The Concordia Thunder came into the Cora Breakfast and Lunch ACAC Championships as the gold medal favourites. While that wasn't meant to be, the Thunder (21-6) still turned in a championship-caliber performance in a 102-94 win over the NAIT Ooks (17-10) in an all-Edmonton battle to earn the ACAC bronze medal.
The first quarter was played about as evenly as basketball can possibly be played, with multiple lead changes and neither team ever leading by more than four. After ten high-scoring minutes the teams were tied at 27. In the second, the defenses tightened up, but Concordia found a way to start building a lead. A 9-2 run to open the quarter put the Thunder up by seven. NAIT was able to hang around, with a Ryan Delwo (third year, Occupational Health and Safety, Regina) three bringing the Ooks back within two. But Concordia immediately replied with an 8-2 surge, including a Ryan McLaren (fourth year, Bachelor of Management, Sherwood Park, Alta.) triple to lead 49-43 at half.
In the third quarter, the Thunder scored ten straight points early on to take a 14 point lead. They continued to drive on the offensive end and a Bevan Purnell (third year, Bachelor of Science, Edmonton) three in the final seconds gave Concordia a 75-60 lead through three quarters. But NAIT wasn't going to let the game get away that easily. Back-to-back three pointers by Wyatt Beaver (fourth year, Business Administration, Edmonton) and Delwo to open the fourth set the tone for a comeback. A 12-3 NAIT run tied the game up at 89 with under three minutes to play. But Mike Malin (fifth year, Bachelor of Management, Red Deer) responded with a three for Concordia, re-storing the Concordia lead, which they never surrendered.
A whistle with under a second to play allowed Concordia coach Reagan Wood to pull his seniors, giving them a special send-off in their final ACAC game. Malin led the Thunder with 24 points and 11 rebounds while Brett Jakubec (fifth year, Open Studies, Viking, Alta.) added 20 points. Jackson Jacob (third year, Pre-employment Auto Body Repair, Nassau, Bahamas) of the Ooks led all scorers with 29 points, while Samson Cleare (fourth year, Millwork and Carpentry, Nassau, Bahamas) had 20 points and 13 rebounds.
Players of the game:
NAIT - #21 Samson Cleare (20pts, 13reb, 10/13 FG)
Concordia - #8 Chad Oviatt (12pts, 6reb)