Alberta 63, Regina 59… The veteran Cougars hung in all night, leading early in the fourth quarter in Edmonton before Golden Bears tore off an 11-2 run to take the lead for good in a tight win at home. With Regina leading 49-46, Alberta held the Cougars scoreless for a four minute span early in the fourth and scored the next 8 points and later 6’7″ Mamadou Gueye (21 points, 14 rebounds) converted a conventional “and 1″ to build a 57-51 Alberta lead. Cougars, who feature at least five veterans aged 23 and above, had one last run in them and had a chance to tie it with just under two minutes to play however 6’4” Shawn Lathan missed the second of two free throws and Alberta survived. 6’7″ Brody Clarke (20 points, 10 rebounds) was solid once again for the Golden Bears with several big makes down the stretch, also leading Alberta to a 58-38 dominance on the glass. Both teams struggled from the floor with Alberta shooting just 4-25 from downtown for the night including a combined 1 for 14 from the usually-dependable trio of 6’1″ Austin Waddoups, 6’6″ Lyndon Annetts and 6’6″ Geoff Pippus. Alberta also was a putrid 9 for 21 from the foul line. Cougars got an outstanding first half from 6’4″ fifth-year Spaniard Alex Igual, who had 12 points including 4-5 threes before the intermission. Igual finished with 14 points including an 0-6 effort from three in the second half as Cougars finished the game missing 12 of their final 13 shots from downtown after making 7 of their first 17. Burly 6’6″ Shaquille Harris, the junior college transfer from Williston State juco now in his second season with the Cougars, had 14 points and 9 rebound off the bench for Regina. The teams meet again tonight in Edmonton.
In other Canada West action, UBC hammered injury-riddled Lethbridge 84-71 in Southern Alberta as 6’9″ All-Canadian Conor Morgan flirted with a quadruple-double: 30 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists and 6 blocks as T-Birds led by as many as 25. Horns again played without their 6’0″ All-CW candidate Dejon Burdeaux… Calgary won 103-82 at Trinity Western as 6’6″ Mambi Diawara led five Dinos in double figures with 21 points offsetting a 14-27 effort from three by the Spartans, primarily driven by 6’2″ Sacramento, CA. native Pogos Trunyan who finished with a game-high 33 points on 8-13 from three… Another U.S. import, 6’5″ Sacramento City College transfer Derek Rhodes came off the bench for 21 points on 5-11 threes as Thompson Rivers won their sixth consecutive league contest 77-71 over Fraser Valley while the much-anticipated debut of 6’2″ J.T. Robinson, yet another California Junior College transfer in Canada West, finally occurred as Saskatchewan pounded UBC-Okanagan 93-63. Robinson had 13 points and 5 rebounds in 30 minutes off the bench while fellow American 6’2″ Lawrence Moore had 22 for the Huskies, who are trying to rally into a playoff spot, winning their second straight after a seven game losing skid. Last night also saw the debut of 6’7″ Ghana native Maxwell Amoafo for the Huskies. Ghana is an African nation on the southeastern peninsula beside Ivory Coast and Togo on the Gulf of Guinea. At 4-9, Sask has some work to do but finishes the season at UBC-O (tonight), home to Trinity Western, at Brandon and then home to Regina in an effort to sneak into the post-season… Brandon’s post-season hopes took a tumble after an 85-79 loss at home to UNBC. Bobcats finish at Regina, home to revamped Saskatchewan and then at Thompson Rivers.