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VIDEO: Vancouver Bandits move up after win over Edmonton

Now tied for first in standings after coming back from 12-point deficit

Nick Ward and James Karnik’s double-doubles led the Vancouver Bandits back from a 12-point deficit on Tuesday to beat the Stingers 93-90 and hand Edmonton its first loss of the season, as the Bandits moved to the top of CEBL western conference standings.

The forward duo accounted for 40 per cent of the Bandits’ scoring production and over 50 per cent of their boards as Ward finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds while Karnik added 16 points and 13 rebounds of his own.

“Anybody can get beat any given day,” Ward said when asked if his team was thinking about the fact Edmonton was undefeated entering the game.

“We fought back.”

Vancouver got plenty of solid contributions on the night; however, as Koby McEwen also dropped 21 points while Tazé Moore chipped in with 14 points and eight assists.

It took until the 1:20 mark of the third quarter for the Bandits to see their first lead since it was 5-4 in the first two minutes of the ball game.

Vancouver began their rally in the second, needing to overcome an opening frame that saw them shoot just 27 per cent from the field and make five total shots.

What initially sparked their comeback was the poise of McEwen and Moore who caught fire. The duo hit seven of the Bandits eight triples in the quarter as they spearheaded an 11-2 run.

“It saved us a little bit,” McEwen said postgame reflecting on his and Moore’s outburst in the second quarter.

“It kept us in there … and we got it within striking distance.” All 13 of McEwen’s first half points came in the frame while Moore chipped in with nine of his own.

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Their effort – capped off by a Ward and-one with less than 30 seconds to go – would’ve had the game knotted up 48-48 going into halftime, had it not been for Mindaugas Kacinas hitting a triple moments before the buzzer.

Edmonton made it clear they weren’t going to let their four-game win streak be snapped without a fight.

Despite giving up their edge in the third quarter, the Stingers finished the frame on a 6-0 run to recapture the lead and go into the final frame up 71-67.

Yet again, when they needed it most, the Bandits found a response.

And this time it came courtesy of another duo.

Zach Copeland, the league’s fifth leading scorer (20.5 points per game) was held to just two points in the first half, yet he exploded for 10 points in the fourth quarter and hit a triple that put Vancouver up 83-80 heading into Target Score Time.

Meanwhile, Karnik scored nine points in the frame, capping off the clutch fourth quarter by throwing down a game-winning dunk.

With the win, the Bandits not only snap the Stingers perfect 4-0 start to the season, but they now jump into a tie for first place in the Western Conference.

Bandits continue their Alberta road trip as they visit the Calgary Surge on Friday for a rematch of the 2023 Western Conference Final.

Vancouver’s next home game at Langley Events Centre is on Thursday, June 13 when the Bandits welcome the Winnipeg Sea Bears for a 7:30 p.m. tip-off.

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