Zachary Worden, Cougar Athletics
CALGARY, Alta – The Mount Royal University senior night game was played Saturday at Kenyon court. Graduating players: Glen Yang, LJ Hegwood, Wiande Kher, and Charn Gill were all honoured for their contributions to Mount Royal athletics over their tenures as Cougars. The University of Saskatchewan Huskies were in town for the weekend series and won the first game of series Friday night by a score of 82-71.
After the Cougars won every quarter heading into the final 10 minutes, the Huskies put together a huge comeback effort and stole the game at the buzzer. Lawrence Moore came away with an offensive rebound and put it in just before the buzzer, to secure an 84-83 win for Saskatchewan. He was instrumental in the comeback effort, putting up 20 points, including 14 in the fourth quarter. He put up a double-double, adding 12 rebounds to his scoring totals. JT Robinson and Alexander Dewar also had big games for the visitors putting up 22 and 11 points respectively.
Glen Yang was the leading scorer for MRU, he put up 22 points on nine of 14 shooting. He also added four steals, putting together a huge night for his last home game. Matthew Guinto was also big for the Cougars, scoring 17 points and dishing out four assists. The Cougars offense was on all night, shooting 49% from the field while adding 10 made threes. LJ Hegwood and Patrick Vandervelden both made big contributions to the team's effort on the night, combining for 23 points, and 10 rebounds.
The first quarter had a slow beginning on the offensive end but as the quarter progressed the two teams started to get into a groove scoring the ball. Once the offense started flowing, the action went up and down as the teams started to trade baskets. Guinto and Chan De Ciman provided offense to both their teams, as each player hit three-pointers from the logos near the sideline.
The fast-paced game continued through into the second quarter, as the lead started to change hands, with neither team being able to grow a lead.
With six minutes to go, the Huskies started to build a lead and take momentum in the game. But Yang had an answer with threes on back to back possessions to retake the lead for Mount Royal. The Cougars kept building off the momentum that Yang secured by scoring the next five points, a part of an 11-0 run.
The Huskies wouldn't stay down long, as they scored the next four points of the quarter getting themselves back in the game. The teams proceeded to go back and forth as the Cougars fought to grow their lead. Yang continued his strong quarter, by hitting another three and jump shot as the Mount Royal lead grew to eight heading into halftime.
Yang's offense through the first half was the driving factor for the Cougars. He put in 18 points and shot seven of nine from the field. He hit four threes and impacted the game defensively with three steals. Guinto was also big for the Cougars through the first 20 minutes, scoring 12 points by hitting some shots outside as well as getting to the rim. The MRU offense shot 50% in the half, getting their points efficiently.
The Huskies were led by Robinson and De Ciman in the first half. Robinson put in 11 points, while De Ciman had eight thanks to his made two three-pointers. Saskatchewan took 16 free-throws in the first half but struggled only making 10 of those 16.
Mount Royal came out of the halftime break on fire. They started the quarter on a 15-6 run, growing their lead into double-digits and taking control of the game. Their offense stayed hot throughout the quarter, shooting 53% from the field and 43% from deep. Their offensive prowess helped them take a 13-point lead into the final 10 minutes.
Saskatchewan came into the fourth and went on a 7-2 run, cutting the Cougars' lead to under 10 with six minutes remaining. Moore finally found his footing on the offensive end, scoring nine points in the first six minutes, leading the comeback attempt.
The Huskies managed to cut the Mount Royal lead all the way down to one heading into the final three minutes. They held the Cougars to only seven points heading into the final stretch of the game.
After a Cougars' basket, Moore hit another three to tie the game with two minutes left. Mount Royal wouldn't give up a lead as they responded with a 4-0 run after layups from Guinto and Yang to retake the lead.
Now trailing by four, the Huskies looked to close the gap and steal a win on the road. After multiple possessions both ways and offensive rebounds that Saskatchewan wasn't able to capitalize on, De Ciman hit a three with 20 seconds left, cutting their deficit to one.
After two missed free-throws from the Cougars, the Huskies had nine seconds to draw up a play and win the game out of a timeout. After a tipped ball out of the timeout, mayhem ensued. The Huskies secured the loose ball and took the ball to the rim, where they missed their first two shots, but Moore grabbed another offensive rebound and put it in with 0.3 seconds remaining, winning the game for Saskatchewan.
The Cougars won't be back in action until the 1st and 2nd of February as they travel to Brandon for a weekend series with the Bobcats. Meanwhile, the Huskies head back for a series with the Golden Bears from the University of Alberta. The games can be streamed live on www.canadawest.tv