Mike Still, Bison Sports
WINNIPEG — The Mount Royal Cougars (1-2) got out to a 27-14 lead after one and didn't look back, topping Manitoba (1-2) 96-82. Perimeter play was a huge factor, as the guests shot 46.2 percent from three, while Manitoba shot just 23.8 percent.
"[Mount Royal] hasn't shot the ball this well all year, and they came out firing and obviously knocked down some shots," Bisons head coach Kirby Schepp said postgame.
"I thought early in the game we gave them some pretty open looks, which probably built their confidence a little bit and credit to them, they knocked them down. I thought the difference in the game though was transition. They really hurt us in transition getting up and down the floor. We knew that potentially could be a problem and they really pushed the tempo both off makes and misses and were able to get those open looks because they were in transition all the time."
The Cougars did an effective job distributing the ball in the first quarter, frequently finding an open man from beyond the arc. Guards John Hegwood and Glen Yang led the charge, combining for 15 points, including going 4-of-7 from three.
Manitoba out-rebounded the visitors 14-9 in the opening ten minutes, but couldn't get their shots to fall, shooting just 31.6 percent from the field. Five different players had two points, including forward James Wagner and guard Rashawn Browne, who both had two rebounds as well, however the hosts entered the second down by 13.
Perimeter play continued to be a factor in the second quarter. The Cougars shot 47 percent, while the Bisons were able to cash on just two of 14 attempts. Hegwood was lights out, with nine of his game-leading 15 points coming from the land beyond as the visitors went into halftime up 53-38.
Manitoba was able to cut Mount Royal's lead down to as little as nine in the first half, thanks to ten points from Wagner and a clutch three from guard Zach Giesbrecht — who played six minutes as the Bisons went to a smaller lineup.
But every time the Herd gathered some momentum, the Cougars took it right back, shooting 50 percent from the field while also playing a strong inside-out game.
The Bisons went on a 7-2 run in the first two minutes of play in the third, with Browne getting a critical steal and forward Andre Arruda adding four points on some fast-break plays.
Again though, when it felt like the momentum had swung fully into the host's hands, Mount Royal was able to get back to their game. Yang had nine points in the frame, while post Patrick Vandervelden created matchup problems down low as the Cougars entered the fourth up 75-60.
Manitoba battled back in the fourth, but couldn't cut the visitor's lead down to any less than 12 as the Cougars left with the win. Seven different players scored in the final ten minutes for Mount Royal, while Browne had seven for the Bisons.
Hegwood finished the game with a double-double (15 points, 12 rebounds) for the Cougars, while Yang had 18 points. Wagner led all scorers with 20 for the Bisons.
Both teams will be back at it tomorrow at 7 p.m. looking to finish the weekend off strong.