The Brandon University Bobcats are teetering on the brink of being eliminated from the playoff picture, and they need a pair of wins to keep their hopes alive.
The Bobcats host the Lethbridge Pronghorns tonight and Saturday (8 o’clock, both nights) at the BU gymnasium.
Brandon (5-11) heads into the weekend four games back of Lethbridge (9-7) for third place in the Prairie Division and three games back of Manitoba (8-8) for the final playoff spot with four games left. Manitoba holds the tiebreaker over Brandon.
The Bobcats know they’re in a must-win situation, but fifth-year forward Donovan Gayle is confident they can make the playoffs.
"I don’t feel, I know we can make the playoffs," said Gayle, who’s averaging 7.7 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. "If we feel like we can, we’re not that confident. I know we’ll do what we have to do to make the playoffs."
Gayle and head coach Gil Cheung both know that they must sweep this weekend to have any hope of reaching the playoffs.
Cheung said Brandon must be aggressive on the boards, shut down Dominyc Coward and Daryl Cooper when Lethbridge is in transition and not let Lethbridge get to the free-throw line in order to win.
If they do that, Cheung believes the Bobcats will close out the 47-year-old gymnasium with a pair of playoff-like wins this weekend.
"We want to win four games and sneak our way into the playoffs, but it has to start tonight with a great team effort," he said.
"We’re going to do everything we can to send this place off with two wins this weekend."
Meanwhile, the Bobcats women’s team (0-16) continues its hunt for its first win of the season when the Pronghorns (4-12) visit the BU gym today and Saturday at 6 p.m.
Brandon will be without Madison Bradbury, who’s still battling a viral infection, but head coach Ritchie Jacobson thinks the Bobcats may squeak out a win if they play good defence.
"I like what we’ve done defensively the last couple weekends," he said. "We played Saskatchewan, which is fourth in the country, really tough. Their coach commented on our zone and I thought we did a great job on Fraser Valley, which is 10th in the country. If we can play more composed and relaxed on the offensive end, we’ll be in a position to pull one out."