CALGARY, ALTA., (Nov. 1, 2019) - In a thrilling finish, the SAIT Trojans men's basketball team pulled out the victory.
Charlie Conner sunk a layup with just eight seconds left, as his Trojans edged the visiting Ambrose University Lions 90-89 in Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) action played Friday night at SAIT's Campus Centre.
"It's really hard to win when you don't play defence and you turn the ball over," said Trojans head coach Marty Birky about his team Friday night. "But, when it came down to it, guys made plays."
SAIT moves to 3-0 on the season, while the Lions were sent back across the city with a 2-2 mark.
"We just need to put a complete game together, and this was far from it," Birky added.
The majority of the first half saw the Lions hit everything, and the Trojans hit on very little. When halftime came around, the hosts were down 40-36.
While the third quarter failed to solve much, the fourth is when SAIT came alive.
They outscored the Lions 32-26 in the final 10 minutes to secure the victory with the final minutes the most exciting basketball the SAIT Gymnasium has seen this season.
Despite all of the ups and downs from Friday's game, the one consistent piece for SAIT was guard Calvin Chambers (4th year, Memphis, Tenn., Business Administration).
Playing in just his third ACAC game, Chambers went off to the tune of 29 points, six rebounds, six assists and four steals.
"He's a veteran, gritty player," said Birky. "That's why we wanted him and that's why we recruited him. He kept us in this game tonight by putting us on his back at times."
Last season when SAIT went an astonishing 20-1 in league play, they did not face a lot of adversity. This year, in all three games, the Trojans have found themselves tested hard. Birky does not mind it.
"Last year was a fluke," he stated. "There's a lot of parody in this league, and anybody can beat anybody. Ambrose plays us tough, and it took everything we had to get this win. Hopefully we remember how we were able to gut this one out."
In the dying minutes, each team held the lead.
After Chambers hit a three with 3:09 left to get within one, the Trojans forced the Lions to turnover the ball. The sequence ended with a broken play that resulted in Julian Apakoh (4th year, Regina, Sask., Business Administration) hitting a surprise three-pointer of his own to give SAIT an 84-82 lead with 2:39 left.
The teams went back and forth before Lions guard Linden Jackson connected from beyond the three-point line to put his team up 89-88.
Without any hesitation, the Trojans raced the ball down the floor and put it in the hands of Connor (3rd year, Lacey, Wash., Business Administration). He watched as the Lions cheated off the baseline before going exactly that route for an easy layup with eight seconds left.
In Ambrose's final possession, the Trojans defence gave up very little before the Lions got called for travelling with 1.2 second left and securing the win for SAIT.
The Trojans will try make it four in a row to start the season next Friday night when they travel to Medicine Hat College to take on the Rattlers in a 7pm start.