University of Regina Sports Information
REGINA – The University of Regina's men's basketball team opened up a double-digit advantage in the first quarter and never looked back, leading wire to wire in a 93-68 victory over Thompson Rivers on Thursday night in a Canada West play-in game at the Centre for Kinesiology, Health & Sport.
The victory propels Regina to the Canada West quarter-finals, where they'll hit the road to match up against No. 4-seeded Lethbridge next weekend in a best-of-three series.
Normally a key bench contributor for the Cougars, Shaquille Harris got a rare start and responded by leading the team in both scoring (18 points) and rebounds (8). Four other players hit double figures in points, including Samuel Hillis and Brandon Tull who both finished with 16. Brian Ofori added 13 points, while Alex Igual finished with 12.
The Cougars jumped out in front with an early 14-2 run that featured three-pointers by Igual, Benjamin Hillis, and Harris to go up by double digits. They then went on separate 11-0 and 13-3 runs in the second quarter to take a 24-point lead into halftime, then erased any hope of a Thompson Rivers comeback after extending the lead to over 30 in the third quarter.
"Tonight we were able to do tonight what has made us successful this year," Cougars head coach Steve Burrows said. "I was impressed that we had 13 assists and only two turnovers in the first half, and that's a testament to how well we moved the ball around on offence. And defensively, we stayed disciplined and executed our game plan. We were able to get some stops early and that gave us a few run-outs."
Thompson Rivers was led by its lone fifth-year player. Playing in the final game of his U SPORTS career, Luke Morris scored a game-high 21 points and also led all players with 11 rebounds to notch the lone double-double of the contest. Derek Rhodes added 17 points for TRU, while Mike Rouault scored 12.
The Cougars will now prepare for the quarter-final series against Lethbridge, which will mark the first time the two teams have ever met in the postseason. The first two games will be played on Thursday and Friday, with a third game – if it's needed – to be played on Saturday.
"Lethbridge is playing some great basketball right now," Burrows said. "They played Alberta down to the wire last weekend in both games, and they split with both Calgary and UBC. They're one of the highest-scoring teams in the league and we look forward to the challenge of playing them in their house."