The Niagara River Lions put on a solid second quarter performance that included a 23-0 run to claim a 99-78 victory over the visiting Guelph Nighthawks on Saturday and advance to the Canadian League semi-finals. elite basketball.
EJ Onu had a dominating performance with 28 points, three blocks and six rebounds as Niagara set the CEBL record for most points in a postseason quarter with 36 in the second frame.
The River Lions (13-7) would have been the home team in the quarter-finals as the top seed, but were unable to host the game at the Meridian Center due to the 2022 Canada Summer Games which kicked off in Niagara on Saturday.
Guelph rode the home crowd early, jumping to a 22-17 lead late in the first quarter.
Star guard Ahmed Hill, who was instrumental in upsetting the Nighthawks against the Fraser Valley Bandits in Thursday’s playoff with 27 points, had nine points.
The River Lions then turned the game around in the second quarter, going 23-0 in the first five minutes of the quarter.
The @RiverLions broke the record for most points scored in a postseason quarter with 36 in the second. @RiverLions 🆚 @GNighthawks
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Niagara carried a 53-34 lead into the half, going 8-for-9 on three-pointers and playing defense against the Nighthawks.
Guelph’s dynamic pair of Hill and fullback Cat Barber, who combined for 52 points in Thursday’s win, were held in the second quarter and had 11 points at halftime.
UN takes over
The Nighthawks managed to get back to within nine points late in the third quarter, but still couldn’t face Onu.
The 23-year-old buried a 3-pointer at the buzzer, extending Niagara’s lead to 12, adding to his 25 points after three quarters of action to surpass his regular-season high of 16.
Onu, who played in the NBA Summer League with the Memphis Grizzlies in July, led the CEBL in blocks per game this season – also leading the stats in Saturday’s game.
Barber finally found his groove for Guelph in the second half, finishing two points behind Hill, who had 17 points to lead Guelph.
The championship weekend is almost over
The third-placed Scarborough Shooting Stars (12-8) host the Saskatchewan Rattlers (11-9) in the second quarterfinal on Sunday at 3 p.m. ET.
The game will be followed by the first-place Hamilton Honey Badgers (14-6) taking on the Ottawa BlackJacks (8-12) at 7 p.m. ET.
The final is scheduled for 4 p.m. ET on August 14.
All games will be streamed live on CBCSports.ca, CBC Gem and the free CBC Sports app.
WATCH l CEBL Quarter-Finals: Guelph Nighthawks @ Niagara River Lions: