By Woodard, Dale on February 10, 2020.
That’s a toe-tapping beat the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns men’s basketball team can move to.
The Horns wrapped up their Canada West regular season schedule on a winning note, defeating the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack 90-73 Saturday night at the 1st Choice Savings Centre.
The win not only gives the Pronghorns a 2-0 sweep, it also brings them to 10-10 on the season and sends them into the playoffs on a six-game winning streak.
That’s music to the ears of Pronghorns head coach James McKinnon.
“They really found their defensive groove at the moment, which is a non-Lethbridge thing to have,” he said. “Once they figure out the offensive side of it when the ball moves left to right everything looks like poetry in motion. The boys played exceptionally well once they started getting into their groove.”
As a result, the Horns will start the playoffs at home, having earned the right to host a play-in game against the Regina Cougars Friday night at 8 p.m. at the 1st Choice Savings Centre.
“It’s a huge added bonus,” said McKinnon. “It’s a real credit to the boys on how they’ve ended the second semester. Early on I think we are a little startled after the Calgary stop. But we had to put our game plans into practice and really come away in the last six games to get that winning streak and get that home playoff date. It’s going to be a huge morale booster for them.”
With the post season approaching Friday, McKinnon felt his team is where they need to be.
“One hundred per cent. We’ve really hit our stride at both ends of the floor and I think we are really prime to make a push and see what happens. Finishing 10-10 isn’t ideal, obviously we would have liked to have been a better team, but we’re at the stage where we are peaking at the right time and hopefully we can get a good win against Regina on Friday night.”
On Saturday night, the Pronghorns tipped their hat to graduating veterans Keanu Funa and Kyle Peterson.
“They are both exceptional men,” said McKinnon.
“(Funa) is just one of the gentleman of the game. He always has a smile on his face and he always wants to do the fun stuff when he’s out on the court, some stuff I don’t approve of, but he always makes you smile.”
“He’s just a great man and we’re really looking forward to seeing him progress with his young family that he has and going and getting his finance degree all sorted.”
Peterson started at the University of Victoria.
“He was fortunate enough to transfer in here under (former Pronghorns head coach Mike) Hansen’s watch,” said McKinnon. “He has really helped me tremendously the way he leads the team and he brings that next level of IQ. He is essentially an assistant coach to me and has really helped me this season. I can’t wait to see him progress. He has a little one on the way in the next four weeks. So he’ll finish and hopefully he’ll get into law school sometime soon. He’s got a big future ahead of him as well.”
On Saturday night, Chad Oviatt scored 20 points to lead the Pronghorns and Colton Gibb hit for 18.
Jeff Rodehutskors had the double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds, while Peterson added 12 points and Scott Mazutinec had 10.
Peterson had an 11-assist night.
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