Wheels come off in third quarter as Griffins fall 102-87 to Cougars

Deonte Doslov-Doctor drives the lane against MRU's Matt Guinto on Saturday (Robert Antoniuk photo).
Deonte Doslov-Doctor drives the lane against MRU's Matt Guinto on Saturday (Robert Antoniuk photo).

Jason Hills, For MacEwan Athletics

EDMONTON — It's a brand new season, but MacEwan Griffins are having some flashbacks from their tough season from a year ago.

The Griffins battled hard in the opening half against the Mount Royal Cougars, but fell apart in the second half, and lost 102-87 on Saturday afternoon at David Atkinson gymnasium.

Matthew Guinto led the Cougars with 21 points, while Quinn Taylor recorded 15 points, five rebounds and six assists and Nick Petrone chipped in with 17 points in the win.

Abdullah Shittu, Deonte Doslov-Doctor and Luke Harold all had 17 points for MacEwan in the loss.

"Our (pre-season), I thought we were pretty good on defence, but we're back to resorting to being undisciplined," said Griffins head coach Mike Connolly.

"We're not going to sit back and rant and rave, we've got to get back to business and be ready to go."

MacEwan trailed by just one, 45-44 at halftime, and, despite some shooting struggles, were certainly within striking distance of taking over the game in the second half, but the Cougars came out red-hot from the three-point line in the second half.

They finished with 17 treys from behind the arc and shot 53.1% (17-of-32). The trio of Petrone, Taylor and Matthew Fullerton hit 10-for-11 from long range.

The one-point gap quickly turned into an 18-point deficit at the start of the fourth quarter as MacEwan trailed 78-60.

"They were all open and my daughter in Grade 8 could make wide open threes. We have to do a better job defending that," said Connolly.

"We didn't do a good job stopping penetration and that were able to kick it out for some wide open threes. There were just too many defensive breakdowns.

After a tough season opening loss the night before to Mount Royal, MacEwan was looking for the series split. After a promising first half, the third quarter was a nightmare for the Griffins.

"We were hanging on. I felt like we weren't in control at all. We got some breaks with some shots, but we competed (in the first half)," said Connolly.

"The problem is right now is we have some guys that are dwelling on the past of last season and they get themselves down and we have to do a better job as coaches and teammates and we have to pick each other up and hold each other accountable."

Down by 20 early in the fourth quarter, the Griffins received a big spark from Harold. The second-year guard was on fire from beyond the arc hitting four three-points in four possessions to cap off a 14-0 run. MacEwan was able to get the deficit down to 11, but a Dylan Lutes bucket put an end to the Griffins red-hot run and Mount Royal held on to improve to 2-0 this season.

"We shot the ball really well for most of the game, but especially in that third quarter and early in the fourth with the three ball," said Cougars head coach Marc Dobell.

"We're a very good shooting basketball game and when we're on, we're tough to defend because we can space the floor so well.

The Cougars four players in double digits, including Lincoln Anderson, who chipped in with 10 points and six rebounds against his former team.

Adam Pahl had just seven points, but was a menace on the glass, grabbing 13 boards.

"Typically that's the way we want to play," said Dobell.

"We didn't have as much of a balance in scoring last night, but today we had that balance. We had a lot of clutch performances from guys."

MacEwan travels to Saskatoon next weekend to take on the Saskatchewan Huskies (Nov. 8-9), while Mount Royals hosts the Regina Cougars on Nov. 7-8..