Late rally, Omoerah’s record game lifts Bisons in Battle of Winnipeg

Manitoba (8-9) 60, Winnipeg (12-5) 55... 6’4″ Keith Omoerah set a Wesmen Classic record with 25 rebounds including numerous tough boards down the stretch and also did a stellar job checking Wesmen star wing 6’4″ Denzel Lynch-Blair and 6’2″ Ilarion Bonhomme knocked down consecutive 3’s late in the fourth to lead Manitoba to their second consecutive Wesmen Classic championship final with their third win in three tries this season over arch-cross-town rival Wesmen in the first semi-final of the tournament.  Bonhomme’s second late three, from the right wing on a feed from Omoerah, gave Bisons a 53-50 lead they would never relinquish and then later Omoerah followed up a miss by 6’3″ Justus Alleyn with a thunderous one-handed follow dunk to push the lead back to 3 with just under 2 minutes to play.  Winnipeg had at least 3 opportunities to tie it including Jamar Farlay‘s contested (by Omoerah) look at a three from the left wing with just 2 seconds remaining but he could not hit and Bisons survived.  Earlier, Lynch-Blair missed two close-in shots and A.J. Basi was fouled on the ensuing rebound but missed a pair of free throws with 15 seconds remaining.  However, Alleyne retrieved the second miss and Basi then made no mistake on the next 2 after getting fouled and Manitoba defended Farley’s final possession look well.  6’2″ freshman Narcisse Ambanza led Winnipeg with 14 points however Wesmen shot just 26% from the floor in an offensively-challenged game between two teams who are very familiar with each other.  Omoerah had 17 points to lead Manitoba while Basi added 14 but it was Omoerah’s historic 25-rebound effort, obliterating the previous tournament record by 5 rebounds, that was the difference as the fifth-year forward continues his quest for back-to-back Classic tournament MVP’s.  Bisons take on the winner of UVic/Alberta set to go shortly.


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