DAVID LARKINS, Wesmen Athletics
There were no heroics needed Saturday night, at least not the last-second variety that saved the Winnipeg Wesmen 24 hours earlier.
Sean Tarver scored 12 of his season-high 27 points in the fourth quarter and the Wesmen men's basketball team put together its first win streak of the season, knocking off the Brandon Bobcats 71-66 at Duckworth Centre.
The Wesmen moved to 5-9 on the season in stringing back-to-back wins against the Bobcats, a team U of W has now beaten 13 straight times in Canada West play dating back to 2012.
"It's been a bit of a struggle for me and my team, but that game was just big. Both games were big," Tarver said.
"… I think we're strong right now. We're united, but we'll see for the next day of practice. That's when I think we need to get after it and keep building."
The win comes after a wild win the night before in Brandon, when the Wesmen needed a Narcisse Ambanza halfcourt shot at the buzzer to force overtime, where they eventually prevailed 105-103.
On Saturday it went down to the wire again, with the Bobcats having a shot at tying the game. Trailing 69-66 with 5.2 seconds to play, the Bobcats threw an errant inbound pass out of bounds and gave the ball back to Winnipeg. Tarver iced the game with a pair of free throws.
Winnipeg led 15-14 after a quarter and took a 36-27 edge into halftime. A 54-52 lead heading into the fourth was extinguished quickly by Brandon, which went ahead by five points before the Wesmen rallied.
Tarver, the Baltimore native who was plagued by injury problems throughout the first semester, broke out in a big way, hitting three three-pointers and giving the Wesmen some offensive punch against Brandon's 2-3 zone, which had slowed Winnipeg's offence in the early portion of the fourth.
"I see a green light (against a zone). I see a green light every time," he said. "I always look forward to a zone. Any zone, I feel like I can elevate my game."
The Wesmen also held Brandon leading scorer Tyvon Cooper to just 10 points, and only four points in the second half.
The Wesmen hit the bye week before facing the Manitoba Bisons in a home-and-home Jan. 19-20.
Brandon hosts UNBC for two games Jan. 12-13.
NOTE: Prior to the game, both teams gathered at centre court to observe a moment of silence side-by-side for former Bobcat Donovan Gayle. Gayle, who played four seasons with Brandon, was laid to rest in a ceremony in Toronto on Saturday after losing a battle with cancer on Dec. 15.