Zachary Worden, Cougar Athletics
CALGARY, Alta – The Mount Royal University Cougars and University of Northern British Columbia Timberwolves player their second game of the 2018/19 basketball season Saturday night at Kenyon Court.
The Timberwolves came away with their second victory of the weekend, as they beat the Cougars 77-68. Volodymyr Pluzhnikov led the way on offense, finishing with 20 points and 10 rebounds. The Timberwolves had three other players finish with double-digit scoring, including James Agyeman who also grabbed nine rebounds.
On the other side, Patrick Vandervelden led the Cougars in scoring, ending with 17 points and made his impact on the defensive end with six blocks. Charn Gill hit four threes, on his to twelve points, giving the Cougars an outside threat throughout the night.
The game started with the Timberwolves breaking out to an early lead and looking to take control of the quarter.
Despite the early Timberwolf lead, the Cougars went on a run to end the quarter and shrink their deficit to one after 10 minutes of play.
The second quarter began with Pluzhnikov and Gill trading threes. After the two went back and forth, the Timberwolves knocked down two straight threes, retaking their lead and getting a bit of breathing room.
The up and down action continued throughout the quarter, as the teams traded baskets on each end. The Cougars offense worked inside trying to get open looks at the rim, while the Timberwolves continued taking open looks from deep whenever they could get them.
The Timberwolves led 44-40 heading into the halftime break. Pluzhnikov and Jovan Leamy combined for 23 points and eights rebounds in the first half, leading the Timberwolf offense. Leamy also made an impact on the defensive end coming away with three steals.
Meanwhile, the Cougars used their whole team to get their points through the first 20 minutes. 10 of the 11 Cougars that saw the floor in the first half managed to score. Vandervelden led the team with eight points, six of which came from the free-throw line.
Vandervelden came out of the break on a mission. He started the third quarter off with the first two baskets for the Cougars, a made free-throw and then added three blocked shots on the defensive end and knocked a Timberwolf pass out of bounds.
Both teams' defenses were putting pressure on the opponent and forcing tough possessions. This resulted in only seven total points being scored over the first six minutes of the quarter.
Despite the grind of the third quarter, the Timberwolves managed to take a six-point lead into the final 10 minutes, thanks to Pluzhnikov converting an and-one with under a minute left in the third.
The first few minutes of the fourth quarter were tightly contested, as the Cougars looked to close the deficit and put themselves in a position to take the lead entering the stretch run of the game.
After the Timberwolves weathered the storm early, they grew their lead to 11 and put the pressure on the Cougars to respond.
The Cougars did respond and were able to cut the Timberwolf lead in the final minute but ran out of time and couldn't finish off their comeback.
Both teams will tip-off new weekend series on Friday, November 2nd. The Timberwolves return home to host the Winnipeg Wesmen and the Cougars will hit the road to face the Manitoba Bisons. Both series can be streamed live on www.canadawest.tv.