Jefferson Hagen, MacEwan Athletics
-with files from David Larkins, Wesmen Athletics
WINNIPEG – Sometimes a hot shooter just won't be denied.
That was certainly the case on Saturday as Don Dayrit scored 32 points to lead the Winnipeg Wesmen to an 89-71 win over the MacEwan Griffins in Canada West men's basketball action.
The third-year guard from Winnipeg most notably jarred eight three-pointers to stun the Griffins and hand them their 12th loss of the season. MacEwan (0-12) remains winless, while Winnipeg improves to 6-6.
"I think when a guy gets going, it's OK if a guy makes one or two, but then we've got to get out there," said MacEwan head coach Mike Connolly. "I don't think we made it very tough for them tonight. Are we tired? We shouldn't be. I think that's mental focus."
Connolly pointed out moments of the game when his defence just took a second or two off with the dangerous #12 Dayrit in possession of the ball.
"We relaxed and when you relax on guys like 12, they're going to bang it on you and especially when he gets going," he said. "We let him get going. The difference in the first half is he had those four threes and then we let him get going. It's focus and it's working hard."
In other words, the game very much remains a learning process for the Griffins, who just couldn't hit enough shots to make up for Dayrit's run.
"The other thing is we're making these kids play defence for 40 minutes and they're not used to thinking and playing with that hard of intensity," said Connolly. "Hopefully it will pay off.
"But Winnipeg's a good team. I thought they were … better than their record showed. When I watched them on tape, I think they're one of the better defensive teams in the country and they have a star, and they had other guys step in. They're a tough, good team. We've got to grow and work hard and make things harder for them. And be tougher, that's all."
Abdullah Shittu narrowly missed a double double for the Griffins with 17 points and nine rebounds, adding two blocks. Jake Notice bucketed 18 points, Deonte Doslov-Doctor had 11 and Dustin Gatzki chipped in 10.
Besides Dayrit, Winnipeg got 17 points from Billy Yaworsky, while Will Sesay had 12 points and a team-leading seven rebounds.
Turnovers cost MacEwan for a second-straight night as they committed 26 to Winnipeg's five. While Connolly noted the fast break was working for them offensively, lack of hustle led to them bleeding points the other way off the transition.
"I want to run because I want to take the easiest shots," he said. "We did get to the hoop and got some shots, but now we're not getting back. That's the whole transition thing. You want to play that way, but you've got to do it both ways.
"I just thought at times we were walking on the floor tonight and we didn't run. When we run, we make it difficult. It's a growth, it's learning, it is what it is."
MacEwan returns home for action in the David Atkinson Gym on Thursday when they host cross-town rival Alberta (8 p.m., Canada West TV presented by Co-op).