Zachary Worden, Cougar Athletics
CALGARY – The Mount Royal Cougars and Winnipeg Wesmen tipped off Saturday night to cap a great weekend of basketball at Kenyon Court.
After the Cougars took the first game of the series on Friday night, the Wesmen were able to come away with a 90-78 win and a series split.
Leading the way for the Wesmen was Narcisse Ambanza who filled the stat sheet with 30 points, 10, rebounds and 4 assists. The Wesmen shot the ball very well as they were able to make 50 percent of their shots and 40 percent of their threes.
Glen Yang lead the way for the Cougars 23 points on 8-14 shooting. Josh Ross had another strong showing for the Cougars as he finished with 14 points, 11 rebounds, 7 assists and 5 steals and a near triple-double.
Both teams struggled to get the ball to go in to start the game, resulting in a 6-4 score for the Wesmen after the first four minutes. As both teams started to heat up, the Wesmen broke out to an early lead, highlighted by two deep threes from Ambanza. The Wesmen got out in transition and did a good job moving the ball to get open looks and take control of the game with an 11-point lead. The Cougars responded by coming out of a timeout with a 9-2 run, they were carried in the quarter by LJ Hegwood who finished with nine points. When the buzzer sounds to end the first, the Wesmen were up 23-17.
The second quarter started out with both teams making runs as Ross started the second quarter on a 5-0 run for the Cougars to bring the game back within one, but the Wesmen were able to respond with 10 straight points of their own. Of course, the Cougars were able to answer with a run of their own as Yang hit threes on two straight possessions to lead the Cougars charge to tie the game at 36. The Cougars were able to take control in the last two minutes taking a 43-38 lead at the end of the half. Joshua Gandier made three three-pointers in the quarter to spark the Wesmen offense while Yang lead the Cougars comeback finishing with 10 points for the quarter.
The Wesmen came out of the break running in transition and finding some easy baskets, eventually taking the lead on an Ambanza three. The Wesmen started the quarter outscoring the Cougars by 12 to take a seven-point lead after the first six minutes of the third. Yang continued his hot shooting night adding another nine points in the quarter. The end of the quarter saw high paced, back and forth action with the two teams trading baskets. Ambanza gave the Wesmen a big boost with a buzzer-beating three-pointer to keep their lead at 7 going into the fourth.
Neither team could get an advantage to start the fourth as the Cougars looked to make a comeback on their home floor. The Wesmen lead fell to only three but some good defensive possessions and open looks allowed them to take a 12-point lead with four and a half minutes remaining in the game. Down the stretch the Cougars had trouble making their shots, allowing the Wesmen to take a commanding lead with just over two minutes to go. The Wesmen slowed down the game as the Cougars attempted to make their move and close the deficit. In the end, the clock ran out on the Cougars and the Wesmen bounced back with a 12-point win to split the opening weekend.
Both teams are back in action Friday night as the Cougars head west to take on the University of Fraser Valley Cascades and the Wesmen return home to take on the University of Alberta Golden Bears.