Pilots advance to MCAC men’s basketball final after convincing win over CMU

Jordan Lawson scored a game-high 30 points and had 5 steals in the game

It seemed that Providence University College Pilots’ guard Joshua Armstrong couldn’t miss from beyond the arc in dominant second half.  Armstrong’s seven treys fuelled the Pilots to a 105-76 win over the #3 Canadian Mennonite University Blazers in the MCAC semi-final at Red River College on Thursday.

“He’s [Armstrong] a heck of a player, we’re really glad to have him on the roster,” said Pilots head coach Pierre Dubreuil. “I hope he’s going to perform like that on Saturday because we definitely need him.”

The #2 Pilots led by six points at halftime, but an 11-0 run in the third quarter helped PUC to a commanding lead — a lead they never gave back. Daniel Kilmartin scored six points during the run and finished the game with a double-double of 18 points and 13 rebounds.

The Pilots have been led by the MCAC leading scorer, Jordan Lawson, throughout the season, but he struggled to make shots in the first half. Lawson drained only 21 per cent of his field goal attempts in the first half. 

After a slow start, Jordan Lawson went off for a game-high of 30 total points to lead the PUC Pilots past the CMU Blazers in the MCAC semi-final. LINDSAY ROWAN

However, Lawson’s strong second half helped surge Prov to the win. Lawson shot 53 per cent and scored 21 of his game-high 30 points in the last two quarters.

When Lawson wasn’t shooting the ball, he was finding an open Armstrong behind the three-point line. Armstrong connected on six threes in the second half and finished the game with 27 points. Armstrong hit shot after shot, extending the lead and forcing fans out of their seats to cheer. He was named PUC’s player of the match.

The first half was a different story, a story where CMU guard Seth McKenzie hit eight of his 11 shots, for a first half-high of 20 points. Whenever Providence seemed to be pulling away in the first half, McKenzie would hit a basket, 6 of which were for three.

McKenzie’s efforts earned him the award of CMU’s top player. 

Seth McKenze (left) being present with the CMU player of the game award by the MCAC executive director, Bill Wedlake (right). LINDSAY ROWAN

Isaiah Cole was also a standout player for the Blazers, he notched a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds.

Providence took over the game after they made defensive adjustments at the half. Lawson had five steals in the game to lead the defensive effort.

“I loved the energy on defence, I think that made the difference,” said Dubreuil.

The Pilots will prepare for a rematch of last year’s final on Saturday, but they will hope for a different result.

“We are ready for them,” said Dubreuil. “We know what we have to do to win the game so we’re just going to take our chance and see what happens.”

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