Benrabah to the rescue as Wesmen salvage split with Cougars

Narcisse Ambanza drives for a dunk during the Winnipeg Wesmen's 91-89 win over the Regina Cougars Saturday, January 26, 2019. (David Larkins/Wesmen Athletics)
Narcisse Ambanza drives for a dunk during the Winnipeg Wesmen's 91-89 win over the Regina Cougars Saturday, January 26, 2019. (David Larkins/Wesmen Athletics)

DAVID LARKINS, Wesmen Athletics

Adam Benrabah didn't hit a bunch of shots Saturday.

But he hit the biggest one.

The Winnipeg Wesmen forward tipped home a Narcisse Ambanza miss with 0.1 seconds remaining to lift the U of W men's basketball team to a 91-89 Canada West conference win over the Regina Cougars Saturday night at the Duckworth Centre. 

After Myles Hamilton hit a three with 14 seconds to go, the Wesmen went to Ambanza out of a timeout. Ambanza worked the clock to his advantage, drove right with some space and rose up for a foul-line jumper that bounced out. From there, Benrabah managed to get his hand in the mix of a scramble at the rim and his tap beat the buzzer to help the Wesmen (12-6) pull out a weekend split against the Cougars (13-5).

"The thing that we talked about the entire weekend was that we needed to get some defensive stops so that we could flow into our offence, and that's always a big focus area for us," Wesmen head coach Mike Raimbault said. "We feel like we're pretty good in transition and we're definitely better when we're able to start attacking early in the clock and get the ball movement. I felt like tonight in the second half we got a few more stops, a few more rebounds and that led to transition opportunities for us."

Ambanza was a force again, flirting with a triple-double with 24 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists. Benrabah finished with nine points and three rebounds.

The Wesmen also got 14 points from Sean Tarver, 11 points, six rebounds and six assists from Will Sesay off the bench and 10 points from Joseph Medrano

The Cougars put themselves in a great position to force overtime before Benrabah's heroics. Regina, which trailed by as many as 11 in the fourth quarter, fell behind 87-80 with 1:47 to go. But a 9-2 run over the next 95 seconds pulled the visitors even.

"They're a quality team, they're well-coached. You come in here it's like any building in CanWest you know it's going to be tough, it's going to be a grinder," Cougars head coach Steve Burrows said. "We put ourselves in position to win two games, which is a good thing. No one ever likes losing, so we'll learn from it and go next weekend and try again."

Hamilton's 22 points led the Cougars, who also got 18 from Greishe Clerjuste, 15 from Sam Hillis and 10 off the bench from Brayden Kuski.

—#REPTHEW—