In tough against No. 2-ranked Golden Bears, short-handed Griffins fall 105-61

Mason Hunter drives to the basket on Friday (Eduardo Perez photo).
Mason Hunter drives to the basket on Friday (Eduardo Perez photo).

Jefferson Hagen
MacEwan Athletics

EDMONTON – The task was daunting.

Too daunting, really.

Alberta, ranked No. 2 in the U SPORTS men's basketball ranks, had their way with a young MacEwan Griffins team minus several top players due to injuries in a 105-61 romp on Friday night.

"I told the guys we have to play perfect (to have a chance)," said Griffins head coach Mike Connolly. "We're not ready to play perfect because we're too young.

"I thought we competed and I thought we played hard," he added. "They're a team you can't make mistakes on. We leave a guy open and it's a mistake, they hit it. That's why they're No. 1. They don't make mistakes and if you make mistakes they capitalize."

Despite the lopsided scoreline, the Griffins actually boasted the leading scorer in the contest as Colton Halbersma's 14 points were a game-high. Mason Hunter, returning from a hand injury that kept him out the entire first semester, chipped in 10 points.

Alberta's balanced attack was on full display as Tyus Jefferson, Bryce Solis and Max Russell all had 13 points, Lars Ishimwe bucketed 12 and Cole Knudsen had 10. Abdullah Shittu, playing for the first time against his old team, had six.

With the result, the Golden Bears improve to 7-0, while the Griffins fall to 0-7.

"I think the guys competed," said Connolly. "I don't think anybody was terrible. I don't think anybody stood out super well. I just thought we were pretty good and we've got to build on that. They worked hard to the end, so we can grow."

The teams will meet in the rematch on Saturday (7 p.m., David Atkinson Gym, Canada West TV presented by Co-op).

Eric Lopez pushes forward against Alberta's Adam Paige on Friday night (Eduardo Perez photo).