Regina makes their case for Top 10 ranking with strong weekend at UBC

With the easiest portion of their Canada West schedule completed (6 games against lower-standing teams Brandon, Trinity Western and Alberta), many across the country were skeptical of Regina’s 7-3 CW record entering this weekend’s pair of games in Vancouver against second place UBC.  That doubt was re-inforced when the ‘Birds came away with a 20+ point win in the opener on Friday night that was a 12 point game late in the 3rd before UBC clamped down defensively early in the fourth to win going away.

However, the Cougars, who have upon closer review a formidable first six in their rotation, bounced back last night, overcoming an early third-quarter deficit to grab a 12 point lead with 4 minutes to play.  Finding it tough to close out the game, Cougars watched as T-Birds reeled off a 12-2 run highlighted by 8 points from 6’7″ Conor Morgan (game-high 29 points) including the go-ahead free throws late after getting fouled beyond the 3 point line.  Morgan was a perfect 10 for 10 from the line on the night.  But Cougars 6’1″ fourth-year guard Aaron McGowan, one of four Toronto and Montreal area products toiling for Regina, made the go ahead bucket with 30 seconds remaining and fifth-year 6’4″ senior Jonathan Tull, who played in numerous high-pressure games during his career at Pickering H.S. just outside Toronto, cliched the game from the foul line as the Cougars (8-4) solidified their hold on one of the bye spots in the CW playoff structure.

Jonathan Tull, younger brother Brandon and fellow 6’4″ guard Alex Igual (3rd Year/Spain) were instrumental in the win with the elder Tull scoring 12 of his 23 points after halftime, adding 6 steals and 6 rebounds to the clutch free throws.  Igual made all 4 of his 3’s after the intermission including back-to-back 3’s to help Cougars forge to the 12 point advantage.  3rd year Brandon Tull had 14 for Regina which has a steady, athletic and talented first six including the Tull Brothers, Igual, McGowan – who came to Regina via Lakeland College and Fraser Valley after playing his high school ball at Toronto’s Pope John Paul II – and 6’5″ Brian Ofori, the Montreal native who played CEGEP at Dawson College before starting his CIS career at UPEI and transferring to Regina.  6’7″ fifth-year forward Will Talman, a Regina native and himself a transfer back home from Mount Royal U. provides strength and post presence up front for a group that has a chance to finish strong given the confidence of a road win at UBC.

Cougars, presently in third place in CW standings, travel to Manitoba next weekend to tangle with 9-5 Bisons who are just behind Regina in the standings.  The final 3 weekends have Victoria (7-7) at home, at first place Calgary 12-3 and then home to Saskatchewan in the Rivalry weekend.  Huskies are presently at 4-8 and out of a playoff spot.

While depth could be an issue with the Cougars, their first six at least should allow Regina to compete for what is likely to be a playoff spot at a minimum.

Cougars opponents next weekend, Manitoba Bisons secured a very important win at Lethbridge last night, shrugging off a blow-out loss to the Horns on Friday and getting a resurgent effort from 6’4″ Keith Omoerah who pushed a triple double with 17 points, 11 rebounds and 7 assists while 6’1″ A.J. Basi knocked down 4 3’s en route to 21 points.  After starting both of their bigs 6’8″ Wyatt Anders and 6’7″ Brent Jewell on Friday in an effort to take advantage of their size, Bisons changed tactics and played much of the game with 4 perimeter players, solving Lethbridge’s zone and, after pulling the Horns out, down the stretch scored against man.  Lethbridge continues to struggle with injuries playing without impact 6’1″ guard Dejon Burdeaux who is dealing with three different leg injuries, one to his right leg and two to his left, the worst being sustained after a collision between an opponents knee and his left thigh late against Saskatchewan last week.  His status for next weekend, when the Horns host 7-6 Alberta – now in the 7th and final spot in the Canada West playoff chase – remains uncertain.  The highest profile Canada West rivalry also continues next weekend as UBC and Victoria square off for a pair of games in Victoria.

One thought on “Regina makes their case for Top 10 ranking with strong weekend at UBC

  1. Great article. Regina in fact has very good depth. # 6, 7, 8 in the rotation (Aaron McGowan, Brian Ofori, and Travis Sylvestre) all averaging 7-9 ppg. 9th man is 6’11 U of Tennessee transfer Rawane Ndiaye who is just getting into game shape and 10th man is 3 point specialist Mike Malecha.


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