Lack of energy in rematch dooms Griffins to 87-56 blowout loss to TWU

Matthew Osunde led the Griffins with 17 points on Saturday night (Eduardo Perez photo).
Matthew Osunde led the Griffins with 17 points on Saturday night (Eduardo Perez photo).

Jason Hills
For MacEwan Athletics

EDMONTON — Cold shooting, costly turnovers and lack of defensive energy is a bad recipe for success, and the MacEwan Griffins paid the price against the Trinity Western Spartans.

One night after losing a 75-70 heartbreaker to the Spartans, the Griffins got blown out 87-56, Saturday afternoon at the David Atkinson gymnasium.

David Mutabazi led the Spartans with 18 points, 11 rebounds and four steals, while point guard Mason Bourcier recorded 15 points and four assists in the win.

Matthew Osunde led the Griffins with 17 points and four rebounds, and was the only Griffin to reach double digits in points.

MacEwan remains winless this season with a 0-12 record, while Trinity Western improves to 8-4 this season.

"We couldn't shoot and we didn't play defence. We didn't get near enough touches. We had 40 touches on defence, and tonight, only 15, and we got killed on the boards," said Griffins head coach Mike Connolly.

"We talk about winning the battle in the paint, and they beat us there and turnovers hurt us. We had 28.

Both teams struggled to shoot in the opening quarter, especially from inside the paint, but MacEwan couldn't take advantage of the Spartans shooting woes as they only shot 26.7% from the field.

The Spartans were able to snap out of it midway through the first quarter and went on a run to take a 19-7 lead in the late stages.

After an Osunde hoop and harm cut into the Spartans lead, Austin Galuppo hit a long distance three to cap off a 24-12 opening quarter lead.

"Our defence wasn't up to par. We didn't play with the same intensity and same desire as we did last night, and it showed," said Connolly.

"They scored 30 points off of our turnovers. That can't happen."

A Job Janda free throw early in the second quarter cut the Spartans lead to 10, but MacEwan couldn't go on any lengthy scoring runs.

After they made it 26-16, it quickly became 33-16 after a Bourcier three-pointer off a bad turnover and two free throws from Mutabazi.

After a three pointer from Thai Haak made it 39-20 in the second quarter, Trinity Western was able to go on another run, capped off by a strong layup from Josh Belvin to make it 45-20.

"It comes down to mental preparation. Compared to yesterday, we just weren't in it," said Janda.

"Our best defenders just weren't bringing the kind of energy we need to get everyone going and I put that on myself. I didn't do enough to get us going."

Down 22 at the half, the Griffins were looking for a big scoring run like Friday that got them back into striking distance, but it was nowhere to be found. The shooting struggles continued in the second half as the Spartans continued to pour it on.

Trinity Western really started to heat up behind the arc as Bourcier, Mutabazi, Daniel Lybbert and Daniel Stead all connected from long range.

"We gave them way too many open shots. When we guard people they miss shots. Last night they made four three pointers and were only four of 28. Tonight they were 10 of 31," said Connolly.

"It shows we're an inexperienced team. You have to be able to know how to play back-to-back, and it comes down to preparation. You can't think you can just show up and think you can win."

Janda was disappointed with the team's lack of perimeter defence that proved to be troublesome against the Spartans.

"We know they're shooters, but we didn't do a good enough job knowing where they were on the court. They got hot (shooting), and it was over," said Janda.

"There's a whole lot more we have to do to be better. We need to be more consistent in our efforts on both ends of the floor. We have to pay attention to scouting reports, and put the work in to be more committed."

The Griffins will have a week off before facing the Alberta Golden Bears in a home-and-home series on Jan.20-21.