July 6, 2012 - International Basketball League (IBL) - Bellingham Slam
BELLINGHAM, Wash. -The Vancouver Volcanoes began their quest for back-to-back International Basketball League Championships with a 131-117 upset victory over the Salem Soldiers in first round playoff action at Whatcom Pavilion on Thursday.
The Volcanoes broke open a close game in the second quarter with a 14-2 run, keyed by a pair of buckets by guard Andre Murray. Vancouver carried the momentum into halftime, leading 64-55.
The Soldiers pushed back in the middle stages of the third quarter, trimming the gap to five, at 78-73, on a bucket by guard Damon King. But the Volcanoes responded with an eruption of points, posting 21 in the final 5:31 of the quarter to take a 101-82 lead. Forward Devin Uskoski came up big during the run with 10 points in that span.
Salem was able to eat into the deficit a bit in the fourth quarter, but by the time they got it down to 11 points, at 124-113 with 1:55 left, it was too late to mount a serious comeback.
Murray led six Vancouver players in double figures with 26 points. Center Alex Tiefenthaler came up big with a monster double-double of 20 points and 22 rebounds.
Forward Cory Largent led Salem with 36 points on 13-for-22 shooting.
Vancouver now advances to the semi-finals for a rematch with the host Bellingham Slam, who the Volcanoes eliminated in last year's playoffs at Clark College in Vancouver. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. at Whatcom Pavilion.
In Thursday's other first round game, the #6 seed Olympia Reign ousted the #3 ranked Edmonton Energy, 101-89, to advance to a semi-final match against the #2 Portland Chinooks in Friday's early game at 5 p.m.