By Paul Cartledge
EDMONTON – Forwards Mamadou Gueye and Brody Clarke each recorded a double-double for the No.3 University of Alberta Golden Bears en route to another critical win, this time a 63-59 decision against the University of Regina Cougars, Friday night at Saville Community Sports Centre.
Gueye scored a game-high 21 points and 14 rebounds while Clarke netted 20 points and 10 boards. Senior guard Lyndon Annetts also cracked double digits on rebounds with 10, the Bears improving to 12-1 on the season.
The Cougars drop to 8-5 in conference play, senior guard Alex Igual and third-year forward Shaquille Harris both earning 14 points and nine rebounds, third-year guard Samuel Hillis adding 10 points.
Regina scored a 6-2 run early on the strength of two threes, but the Bears responded with a 14-0 run, mired only by a rare Gueye flub, his uncontested layup on a breakaway going straight up into the air and missing the basket midway through the Alberta streak.
Igual and Hillis bookended the start of the second quarter with a three-ball apiece to reduce the deficit to three for the Cougars, but it took four more minutes of playing time for the visitors to eventually tie the score at 25, Harris making good on a long pass and jumper combination.
After a couple more lead changes and deadlocks on the scoreboard, sophomore guard Sam Newman hit a late three from the shoulder to put the Bears up by one, Harris' reply hitting the rim to have the Bears up 35-34 at halftime.
A slow third quarter for the home squad, shooting at only 20% from the field, despite Gueye making up for his previous gaffe with a massive dunk to the delight of the hometown crowd, gave Regina an opportunity to forge ahead, but shooting struggles of their own meant only a one-point lead going into the final frame.
Three straight buckets by the Bears made short work of that deficit, reclaiming the lead and building on it before turnovers gave Regina one last shot at stealing a game on the road, but several missed shots in the dying moments allowed Alberta to claim their third-straight win.
The two teams face off again tomorrow in game two of the weekend series, game time at 7 p.m. MT.