Huskies advance to conference semifinal with sweep of Cougars

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The University of Saskatchewan Huskies men’s basketball team won all four quarters en route to posting a 97-77 victory over the Regina Cougars in Canada West playoff action inside the PAC on February 15.

The win gives the Huskies a sweep of the best-of-three series and moves them on to the conference semifinal, where they will now await scores from around the league to determine their next opponent.

“Much like last night I thought we managed to maintain some consistency for four quarters and that was pretty important for us,” said Huskies head coach Barry Rawlyk. “We were a little loose defensively in the first quarter but we certainly tightened things up going forward.”

For Regina, the loss brings an end to both their playoff run and their season as the visitors were unable keep pace with a high-powered Huskies offence that hit 54.7 per cent of their shots in the game compared to Regina’s clip of 33.3 per cent.

In what could be his final home game as a Huskie, fifth-year guard Lawrence Moore led all scorers with 24 points in the contest while also adding six rebounds and four assists.

“He’s like your teenage son, he drives you crazy sometimes but other times you have to love him, you wonder what he’s doing and then all of a sudden you see it, he’s just one of those players where he’s a special talent and sometimes he needs to have a long leash in order to be able to do his thing,” said Rawlyk.

Rookie Alexander Dewar had another strong game as his 19 points tonight moves him to a total of 44 points in just two career Canada West playoff games. Also hitting double-digits for the home team were JT Robinson, Emmanuel Akintunde and Chan De Ciman who finished with 16, 13 and 12 respectively.

Myles Hamilton paced the Cougars with 19 points in his 29 minutes of action while Greishe Clerjuste added 17, including five straight at the start of the fourth quarter when the Cougars were trying to claw their way back into the game.

A close first quarter saw both teams explode out of the gates offensively. Hamilton had eight points and Samuel Hillis put up seven for Regina who led for a majority of the frame before Saskatchewan closed on a 6-2 run to lead 28-24 after 10 minutes of action.

The Huskies tightened things up defensively in the second, holding the Cougars to hitting just 28.6 per cent of their shots from the floor and ten points in the frame. An extended run that saw Saskatchewan outscore Regina 14-2 in the middle of the second broke the game wide open and allowed Saskatchewan to take a 12-point lead into the break.

Regina was able to trim that lead to as little as seven on multiple occasions in the third but the Huskies always found another gear en route to sweeping their provincial rivals by a final tally of 20 points.

Saskatchewan will now await their next opponent as they continue their trek to get back to the U SPORTS national championship tournament for the first time since 2015.