SMITH’S 22-POINT NIGHT NOT ENOUGH TO BEST REGINA

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REGINA – Kelvin Smith (Los Angeles) put up 22 points for Trinity Western, but it was enough on a night when Regina knocked off the Spartans 95-72 Saturday night at the Centre for Kinesiology, Health & Sport.

An early 19-4 Regina run that spanned most of the first quarter put the Cougars in control and they possessed the lead from wire to wire. Brian Ofori finished with career highs in both points (17) and rebounds (15) as he registered his first double-double in a Canada West game.

The win improves Regina’s record to 6-3 on the season while the Spartans fall to 0-9.

Beyond Smith’s offensive effort, TWU’s Lucas Mannes (Chilliwack, B.C.) scored 14 points and Matt Hayashi (Langley, B.C.) had a team-leading eight rebounds.

“We played without a purpose in the first half and did not execute our game plan,” said Spartans coach Aaron Muhic. “In order for us to be successful we need to play this game with purpose for 40 minutes on both ends of the floor. The ball needs to move and we need to play with a sense of urgency on the defensive end. I know we will have a much better effort tomorrow night.

“I thought Fraser Curry (Ottawa) did an excellent job off the bench. He truly was ready to play. I also thought Eric Rogers (Chilliwack, B.C.) had some nice strong plays around the basket. Our guys will continue to stay positive and fight with purpose and energy.”

Besides Ofori’s contributions, the Cougars also had a big game from Brandon Tull with a team-leading 18 points and a game-high four steals. Aaron McGowan had a strong game off the bench with 14 points and five assists in a team-high 27 minutes on the floor, while Jonathan Tull had 13 points and Alex Igual chipped in with 11.

The win was a big one as far as the tightly packed Pioneer Division standings are concerned. The Cougars (6-3) started out the day in sixth place, but leapfrogged both Lethbridge and Victoria into fourth thanks to Saturday losses by the Pronghorns and the Vikes. Regina is now just a half game back of third-place Manitoba in the division.

Regina and Trinity Western will finish off the weekend set with what will be one of only two games across the entire CIS on Sunday. Game time is scheduled for 4 p.m.

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