Jefferson Hagen, MacEwan Athletics
-With files from David Larkins, Wesmen Athletics
WINNIPEG – Undone by 29 turnovers, the MacEwan Griffins couldn't hang onto a first half lead as a bid for their first win of the Canada West men's basketball season evaporated in the fourth quarter.
Seventeen of those came in the second half where MacEwan's 34-27 advantage slipped to 45-44 after three quarters and was gone early in the fourth quarter.
With the result, the Griffins dropped to 0-11, falling further behind the Wesmen (5-6), who entered the contest just above the Canada West playoff cutline.
"We gave up 15 offensive rebounds in the first half and we had 12 turnovers," said MacEwan head coach Mike Connolly. "If we could keep our turnovers to eight and our offensive rebounds down to six, we'd be in a bit better shape.
"We're not experienced enough when we get close games not to throw it away. Twenty-nine turnovers just kills you, especially all those down the stretch that we had. We've just got to do a better job. We've got to keep learning, keep coming to work, just keep the grind on."
Will Sesay led the Wesmen with 18 points and eight rebounds, while Don Dayrit chipped in 11 points.
The Wesmen shot 22.2 per cent from the field and trailed by as many as 11 in the first half before finally finding enough offence to complement a defence that held MacEwan to 11 points in the third quarter and nine in the fourth.
The Griffins remained the only winless team in the Canada West conference and undoubtedly had reason to feel as though an opportunity to capitalize slipped away having held the lead for all but 12 minutes of the contest.
They'll try to reverse that outcome in Saturday's rematch (4 p.m. MT, Canada West TV presented by Co-op).
"I think we've to take care of two things – stop the offensive rebounds and then we can't have 29 turnovers," said Connolly. "If we can cut the turnovers in half, I think we'll be in a better situation.
"Now, they missed shots, we know that. So, they're going to come out and play and probably shoot the ball better, so we've just got to continue to play."