|The University of Winnipeg Wesmen gave the University of Regina Cougars a huge scare before bowing out in the third and deciding game in the GPAC best-of-three semi-final series last weekend.|
"They shocked us on Friday," said Cougars coach James Hillis. "You have got to give [Wesmen coach Bill Wedlake and his coaching staff] a tremendous amount of credit."
In Friday's game, the Wesmen led 60-56 before exploding out to a 15-0 run to cap a 95-77 win.
"Everybody has a record of 0-0 in the playoffs, so you have to forget about the regular season," said Wesmen guard Matej Maroti. "We played as a team, and good things happen when you play as a team."
Maroti, a second team GPAC all-star, led the Wesmen with 23 points. Wesmen guard Lucas Buller added a career high 22 points and was three for four from the three-point-line.
"I think he (Buller) was our player of the game," said Maroti.
Events got extremely depressing for the Cougars when Buller was able to steal the ball and walk in for a lay-up without any Cougar coming after him.
|run the ball well today. We just had a lack of intensity," said Cougars forward Bill Johnson, a second team All-Star who was held to 13 points.|
The Cougars tied their series with the Wesmen the next night with a 98-85 victory. The Cougars hit 60% of their three-point shots in the contest.
"When we've made them [the three-point-shots], that's been a big part of our game," said Cougars first team GPAC all-star Dale "Mobile" Holmes, who scored 28 points in the win.
Johnson added 21 points in the win. Murray Davidson paced the Wesmen with 21 points and 11 rebounds.
The final game of the series saw the lead change four times in the first half. The Cougars headed to the dressing room up 45-42 at half-time.
In the game's second half, the Cougars held an 80-76 lead with 1:44 to play. Chris Warnecke then hit a three-point-shot which helped seal a 93-83 victory.
"He (Warnecke) is a clutch guy, and he demonstrates he can make clutch shots night in and night out," said Hillis.
This completed the Cougars 2-1 series come-from-behind victory.
|builds character for us," said rookie Cougars guard Chad Celaire. "Anytime you come from behind it builds confidence."|
"They broke us in spots," said Wedlake. "We had to play almost perfect basketball to win."
The Wesmen loss ended the CIAU careers of fifth year players Kevin Chief, Steve Newton, Bernie "the Coke Machine" Leonard and Murray "Big Dog" Davidson.
"It's tough, especially finishing on a loss," said Davidson, who scored 18 points and pulled down 13 rebounds. "I have no regrets at all. I've had a great career."
GPAC player of the year Kevin "Big Worm" Gilroy scored 22 points and pulled down 13 rebounds in his final home game with the Cougars. Johnson, who was also in his final home contest, added 16 points in the win.
The Cougars (11-4), who are ranked tenth nationally, will now travel to Brandon to face the sixth ranked Brandon University Bobcats (12-3) in the best-of-three GPAC championship series this weekend. The winner of this series qualifies for the CIAU national championship tournament March 20-22 in Halifax..