Rich Abney, UNBC
PRINCE GEORGE, BC -
The University of Regina Cougars used a strong fourth quarter to come from behind and top the University of Northern British Columbia Timberwolves 80-76, Friday at the Charles Jago Northern Sport Centre.
From the get-go, it became clear the two teams were evenly matched. Timberwolves fifth-year Marcus MacKay had ten points, and the home side led 24-16 after ten minutes.
The emotions were running high, with three technical fouls handed out, and intense defense from both the Cougars and Timberwolves in the first half. Regina clamped down in their own end in the second quarter, and at half it was a 38-37 advantage in favour of the Cougars.
"Both teams are competitive and we both want to win," said Regina's guard Brandon Tull. "Some technical were called, but we couldn't let that affect our game. We continued to work hard."
The TWolves were able to stretch their lead, thanks to an excellent performance from Jovan Leamy, coming off the bench and contributing 24 points and 10 boards on the day.
"My teammates did a good job finding me," said Leamy after the game. "I tried to attack the ne and tried to get the best opportunities for our team."
But down the stretch, Regina chipped away at the lead, eventually gaining a two-point advantage with 18 seconds to go. On the inbounds play at midcourt, guard James Agyeman's heel touched the halfcourt line, for a backcourt violation and a loss of possession. From there, Shawn Lathan made a pair of free throws and the Cougars held on for the 80-76 win.
"They took it to us defensively, they're a tough team," said Tull. "We just happened to make more shots than them down the stretch, so we are happy to come out with a win."
"We let this one slip away," said Leamy. "We didn't strap up defensively and get stops. We just have to be there mentally."
Tull paced the visitors with 16 points and six rebounds, while Samuel Hill chipped in with 13 points and seven rebounds. Leamy was the game's top scorer, while MacKay made five three-pointers on his way to a 19 point night.
With the victory, tonight Regina improves to 4-1, while the T-Wolves drop to 2-5 on the season.
"It's tough to win on the road," said Tull. "Hopefully, tomorrow, we can come back in here and get another W."
They clash again on Saturday evening, tipoff scheduled for 7 PM. Leamy suggests the TWolves are far from satisfied with the effort.
"I know we can do better. We know we can do better, so we won't settle for this. We are not happy, and we will come back tomorrow stronger."