Third-quarter lapse costs Griffins in 108-68 defeat to Golden Bears

Milan Jaksic (13) and Matthew Osunde (4) both hit double digits in points but MacEwan fell 108-68 to Alberta on Friday night (Robert Antoniuk photo).
Milan Jaksic (13) and Matthew Osunde (4) both hit double digits in points but MacEwan fell 108-68 to Alberta on Friday night (Robert Antoniuk photo).

Jefferson Hagen
MacEwan Athletics

EDMONTON – A third-quarter lapse put the nails in the coffin for the MacEwan Griffins men's basketball team in a 108-68 loss to cross-town rival Alberta on Friday night.

Outscored 31-13 in the frame, the Griffins were left in the dust as the U SPORTS No. 2 Bears romped to an easy win at the Saville Centre.

"We just had a bad third quarter," said MacEwan head coach Mike Connolly. "We were playing all right and then there were just a couple of things that got to us. We gave up a couple easy ones and then it went from 10 to 17 at the half.

"We tried to come out at the beginning of the second half and they capitalized and scored right away. We didn't do very well communicating defensively and we didn't do a good job stopping their early offence. Those were our goals to make them go into the shot clock and we just didn't do it."

These are the speed bumps every young team goes through, but it doesn't make them any easier to navigate.

"Some of the young guys are battling their heads off and they're just making silly mistakes because they're trying too hard," said Connolly, whose team was down to nine players due to injuries and ended the game with eight after Marco Mariani Correas got hurt.

"The only thing that was disappointing was we didn't deal with getting down in the second half very well," he added. "We kind of gave in for about three minutes. I had to use three timeouts in the third quarter just to shake us out of it. There are some ups and some downs. That's where we are and we'll just keep plowing away."

The Bears scored 20 points off 20 Griffins turnovers and managed a herculean 22 offensive rebounds.

"We got frustrated and lost our composure," said Connolly. "We didn't do anything stupid, we just didn't respond. We didn't show any mental toughness or fortitude to keep competing."

Former Griffin Abdullah Shittu led the Golden Bears with 20 points, while Geoffrey James had 19 and Adam Paige grabbed 12 boards to go along with eight points.

Rookie Milan Jaksic led the Griffins with 13 points, while Colton Halbersma had 11 and Mason Hunter and Matthew Osunde chipped in 10 apiece.

"I didn't think we played that bad offensively," said Connolly. "I'm looking at our team and we have a lot of guy averaging nine points. Tonight, we had four guys in double digits. We're starting to get there."

The teams will meet again on Saturday (7 p.m., Saville Centre, Canada West TV presented by Co-op).