Another furious fourth-quarter rally falls short as Griffins fall to 0-10 after 92-83 loss to MRU

Luke Harold, seen battling for a rebound with a Winnipeg player earlier this season, was one of four Griffins players to score in double digits in a 92-83 loss to Mount Royal University on Saturday (Chris Piggott photo).
Luke Harold, seen battling for a rebound with a Winnipeg player earlier this season, was one of four Griffins players to score in double digits in a 92-83 loss to Mount Royal University on Saturday (Chris Piggott photo).

MacEwan Athletics and MRU Athletics

CALGARY – Mirroring their fantastic fourth-quarter rally exactly a week ago that nearly allowed them to come back against UFV, the MacEwan Griffins scored 33 points in the final 10 minutes against the Mount Royal University Cougars on Saturday night.

Unfortunately, they were again just way too far back – behind by as much as 24 points with 5:17 left – and succumbed to a 92-83 defeat in Canada West men's basketball action.

"We had a good fourth quarter where we picked up the intensity and pressured the ball, getting some turnovers that led to scores for us," said MacEwan head coach Eric Magdanz. "It's something for us to build on.

"We got contributions from a number of players – I think we had four players in double digits – and we shot the ball a lot better. So, there are some things for us to build off of and take away from this weekend moving into Regina."

Unfortunately, one of the takeaways isn't a win, though, as the Griffins fall to 0-10 on the campaign, while MRU improves to 6-4.

MacEwan shot a tidy 47.1 per cent from the field in the contest, but were outpaced by the homestanding Cougars, who caught fire, going 52.1 per cent on field goals and a scorching 52.9 on three-point shooting (9-for-17).

"We shot the ball well tonight, we moved the ball well tonight," said Magdanz. "I was really happy with the level of intensity we brought to the game. We just didn't get the final bounces to go our way enough to come away with the victory."

For the second night in a row, Jake Notice led the Griffins, scoring 22 points to push his streak of 20-plus point games to five in a row, while adding six rebounds, five assists and four steals.

Deonte Doslov-Doctor contributed all over the court with 14 points, five boards, four assists, two steals and a block, while Luke Harold also knocked down 14 in 28 minutes off the bench. Atlas St. Paul-Butler narrowly missed a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds.

For MRU, LJ Hegwood finished with a double-double, scoring 22 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. The Cougars had three other players score in double-digits, as Glen Yang finished with 19, Patrick Vandervelden had 16 and Samuel Willis III added 14.

The two Canada West blocks leaders went head to head as well, with MRU's Vandervelden netting six to Griffin Abdullah Shittu's two, pulling even with him atop the category as they each have 24 in 10 games.

After building an eight-point lead after the first quarter, the Cougars went on a 7-0 run, looking to build an insurmountable lead. But the Griffins were able to respond, cutting the MRU lead to 11 heading into halftime.

The Cougars dominated both sides of the floor in the opening minutes out of the halftime break. They started on an 8-0 run and found success turning their defence into offence. Two blocks from Vandervelden and two steals helped them get out and score.

MRU used the third quarter to build up their lead. They outscored the Griffins by 11 in the quarter and set themselves up with a big lead for the final quarter.

The Griffins came into the fourth looking to cut their deficit to a manageable amount heading into the stretch run of the game. What resulted was an 18-2 run to cut the Cougars' lead to five heading into the final minute-and-a-half of the game. The run started with just under four minutes remaining and they only missed one shot.

But, alas, they came up short. If only that furious fourth quarter rally that the Griffins have in their hip pocket could manifest itself a little earlier in games.

"It's definitely finding a level of consistency," said Magdanz. "Tonight, we were down a couple of players due to injury, which challenged a couple of other players to step up. Credit to them, they brought some extra energy to the game that we needed.

"For us, it's trying to put together an entire game and until we do that, it's going to be difficult for us."

Both teams will be back in action next weekend. The Cougars will hit the road to face the UBC Thunderbirds in their final games of 2018. MacEwan will be the visitors once again, as they will play in Regina against the Cougars.