EDMONTON – It took the Alberta Golden Bears a half to find an answer for hot-shooting Griffins wing Jake Notice at the Saville Centre.
When they made some adjustments to make life tough on the third-year U.K. product who threw down 17 points on them in the first half, the air went whooshing out of the MacEwan offence.
Alberta outscored MacEwan 42-23 in the second half to post an 85-56 victory in the Canada West men's basketball season opener for both teams.
The good news is that Griffins have a gamer in Notice, who looks to be stepping up well into a feature role this season, bucketing a game-high 21 points on 7-for-12 shooting.
"Jake was really solid for us tonight," said MacEwan head coach Eric Magdanz. "He played well with the ball in his hands and he hit some shots when other people made plays for him.
"He was a really solid player for us tonight, not only as a scorer, but as a defender and a leader."
The bad news for the Griffins, though, is no one else on the team scored more than six points.
"We need to find more scoring and from more places," said Magdanz. "It comes down to us being willing playmakers out of actions – catching the ball ready to shoot and catching the ball ready to play. That will make a lot more of our players more dangerous on the floor."
The Bears held the rest of the offence in check, limiting Deonte Doslov-Doctor, regularly a double-digit scorer for MacEwan, to just six points in 31 minutes. Fellow starter Liban Yousef only managed four points in 31 minutes but made up for it with a team-high nine rebounds.
Jesse Trussler keeps an eye on Golden Bears point guard Tyus Jefferson on Thursday night (Jaelyn Birch photo).
On the back of Notice's strong offensive play, the Griffins stayed with the Golden Bears in the first half, trailing by just 10, 43-33 at the break. Then the wheels fell off against one of Canada West's elite defensive teams.
"I think they made some great adjustments," said Magdanz. "They did a good job of taking the ball out of Jake's hands.
"I think we did a poor job of passing the ball and being ready to play when we did pass the ball out of their double teams. For us, it's really just adjusting to that level of pressure and making some adjustments for Saturday."
The Griffins will host the rematch against the Golden Bears for their home opener on Saturday (2 p.m., David Atkinson Gym).