Second-half struggles lead to Wesmen loss

Narcisse Ambanza scored a game-high 20 points and had 10 rebounds in the Wesmen loss to MacEwan Saturday night.
Narcisse Ambanza scored a game-high 20 points and had 10 rebounds in the Wesmen loss to MacEwan Saturday night.

WINNIPEG – A second-half surge and a decisive fourth quarter did the Winnipeg Wesmen and sent the U of W men's basketball team into the break on a losing note.

The MacEwan Griffins outscored the Wesmen 31-14 in the fourth quarter and turned a one-point halftime lead into an 88-66 win over the home team Saturday night at the David F. Anderson Gymnasium.

The Griffins led 32-31 at the half and 57-52 after three, but did their damage in the fourth to keep the Wesmen from going into the holiday break on their first win streak of the season. Winnipeg dropped to 3-9 on the year, while MacEwan improved to 2-8.

"I think as the course of the game went they gained confidence and we waivered in ours a little bit," Wesmen head coach Mike Raimbault said. "They made some plays and built some momentum and certainly were the more aggressive group."

One night after scoring 93 points in a victory, the Wesmen simply couldn't find the same offence, shooting 38.7 per cent from the field for the game, including 9-for-32 from three.

"The offence was pretty stagnant the entire game," Raimbault said. "I think for sure we panicked a little bit when they hit some shots and they got the lead and we tried to get it all back at once and probably didn't take the greatest value in some possessions. But I thought we had some looks that were definitely makeable."

Second-year guard Narcisse Ambanza led all scorers with 20 points, and added a team-high 10 rebounds, along with six assists. Third-year forward Billy Yaworsky added 13 points.

Deonte Doslov-Doctor paced the Griffins with 18 points, while Ali Raza added 17 points and 12 rebounds. MacEwan also got 12 points from Liban Yousef and 11 from Jake Notice, both in reserve roles.

The Wesmen will have more than a month off before returning to conference play for a home-and-home series with Brandon Jan. 5-6.

"It's definitely not a great way to go into the break," Raimbault said. "It's been a tough semester and now we have to sit on that for another month before we get a chance to get back at it."