame.

            The Lions came out stronger to start the second led by a pair of buckets from Mateja Vukic, shrinking the deficit to as close as 7. But on the other side, the Ooks took advantage of the Lions switch everything defensive coverage, moving the ball swiftly and capitalizing on any miscommunications. The Ooks efficient offense shot 61% in the quarter to prevent the Lions from gaining any ground and closed the first half with a 45-35 lead.

            Things started to get contentious in the third after NAIT forward Antonio Benjamin was called for an unsportsmanlike foul against Isaac Gray at two minutes in. Ooks' guard Ephraim Humilde also picked up a technical not long after that. Regardless, the Lions struggled to gain any momentum and their defensive woes continued allowing NAIT to win the quarter 23-20 and take a 13-point lead going into the final frame.

            The Lions came out firing to open the fourth, but for every bucket NAIT had a response. A deep three from Lions player of the game Alonzo Tan was followed up by a three from Gray to bring the Lions within 8 with over seven minutes to play, but that was as close as they would bring it. From there, the Ooks took back control of the pace, jumping out in transition as the Lions rushed to try and make the comeback, favoring the style of #23 Kenyi Lodi, who put up 18 of his 28 points in the fourth to earn player of the game for NAIT. Lions leading scorer Isaac Gray went down late with an injury and that was curtains. NAIT won every quarter to take the game 96-81.

            Ambrose will have to try and get its' swagger back tomorrow night against the 1-4 Northwestern Polytechnic Wolves from the ACAC North, while NAIT takes on the Lethbridge College Kodiaks, the last remaining undefeated team in the ACAC South.