Fourth-year guard A.J. Basi had 19 points including several dagger 3’s that squelched Wesmen runs while 6’4″ Keith Omoerah added a double double including a resounding slam in traffic in the quarter court with about 3 minutes left that took the air out of the Wesmen and Manitoba held off a late Winnipeg run to advance to the championship game of the 49th Wesmen Classic with a 76-70 victory over the hosts.
Omoerah showed off his wonderful all-round game, dominating the glass with big rebounds at both ends, scoring inside and knocking down 3’s while doing an admirable job guarding Wesmen 6’7″ wing Jelane Pryce. Omoerah’s one-handed slam with 3 minutes remaining off a sweet inside feed from Bisons guard Justus Alleyn, who had a big first half and finished with 18 points, gave Manitoba a 70-63 lead and put an exclamation mark on the game and Omoerah’s dominance.
Bisons rely primarily on the nice work on the defensive glass by Omoerah and 6’9″ Wyatt Anders to get their transition game started and look to push the ball at every opportunity, getting Alleyn out front and Basi spotting up, a style that worked well today against a Wesmen club that also loves to push the tempo.
Pryce is the offensive focal point for Winnipeg and is granted ample room to create his own shot in a variety of fashions. Athletic 6’4″ guard Denzel Lynch-Blair (Toronto Jarvis), who led all scorers with 24 points, provides creativity off the dribble and in transition. 6’9″ Aussie post Ryan Oirbans has soft hands inside, finishing with both hands and providing some rim protection. Winnipeg hometown freshman 6’3″ William Sesay had 15 points in the loss before fouling out with 40 seconds left.
Lakehead meets Acadia in tonight’s second semi-final with the winner advancing to meet the athletic, transition-oriented Bisons in the championship game tomorrow evening.