Zachary Worden, Cougars Athletics
CALGARY, Alta – On Friday night, The Mount Royal University Cougars welcomed the UBC Okanagan Heat to Kenyon Court to kick off a weekend series.
The Cougars were able to take the victory 85-73 in a tightly contested game that was close the entire way. MRU had five double-digit scorers, including LJ Hegwood who led the team in scoring with 20 points. Glen Yang also had a big game for MRU scoring 13 points and grabbing eight rebounds.
The Heat were led by Hafith Moallin who filled the stat sheet all game. He scored 15 points, came down with 10 rebounds, dished out five assists, and came away with three steals. Triston Matthews led the team in scoring with 18 points and also made an impact on the glass with seven rebounds.
The two teams went back and forth to start the game, as neither team could build a lead or take dominant control. The Heat were able to take the lead in the first quarter, thanks to some hot outside shooting, that saw them hit five threes.
The first 10 minutes ended with the largest lead of the game as the Heat took a 25-21 lead to end the first quarter.
Despite a 7-0 run from the Heat to start the second quarter, the Cougars responded by going right back on offense and cutting into their deficit. The two teams spent the majority of the first half trading runs and trying to figure out what they could get on the offensive end.
After Philip Okanlawon hit a jump shot at the buzzer for the Heat, they took a 41-38 lead into halftime. Jacob Stokker and Moallin combined for 21 of the Heat's points, while Moallin added five rebounds and three assists through the first 20 minutes of action.
The MRU offense was led through the first half by Yang who scored 11 points on 57% shooting. Hegwood chipped in with nine points, five rebounds, and two assists for the Cougars' first-half attack.
The back and forth action continued into the third quarter, as the Cougars were able to take the lead from the Heat and managed to slowly grow their lead over the course of the quarter.
The Cougars defense was the key of the third quarter as they held the Heat to only 16 points, seven of which came in the final two minutes of the quarter.
The fourth quarter saw both teams executing their offenses, as the Heat looked to cut into the MRU lead and the Cougars tried to put the game away.
Down the stretch, the Cougars' defense stepped up and kept the Heat from finding a way back into the game. Once the final buzzer had sounded, MRU had come away with their fourth victory of the season.
The series continues Saturday evening at Kenyon Court. Tip-off is at 6 p.m. MDT and can be streamed live on canadawest.tv.