LANGLEY, British Columbia – The Regina Cougars opened a 10-point first quarter lead and never looked back as they were the better outfit from start to finish, tallying a 107-74 win over Trinity Western Friday at the Langley Events Centre.
Already with a tidy lead, the Cougars (3-2) put the game out of reach in the second quarter, out-scoring the Spartans 32-12 to go ahead 54-24 at halftime.
Regina had seven players hit double-digits in points, led by Johneil Johnson, who had 16, Alex Igual, who had 15, and Ramiro Martinez, who had 14.
The Spartans Vartan Tanielian (Surrey, B.C.) had a game-high 23 points, while Patrick Vandervelden (Abbotsford, B.C.) had 17 points and eight rebounds.
TWU (2-5) shot 38.7 per cent on the night while Regina shot 51.4 per cent. The Cougars also had just 12 turnover to TWU’s 20. The Spartans did hold a 50-40 edge on the glass.
“We made the game really hard and we were running uphill from the outset,” said Spartans coach Aaron Muhic. “We just weren’t tough enough with the ball out of the gate and they were able to capitalize on some open court turnovers and that just can’t happen. They’re a good team and we’re not going to win when we have 20 turnovers and we’re not going to win when they make 18 free throws and we only shoot 17.”
Regina was 18 for 29 from the free throw line while TWU was nine for 17.
With the Cougars holding TWU to just 19 per cent shooting in the first quarter, Regina went ahead early. Igaul, who came into the game averaging 16.3 points per game, had 11 points in the opening frame alone and the Cougars were four for eight from beyond the arc.
Regina poured it on in the second quarter, shooting 59.1 per cent (13-22) and scoring 32 points, while once again holding TWU to just 12. By halftime, Regina’s Igual (13), Johnson (12) and Brian Ofori (10) were all in double-digits in scoring.
The Spartans Vandervelden had a team-high 11 points at the break.
TWU pushed back in the second half, shooting 57.1 per cent from the field, but Regina still outscored the home side 53-50 over the final 20 minutes as the Cougars lead was never in doubt.
The two teams will meet in the rematch Saturday at 8 p.m. at the LEC.
“We need to be tougher with the basketball and give ourselves a chance to play some defence,” Muhic said. “It was really hard to play defence because a lot of it was in transition. We have a choice to make. Are we going to learn from this or are we going to pout about this? I love that our team doesn’t give up, but at some point we need to play basketball from the beginning.”
Game Notes: The last time TWU beat Regina was Feb. 1, 2014 when the Spartans won 67-59…last year, TWU lost both games to Regina by an average of 29 points…after starting the year with two wins in their first three outings, the Spartans have lost four games in a row.