Young Griffins show glimpses of their potential in 89-69 loss to Cougars

Damilola Osuma takes the ball hard to the hoop for two of his 15 points on Saturday night (Eduardo Perez photo).
Damilola Osuma takes the ball hard to the hoop for two of his 15 points on Saturday night (Eduardo Perez photo).

Jefferson Hagen
MacEwan Athletics

EDMONTON – There were glimpses of the kind of team the young MacEwan Griffins can be as they showed some fight, despite falling 89-69 to the Mount Royal University Cougars in Canada West men's basketball action on Saturday night.

Perhaps nothing epitomized that more than a sequence late in the first half when Griffins rookies drained three-straight baskets – Job Janda on a hard take off an offensive board, Eric Lopez on a circus-style jumper off of contact and Damilola Osuma jarring a three-pointer.

"Now we start to see glimpses and we've just got to keep working," said MacEwan head coach Mike Connolly. "We've just got to keep getting better so we have stuff to build upon for the future.

"It's unfortunate because we haven't had everyone together (all season)," he added of their extraordinary injury situation.

The result drops MacEwan's record to 0-14, while MRU improves to 7-9.

Although the game didn't follow the same script as Friday when the Griffins dug a huge hole early, the Cougars opened up a 15-point advantage at half-time and never really let MacEwan get close enough to seriously challenge.

"We gave up too many easy buckets," said Connolly. "We gave up some layups, we gave up some back doors. I thought we did a good job not turning the ball over, I thought we did a good job rebounding, but I thought we gave up too many easy shots, whether it's layups or open shots. We lost guys. That youth and we've got to do a better job."

Nate Petrone led the Cougars with 21 points, while four others hit double digits – Dylan Lutes (13), Nick Tancon (11), Scott Duncan (11) and Brock Dewsbery (10).

Rookie Job Janda recorded the first double double of his Canada West career on Saturday (Eduardo Perez photo).

Janda posted the first double double of his Canada West career for the Griffins with 12 points and 11 rebounds.

"That's what Job does, he plays hard," said Connolly, who just got Janda back from an injury in time for Thursday's practice and the two weekend games. "He gets after it. He doesn't worry about what's going on around him. We deal with a little bit of adversity and he just keeps playing."

Meanwhile, Janda's fellow Calgary-based Canada Top Flight West product Osuma led the Griffins with 15 points. Mason Hunter chipped in 10.

"I think he played well," said Connolly. "Dami's only in his first year, but he's one of the premier scoring posts in the conference already. He had the good performance against the U of A and they've got big guys, took it to the U of C and look what he did out there tonight.

"We've got a good gem there in a young kid who has five years of eligibility and is only going to get better."

The Griffins will finish off the regular season with a two-game series vs. the Lethbridge Pronghorns on Thursday (6 p.m.) and Friday (2 p.m., both David Atkinson Gym, Canada West TV presented by Co-op).