Sunday, February 28, 2016
On Sunday the Cougars held a slim 57-55 lead after three quarters, but opened the fourth on a 9-0 run as Winnipeg didn’t score its first points of the quarter until a Ryan Oirbans bucket just past the midway mark of the period. Winnipeg immediately responded with six straight of its own, but couldn’t come any closer until Jamar Farley drilled a triple with 29 seconds left to make it 73-69.
“It was typical playoff basketball and one of those series that obviously could have gone either way, and credit to both teams that they fought as hard as they did all weekend,” Cougars head coach Steve Burrows said. “We struggled again in the first half on the defensive glass tonight, but were much better in the second half and we got bits and pieces from everyone that played tonight. It was a true team win.”
Three Cougars hit double figures in scoring, led by Alex Igual’s 17 points and Jonathan Tull’s 15 points. Brandon Tull added 12 points, while Travis Sylvestre scored nine points and tied for the game lead with 10 rebounds. Will Tallman also had nine points, with Brian Ofori coming off the bench to chip in with eight points in 20 minutes played.
The Cougars will now face Thompson Rivers in a Canada West quarterfinal series that begins on Thursday in Kamloops, B.C. The WolfPack won the Explorer Division with a 16-4 record.
“TRU is a well-coached team that takes care of the basketball and they certainly don’t often beat themselves,” Burrows said. “Obviously they’ve got a couple of talented guys that are dynamic scorers and it’s going to be a good challenge for us to win on the road.”
The best-of-three series at Thompson Rivers will be played on Thursday, Friday, and (if necessary) Saturday. All three games at the Tournament Capital Centre in Kamloops have a 7 p.m. (PST) start time.
(Courtesy Braden Konschuh/Cougar Athletics)