The Edmonton Stingers (9-11) used a 26-8 run to close out the Winnipeg Sea Bears (12-8) 98-86 in front of a record crowd at the Canada Life Centre.
The win prevented the Sea Bears from clinching the number one seed in the west, and gave the Calgary Surge the top spot in the conference. It also set up a rematch between Winnipeg and Edmonton in the play-in round next week.
“We’ve had issues closing games,” Edmonton head coach Jordan Baker said. “But our defence in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter and target time was great. That leads to great offensive opportunities for us.”
Leading by one point heading into the fourth quarter, Isiah Osborne knocked down three straight three pointers in as many possessions in the final frame to shift the momentum in Edmonton’s favour.
“They have an amazing crowd… But we’re competitors, we feed off the energy whether it’s for us or against us,” Brody Clarke said after the game. “Isiah Osborne stepped up and hit three threes in a row in the fourth quarter that changed the game for us.”
A CEBL-record of more than 8,200 fans filled the Canada Life Centre tonight, eclipsing a record that Winnipeg set back in their home opener that had more that 7,000 fans in attendance.
Teddy Allen led the way once again for Winnipeg, who was without Sixth Man of the Year candidate Jelani Watson-Gayle with an injury. Allen collected 33 points, 10 boards, and five assists in nearly 40 minutes of action. He also converted six three pointers on the night.
EJ Anosike shot better than 60 per cent from the field, chipping in with 24 points. The two Winnipeg stars combined for 57 on Winnipeg’s 86 points.
“It was a tough one, we competed on both ends. It was two great teams that just competed,” Anosike said. “We just gotta tip our hat to Edmonton, they played better.”
Only one other Sea Bear reached double figures—AJ Hess with 10 points—while and the Stingers used a balanced attack to snap a tw0-game losing streak heading into tonight.
All five Edmonton starters scored more than 13 points, but it was Shane Gibson off the bench who put up a team-high 19 points.
As a team, Edmonton also won the rebound battle (48-39) and scored 14 more points on the fast break than Winnipeg in the victory.
Winnipeg head coach Mike Taylor credited Edmonton’s defence for preventing them from going on extended runs in the game.
“They beat us in transition, they sat in a zone and we didn’t attack the zone as well as we needed to,” Taylor said. “We had plenty of good looks in the game, we didn’t hit them today, it’s one of those things.”
Anosike scored the first six points of the game for the Sea Bears in the first with both teams still feeling each other out. He also credited Edmonton’s zone defence.
“The zone messed with us a little bit and we need to work on keeping our heads and playing smart defence without fouling,” Anosike said about how Winnipeg will try to rebound against Edmonton next week.
The Sea Bears and Stingers started the opening quarter by shooting a combined 7-21. Winnipeg, specifically, shot 2-11 from deep in the quarter, but one of Gibson’s three three pointers helped even the game at 22 heading into the second quarter.
Aher Uguak, who finished with 13 points, nine boards and six assists, scored six points in the second and was active all over the court—highlighted by a half-court dime to a streaking Clarke in transition to force a Winnipeg timeout.
Hess started the game shooting 0-6 from the field, however, he hit two threes in the second to keep the Sea Bears close. Winnipeg also shot a perfect 8-8 from the free throw line in the first half (14-16 for the game) which helped them earn points despite their shooting struggles.
Edmonton shot just over 60 per cent from the stripe.
After taking an eight-point lead into half, Allen started to come alive. He hit a pair of threes early in the quarter, as the Sea Bears used a 14-6 run to tie the game. Allen then took the lead on a steal and score, but Edmonton took a 70-69 lead heading into the fourth.
Another Allen three put the Sea Bears ahead by as many as six points in the final frame, however, the three consecutive triples by Osborne changed the tide of the game. Gibson hit another three after Osborne’s final long ball to give the Stingers a two-point lead, and Edmonton never looked back.
The Stingers took a five-point edge into target score time, where they closed out the game on a corner three from Uguak.
With the win, Edmonton earned their second victory of the season at the Canada Life Centre. These two teams will square off for the fourth and final time this season on Friday next week.
“We’re gonna watch some film, obviously, you don’t want two of their guys combining for 57 points,” Baker said.
“We know they got Teddy Allen, so for us, it’s a matter of how do we make his life difficult for 40 minutes.”
The CEBL Playoffs are scheduled to start on August 4 with the eastern and western conference play-in games.