Rich Abney, UNBC
PRINCE GEORGE, BC - The University of Regina Cougars won a gritty, chippy battle 96-88 over the University of Northern British Columbia Timberwolves, Saturday at the Charles Jago Northern Sport Centre.
Much of the first half belonged to Cougars, as they used their length and aggression to establish a 42-25 advantage after twenty minutes.
In the third quarter, the game was a back-and-forth affair, with both teams scoring 31 points. The emotion on the court was palpable and culminated at the 6:35 mark when a hard foul resulted in a number of technical fouls and ejections.
"They're an aggressive team, and they're a team that doesn't care who you are," said Timberwolves guard Nolan Hanson. "You could tell by their body language, by their energy, by how they look at our fans. Games like that can get chippy."
Jovan Leamy and James Agyeman seemed to be inspired by the increase in intensity, each making a number of tough layups and jumpers in the quarter.
"We don't like games like that, but you have to play though it," said Cougars guard Alex Igual. "We both want to win the game, you just have to go through it."
Leamy would finish the game with 23 points and 6 rebounds, while Agyeman added 24 points and 4 assists.
Todd Jordan's Timberwolves showed no quit in the fourth quarter, chipping away at the Regina lead. Reserves Nolan Hanson and Saje Gosal provided a spark off the bench, and the TWolves outscored the Cougars 32-23.
"Last night, they made mistakes late that we were able to take advantage of," said Igual. "In this game, we made the mistakes, but we were lucky enough to get the win."
It wasn't enough, however, as Regina held on for the 96-88 win, their fifth victory of the season. The Timberwolves fall to 2-6 on the campaign.
"We are a lot better than we've shown recently," said Hanson. "Once we start believing, stuff starts happening. We just want to bring a spark to help our team, and in situations like that you can get momentum. It just wasn't enough to pull off a run."
Shawn Lathan had 18 points and 12 rebounds to pace the Cougars, who also got 18 points from Shaquille Harris, 16 from Igual, and 14 from Brandon Tull.
"We would like to be 6-0, and we have two tough teams coming up," said Igual. "We are ready to accept that challenge and see how it goes."