Tyler Crayston, Brandon University Athletics
BRANDON, Man. – The Bobcats could not play the role of spoiler against the Mount Royal Cougars on Saturday night to cap off the regular season at the Healthy Living Centre.
Mount Royal held off a furious comeback by the Bobcats, to secure their first-ever Canada West playoff spot with a 99-94 road win.
"This is the first time we have ever made playoffs and it is history. There was a lot of motivation to play for each other," said third-year Cougars' guard Matthew Guinto.
The first quarter saw a series of offensive swings. The Cougars opened the game with a 15-5 lead, before the Bobcats countered with an 11-0 run. Mount Royal got the momentum back and finished the first with ten straight points.
Tyvon Cooper, who was playing in his final game as a Bobcat, put the team on his back in the second by scoring eight consecutive points. BU's offence went cold after that and Mount Royal built a 19-point lead heading into halftime.
Brandon's deficit grew to 26 points in the third quarter, before BU cut down the damage to 67-60 going into the final frame.
The Bobcats got within two points in the fourth, but the Cougars had a 9-2 run to secure a post-season berth.
The playoff bound Cougars finished the regular season with a record of 8-and-12, while the Bobcats will miss the post-season at 4-and-16.
"The guys battled and made a game out of it," said BU coach Gil Cheung. "It was big for our fifth year guys to give ourselves a chance because they didn't deserve to go out the way we played in the first half."
John Hegwood and Patrick Vandervelden finished with double-doubles for Mount Royal. Hegwood had 20 points and 10 rebounds, while Vandervelden had 17 points and 15 boards.
Glen Yang equalled Hegwood with 20 points and Guinto also got 17 points.
Senior Bobcat Troy Grant grabbed a game-high 21 points in his final game with BU, while Cooper collected 18 points and 10 rebounds. Kevone Philip picked up 20 points off the Brandon bench.
(Photo Courtesy: Milana Paddock)