Jefferson Hagen, MacEwan Athletics
EDMONTON – The bench outscored the starters for the MacEwan Griffins in a 32-point loss to the cross-town rival Alberta Golden Bears on Saturday night.
Not a single MacEwan starter hit double digits as their offence clicked at just 31.6 per cent in an 85-53 loss at the Saville Centre.
Luke Harold picked up the slack, though, pouring in 16 points on the strength of three three-pointers in 25 minutes off the bench.
"Some of our better players didn't have the game that they usually do, but some of our younger guys, the bench guys, stepped up and showed that they can compete," said Griffins head coach Mike Connolly. "It was good for that part.
"Our bench stepped up, which is a good sign for the future. It's just our consistency. We're not quite consistent yet. We did improve on some things from Thursday, so that's a positive."
MacEwan also lost to Alberta on Thursday at home (105-78) and are now 0-14 in the Canada West men's basketball standings. The Golden Bears are now 13-1.
"They're a good team," said Connolly. "You've got to play perfect to get them and when you don't play perfect, it's going to be what it is."
At the very least, the Griffins can stake their claim on an improved defensive effort on Saturday. They trimmed 20 points off the Golden Bears' total.
"I thought we were better defensively, more focused," said Connolly. "We held them to only 85 points. We struggled a little bit offensively and turned the ball over, but at least we didn't have as many silly turnovers."
They still committed 25 of them to Alberta's 10.
Alberta was led by Ivan Ikomey, who scored 19, while Cole Knudsen had 12. Six other players had at least six points as the Bears went deep into their bench.
While Alberta will hit the road on Jan. 24-25 with matches at Trinity Western, MacEwan will return home to host UBC on the same dates.